discover the story behind Kent’s most iconic theme park
Discover the origins of Dreamland as an entertainment venue dating back to the late 1860s when an unused railway terminal on the current site was turned into a restaurant and dance venue, known as the Hall-by-the-Sea by the legendary Victorian circus entrepreneur “Lord” George Sanger
Give someone a pencil, ask them to draw a Margate building and the chances are that they will come up with an interpretation of the wonderful Art Deco-style Dreamland cinema on the sea front.
In June 1940, as part of the war effort, Dreamland was requisitioned by the Government.
The restaurants served as treatment centres for the wounded and the ballroom was converted to a makeshift dormitory for troops.
Rock ‘n’ roll music, the ending of rationing and availability of fabrics in colours other than army uniform green provided for a perfect storm of inspiration for a new generation of young people.
Seen by many as the golden era for Dreamland, the 1960s were very much a classic time for the site, with youth culture booming, the economy on the up and growing numbers of day trippers from London bringing fashion from across the capital.
Iconic giant slide the Astroglide arrived at the park in 1973, and there was also the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride and the Cyclone for visitors to enjoy by the middle of the decade, when a small zoo was also reintroduced.
The park was sold to Dutch amusement park operators Bembom in 1981 and renamed
Bembom Brothers Theme Park. A slew of new rides, including the white knuckle looping coaster the Looping Star and Big Wheel
Dreamland got its rightful name back in 1990, when the Bembom Brothers decided that a minor revamp would be best promoted by the name that most still recognised and used to describe the park. Later this decade the park was sold to Jimmy Godden
Rumours of closure, demolition and a potential change of owners were all rife as the new millennium was ushered in, with empty spaces on site prompting further speculation about the park’s future. One item of major concern for amusement park enthusiasts and historians was the future of Dreamland’s 1920s Scenic Railway,
After many years of campaigning to save the Dreamland site from redevelopment, and successful funding bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Department for Culture Media and Sport’s Sea Change Scheme, the Dreamland restoration project went live in Dreamland reopened in 2015