News: June 2006

In  January 2003 the owner of Dreamland, Jimmy Godden, announced the closure of Dreamland. The park is to be redeveloped as "leisure boxes, some retail and a supermarket". Joyland Books will provide updates on the campaign to save Dreamland and its internationally-important Scenic Railway ride.

Click here for the latest news

Thursday, 29 June 2006

ITV's Meridian News this evening featured a lengthy piece on the future of Dreamland. Shot at both Margate and Southend's Adventure Island, the item included an interview with Philip Miller, who confirmed his interest in taking over "Drearyland", as he called it. Miller stated that he is convinced that the park can be turned around and that the trick is continuous "reinvestment". The report went on to say that the owners of the park do not consider it to be viable.

The report noted that the park is currently open for business (although added "but you wouldn't think it"!), with up-to-date footage of Dreamland and Adventure Island showing the dramatic difference in the way that the two parks are currently being operated.

You can view tonight's edition of Meridian News by clicking here. (When the Video Menu appears, click 'Meridian Tonight - South East Thursday" and the item appears approximately 10 minutes into the programme.

Today's Thanet Adscene has a small piece on Dreamland:

Seaside fun park boss Phillip Miller has expressed an interest in taking over Margate's Dreamland. The millionaire, who is credited with transforming Southend's fun park, met with Thanet council leader Sandy Ezekiel and cabinet members.

Mr Miller said: "Dreamland needs a lot of money spent on it. Each day that passes means it is going to cost more."

Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Today's Thanet Times has a small article on Dreamland:

Dream team ?

Southend businessman Phillip Miller has said he would be keen to take over Margate's Dreamland. The millionaire owner of Adventure Island has met with Thanet council and says he has his eye on the site.

He said: "It needs a lot of money spent on it. It's hard to bring something back from the dead."

In other news, the Thanet Local Plan has now been adopted by Thanet District Council. The Dreamland policy (T11) is contained in Chapter 8 - Tourism, and states that it will resist proposals that reduce the attractiveness, leisure or tourism potential of Dreamland, including specifically requiring the retention of the Scenic Railway. Click here to download Chapter 8 from the TDC website.

Tuesday, 27 June 2006

Above (left to right): Mark Evans, Dave Collard, Nick Laister and Ian Mansfield at the Preston Rally 2006.

The Save Dreamland Campaign enjoyed a hugely successful weekend at the Preston Rally on Saturday and Sunday, 24 and 25 June 2006, the Campaign's second appearance at the annual event. The Campaign stand proved a major draw for the weekend, with hundreds of new members being signed up. To read more about the weekend and to view our Photo Gallery, click here.

Monday, 26 June 2006

A full report of the Save Dreamland Campaign's successful second visit to the Preston Rally will be online within the next 24 hours.

Friday's Isle of Thanet Gazette featured a front page news item about Philip Miller's attempts to acquire Dreamland, including quotes from Philip and Save Dreamland Campaign leader Nick Laister. 

Saturday, 17 June 2006

Following our very successful visit last year, the Save Dreamland Campaign will once again be at the Preston Rally on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June 2005, 10am to 5pm at Preston Court Farm, Preston-Next-Wingham, near Canterbury.

Campaign team members will be at the Save Dreamland Campaign stand throughout the weekend. Former Scenic Railway brakeman Dave Collard will be able to answer your questions about the famous roller coaster, whilst campaigners Nick Laister and Sarah Vickery will be recruiting new members.

Susan Marsh will be in charge of Campaign merchandise, including t-shirts, baseball caps and bags all sporting the campaign logo. Button Badges will also be available. All items new for 2006! There will also be an opportunity to buy amusement park and fairground books from, and roller coaster enthusiast group Coaster Force will also be at the Campaign stand selling their merchandise.

On Saturday night from 8pm there is ‘Party in the Barn’ in the Kentish barn featuring ‘Ruff Justice’ accompanied and illuminated by a row of mighty showmen’s engines. Tickets for the concert are available from the organisers. The Fun Fair will also be operating in the evening on Saturday.

Save Dreamland Campaign members can get discounted entry to the Rally by emailing

More information on the Preston Steam Rally can be found at the Rally Website or by calling 01843 588554 or 01227 722502. Admission is £6 for adults and £3 for children, with free car parking.

Friday, 16 June 2006

The Isle of Thanet Gazette had extensive coverage of the Save Dreamland Campaign and Thanet District Council's visit to Adventure Island, across several articles.

Monday, 12 June 2006

Online roller coaster community Coaster Force held a special 'Live' event at Dreamland on Saturday, 10 June. Mark Evans, the event organiser, sent us this statement:

Upon arriving at the park in the morning my initial reaction was that I wanted to burst into tears and the thought was "What (the hell) have they done?" Dreamland has become a mere scratch on the surface of the once glorious memory it was before. But nevertheless, I remembered that with any CoasterForce event, we always manage to enjoy the day, regardless of the setting and fun we had. Everyone eagerly awaited the Scenic Railway being opened whilst they prepared the train.

