News Archive: December 2009

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Saturday, 19 December 2009

First interview with Dreamland project director
New Dreamland Trust project director Jonathan Bryant has given his first interview in this week's Thanet Times. In the interview he sets out his vision for the park:

"I have worked on a number of heritage projects in the past but too many museums take themselves too seriously. I like this project because it is rooted in fun. I also believe a heritage project like this needs to be run as a business that stands on its own two feet, and that means making a place that people want to go to and will be willing to part with money to visit.” Full interview...

Margate Historical Society blog features a downloadable article about Dreamland in the 1930s.

Dreamland Trust Project Director Jonathan Bryant (right), pictured with Trust chairman Nick Laister and honorary secretary Susan Marsh.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

New Dreamland project director starts work
Work on the world's first amusement park of thrilling historic rides took a leap forward on Thursday with new Dreamland Trust Project Director Jonathan Bryant on his first official meetings in Margate in his new role. Jonathan joined Nick Laister, Sarah Vickery and Susan Marsh in representing The Dreamland Trust at the first Client Group meeting since his appointment. Also attending the meeting were Derek Harding of Margate Renewal Partnership, Peter Beck of site owners MTCRC and Nick Dermott of Thanet District Council.

Jonathan then joined his two new team members, Jan Leandro and Graham Ward at the Dreamland site as Nick Laister, Peter Beck and Nick Dermott showed the Trust's new staff around the Dreamland Cinema building and the amusement park to see the challenge that lies before them. They paused briefly for a photo opportunity (right).

Jonathan, Jan and Graham were then introduced to various key people in the Dreamland project with whom they will be working over the coming months, with a small welcome celebration in the evening.

Ready for the challenge: Dreamland Trust Project Director Jonathan Bryant (right) in Dreamland with two members of his new team, Audience Development Officer Jan Leandro and Project Archivist Graham Ward. (Click for larger version).
News of Jonathan's appointment is reported in YourThanet and InterPark Magazine and Dreamland is being discussed on various forums, including Theme Park Review, All the Fun of the Fair, Ultimate Roller Coaster and The Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Dreamland Trust appoints Project Director
The Dreamland Trust today announces the appointment of Jonathan Bryant as its Project Director. Jonathan will be responsible for implementing the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides at Dreamland Margate following the award of grant funding from Heritage Lottery and the Government’s Sea Change programme.
With a wealth of experience in the heritage and leisure sectors and in business leadership, Jonathan, who’s originally from East London, established the UK’s first brewing museum and opened a working coal mine to the public in Staffordshire. In Scotland he led the City of Dundee’s renaissance Discovery project as chief executive and on the River Thames set up Henley’s River & Rowing Museum, which won the coveted Museum of the Year Award and was short listed for the Stirling Prize for the work of its architect David Chipperfield – also project architect for Margate’s Turner Contemporary.

More recently Jonathan project directed Birmingham’s Thinktank Science Centre and for the last five years has been member of British Waterways’ senior management team.

He is also an active volunteer in the cultural & heritage sector and has served as chairman of the Association of Independent Museums, trustee and chairman of Dundee’s contemporary art gallery, trustee of Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and, currently, chairman of Watermen’s Hall Preservation Trust in London.  He has one daughter aged six and is a keen cinema goer, walker and motorcyclist.

Chairman of The Dreamland Trust, Nick Laister, said: “I would like to welcome Jonathan to The Dreamland Trust. He has a reputation for action and for successfully bringing forward first-class heritage attractions delivered with commercial and creative flair. With Jonathan’s excellent track record, I am sure that we will be able to deliver a Dreamland that Margate can be proud of.”
The Dreamland Margate project is being led by The Dreamland Trust, a not-for-profit company. The Trust is developing an exciting theme park from the past on the Dreamland site, giving visitors to Margate an opportunity to enjoy spectacular historic amusement park rides. The rides will be built around the centre piece of the park, the Scenic Railway, the oldest surviving roller coaster in the UK and the fourth oldest in the world. Restoration work will also be carried out on the Grade II*-listed Dreamland cinema building, creating a major new visitor attraction of international significance.
Jonathan Bryant says: “I am inspired by all that The Dreamland Trust and its partners have achieved to date and am looking forward to bringing Dreamland back to life as a firm family favourite for the 21st century.”
Jonathan joins The Dreamland Trust in January 2010. Jonathan is currently interim chief executive at Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust which is working with Haringey Council to refurbish and develop the 1930’s listed civic buildings and assembly hall.  From January his commitments to Dreamland and Hornsey Town Hall will run concurrently.
The Trust has also appointed Jan Leandro as Audience Development Officer and Graham Ward as Project Archivist, both of whom start in January 2010.

The news was covered today by UK attractions industry magazine Attractions Management and Us industry magazine Amusement Today.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Auction of rare book for The Dreamland Trust
One of the finest books written on the subject of a single amusement park and now very rare is the glossy hardback Blackpool Pleasure Beach: A Century of Fun by Peter Bennett, published in 1996 to celebrate 100 years of the park. The Pleasure Beach is also the source of some of the rides currently in storage for the Dreamland Margate project, such as the Whip, Junior Whip and Astro Swirl, the first meteorite ride to operate in a UK amusement park.

Simon Whitehead has kindly donated this book to the Trust and Joyland Books is selling it on the Trust's behalf. 100% of the proceeds of this sale will go towards building the world's first amusement park of thrilling historic rides at Dreamland Margate.

This book is currently for sale as an auction item at the Joyland Books Secondhand Shop.

Click here to go straight to the auction. This auction closes on Sunday 20th December 2009. The current highest bid will be displayed here on a daily basis.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach - A Century of Fun

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Arts Council England, one of the Dreamland Trust's partners in the Dreamland development, features the news of Dreamland's Sea Change success prominently on its website, including a very supportive quote from Pam Alexander, Chief Executive of SEEDA. Click here to view.

The Stage, the UK's leading newspaper for theatre and the performing arts, has given a major splash to Dreamland this week. Click here to view the online article. The article also featured in the print edition. Theme park industry magazine Park World also covers the story.

Other websites covering the news this week include news website Banmoco, Kent Coastal Network, Dutch theme park website Theme Park Vision and Architects Journal, which features an article called 'Top 5: Rollercoaster Architecture', inspired by the Dreamland news! There is also a photo feature on

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