News: September 2008

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

Friday, 26 September 2008

Scenic Railway clearance to start next week
Clearance of the fire-damaged parts of the Scenic Railway will commence on 29 September.

Nick Dermott of Thanet District Council met with Peter Beck of MTCRC, together with representatives of Downfast Demolition and Bob Williamson of Jacobs Manchester (representing MTCRC), at the Scenic Railway yesterday morning. The object of meeting was to agree the extent of the 'emergency' demolitions and clearance after the fire. Nick told the Save Dreamland campaign:

"What was agreed was as follows: -

- The four burnt 'ends' of the ride would be cut back to the first non-charred frame in each instance, ie about 3 charred frames would be removed in each case. Before any demolition took place, the burnt parts would be photographed and heights, measured with a laser level, marked on the photographs to the approval of TDC. Any pulleys etc in these areas would also be photographed and measured and then stored.

- The most damaged parts of the station platform and roof - at the northern end - would be removed after being photographed. The switch track to the former workshop would be left in-situ.

- The charred debris in the centre would be sifted through. All pieces that are evidence, wheels, pulleys etc would be shown to English Heritage and placed in agreed secure storage. Ditto signage. The rest, together with the blockwork asbestos clad and roofed shed would be cleared away."

Setting up works are to commence on 29/9/2008. Nick will be inspecting on site at regular intervals.

Above: The fire-damaged Scenic Railway pictured in June 2008. Photograph: Nick Laister. (Click on image for higher resolution version).

COMING SOON: More exclusive photographs of the fire-damaged Scenic Railway

Photographs of Sanger's Menagerie

Nick Dermott has also sent the Campaign some photographs of the recently-uncovered lion cages, which are temporarily protected by a preservation notice pending potential statutory listing.

Nick Laister comments: "I have spoken to a number of people involved in studying the history of zoos in the UK. It appears that these are the only surviving examples of their type in the country and completely unique. We are compiling information on the history of the Sanger relics and will be forwarding them to Thanet District Council." If anybody has any information on the structures, please contact



Thursday, 25 September 2008

A fascinating panoramic picture of The Scenic Railway at Dreamland taken in June 2007 by photographer and publisher Stuart Horner is now available for sale through the Save Dreamland website.

A small version of the picture appeared in Stuart and Sarah Horner's recent book 'So you think you know the Isle of Thanet' which features over 400 colour pictures of Thanet's hidden details, wonderful buildings and townscapes. The book is now available in Waterstones Westwood Cross Branch Broadstairs.

Stuart explained his connection with this wonderful feature of Thanet.

"The whole concept behind our recent book was to showcase Thanet's exceptional features and buildings. The Scenic Railway was always on our list, but proved a really difficult picture to take without being airborne! Now we hope to use the picture to help save the building featured in it, not something we had expected to be involved with.

"So a percentage of each sale will be donated to the Save Dreamland fighting fund to help preserve another part of our wonderful heritage which is now terrible threatened."

The colour picture shows the entire length of the ride, before the devastating fire in 2008, and is possibly the last picture taken of the historic ride in such a wide format.

The picture measures  25" x 6" (640 cm x 150 cm) including a shallow white boarder all the way around. For commercial use larger versions are available if required, up a size of 72" x 9" approximately, and possible on canvas. Please email for more details.

These particular commemorative pictures has been professionally reproduced in a limited run of only 1000.

The cost of the 25" x 6" colour picture is 4.75 plus post and packing of 1.25 

For more information and to order a copy of this picture please contact Stuart or Sarah at the following email address:

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The Save Dreamland Campaign is pleased to confirm that the UK's only surviving full-size Whip has been acquired for the proposed Dreamland Heritage Amusement Park in Margate. The ride, which has operated at Blackpool Pleasure Beach since at least 1921, was manufactured by WF Mangels of Coney Island and is identical to the Whip that once operated at Dreamland.

The acquisition of the ride follows several months of negotiation between Nick Laister, on behalf of the Dreamland Trust, and the Pleasure Beach. The dismantling and transport of the ride was funded by the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company (MTCRC). Click here for more details on the newly acquired ride and here for information on the rest of the rides acquired for the heritage amusement park project. The Campaign would like to thank MTCRC and Pleasure Beach Blackpool.

Above: the Whip in operation at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 2004. The ride has been standing but not operating at the park since 2005. The canopy has not been moved. Click for larger image.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

The erection of security fencing around the Scenic Railway has been completed. The fencing was installed by Thanet District Council following an arson attack on the ride in April this year. The 420m long barrier now completely encloses the ride and it is hoped that the fencing will now secure the roller coaster until repair work commences. Click on the image to the right for a bigger version.

The fence as been covered by a number of news sources over the past few weeks, including: Thanet Extra, BBC, This is Kent.

Monday, 8 September 2008

With the preservation notice served on the recently uncovered remains of 'Lord' George Sanger's menagerie at Dreamland (see news below), Thanet District Council is now compiling as much information as possible on the structures pending possible listing. The main structure can be seen in the 2002 photograph to the right (click on the image for a larger version - can you spot 'Gus the Ghost'?).

The Save Dreamland Campaign has been asked to appeal for members of the public to come forward with any information on these Sanger relics to assist the Council in assembling a full case to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for statutory listing. If you send any information to, we will forward it to TDC.

Above: Is that 'Gus the Ghost' in the window of the recently uncovered Sanger relic at Dreamland? Click for bigger image.
In other listing news, members may be interested to note that the DCMS has decided to list the remains of the Clifton Baths at the Cliftonville Lido. Click here to view the Listing Entry and here to view the Adviser's Report.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

As reported yesterday, Thanet District Council has served a preservation notice on the recently uncovered remains of Sanger's menagerie at Dreamland, which predate the opening of the amusement park. The discovery is three animal cages and a 'tower'. One of the structures can be seen behind the roller coaster in the 1996 photograph to the right (click on the photograph for a larger version, or here for the full panorama showing the structures in context). The preservation notice prevents the structures being demolished for up to six months, allowing the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to decide whether they should be statutorily listed.

Former Scenic Railway brakeman Dave Collard remembers the menagerie buildings being very visible in the 1980s and 1990s:

Above: Remains of the Sanger menagerie pictured in 1996, but only recently 'rediscovered'. (Photograph: Paul Handley)

"The cages in question have been there for many years and were visible in the Bembom time (1982-1995) and could be seen at the rear of the kids playground running alongside the NCP car park near Arlington House. There used to be a 'Gus the Ghost' character in the building behind a curtain that would appear if you put 20 pence in the machine on the kids play area."

The news of this 'discovery' was covered in the Isle of Thanet Gazette on 5 September.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Dreamland updates in the local press. Firstly, from the Thanet Times on 2 September.

A similar report appeared in the Thanet Adscene on 4 September.

Click here for the latest news

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