Once we boarded the laughter and child like enthusiasm began and everyone was really drawn into the timeless classic that is the Scenic Railway.

Photograph courtesy: Ian Bell/Coaster Force
Everyone came away from the ride with a new found passion and admiration for the ride. Something that is definitely worth saving.

To sum up the whole day, in my eyes, it was a tremendous success. Getting to meet the Save Dreamland Members was a highlight and in terms of our own documentary, talking with Dave Collard about the campaign was a real achievement.

It has certainly left me with a new found passion for Dreamland and a guilt for not joining the campaign a lot lot sooner! I would like to thank Nick, Sarah, Dave, Charlton Webb and all of his staff and the Save Dreamland Campaign members who helped achieve this event and make a classic success.

Mark Evans
Event Organiser

Coaster Force Manager, Ian Bell has also sent his comments through:

As it stands today, Dreamland looks desolate, neglected and desperate. If a little money was pumped in, Dreamland has the potential to draw in thousands of visitors. There’s a perfect existing infrastructure for passing trade with the train station a few minutes walk away and the pull of Margate’s beautiful beach.

Dreamlands crowning glory is The Scenic Railway. I have been on 124 roller coasters and none of them have the charm that The Scenic Railway offers.

Every member of Coaster Force was impressed with the history and experience of the ride. It’s a unique opportunity to see a roller coaster being physically pushed out of the station and having an operator working the brake on the train. There is no other ride in the UK that offers such a magical experience.

Click on the above photograph to see a view of Dreamland in 2006 - a very sad sight.
Photograph courtesy: Matthew Hitch/Coaster Force

The short tour of The Scenic Railway’s workshop showed to us how much love and attention goes into the ride and how special it is to the people that work there and to the people that ride it.

Many people from Coaster Force feel that Dreamland depends heavily on The Scenic Railway. Although the members that rode other rides such as Chaos, the Big Wheel and Hellraiser enjoyed them, they didn’t really offer enough diversity to appeal to a day-long visit.

With so much commercial potential as a bustling amusement park, it would be a travesty to remove it and build tin shed shops which would ultimately end up making Margate just another run-of-the-mill town. Somebody somewhere to needs to wake up and realise that investment in Dreamland would not just satisfy amusement park enthusiasts but would also give Margate something else they could be proud of. Brighton Pier and Adventure Island, Southend On Sea are similar areas to Margate and look how successful they are!

On behalf of Coaster Force, I would like to thank the staff at Dreamland and the Save Dreamland Campaign for making us feel extremely welcome. I really hope things work out well for the future…and we’ll be right behind you all the way!

Ian Bell
Coaster Force Manager

For more photographs of Dreamland in 2006 and the Coaster Force visit, click here. View Coaster Force members' comments on the visit here.

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Yesterday's Gazette included a short piece about today's visit by TDC councillors to Southend's Adventure Island Theme Park.

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

Dreamland is now open for the 2006 season, operated by Webbs Amusements Limited, and is receiving some very positive reviews. Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, commented on the feedback:

"We have received several messages commenting on how well-presented the park is this year and how it is a vast improvement on last year. The park is looking very clean, staff are wearing company uniforms and are all friendly and helpful. There is a small but very smart selection of rides and the Scenic Railway is up and running. I am sure that all our members will join me in wishing George Webb and his sons the best of luck for the 2006 season. I hope that members will do their best to visit Dreamland this year - we all need to show George our support."

The park is currently open weekends only from 11am, and will be open every day in the school holidays.

If you have taken any photographs of Dreamland this year, please send them to and we will add them to our Dreamland 2006 page.

Several Save Dreamland Campaign members were at the park on Sunday. Pictured below are Sarah Vickery, Dave Collard, Ian Mansfield and Ian's mate, Leigh. See photographs of their fun day out below - click on a thumbnail for a larger picture! One of the group is scared of heights. Can you guess who it is?


Sunday, 4 June 2006

The classic film 'O Dreamland' (1953) will be shown in London later this month at a special film celebration of the working class seaside holiday. As well as Lindsay Anderson's highly-regarded documentary on Dreamland, the 1947 film 'Holiday Camp' (a comedy about the seaside holiday camp, pitched at the time as a plug for Butlin's-style breaks) will also be screened. 'Summer Holiday', as the event is called, also promises more seaside shorts, possibly with Dreamland/Margate connections. This evening of seaside films is being organised by London-based writer and Save Dreamland Campaign member Iain Aitch, and is on Wednesday 14 June at The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, London. Doors open at 7.30pm. For more details, click here.

Friday, 2 June 2006

Today's Gazette reports that Dreamland has opened for the summer.