DIY JUKEBOX 26 May open 9am until mid-night Fort’s Café 8 Cliff Terrace Margate CT9 1RU www.fortscafe.co.uk 

SOUL BRITANNIA 26 May  8pm – 1am  The Britannia 47 Fort Hill Margate CT9 1HH www.thebritmargate.co.uk £1 entry before 10pm, £3 thereafter

OLD TOWN SOUL ALLDAYER 27 May 1pm-11pm Westcoast Bar & Music Venue King Street Margate CT9 1DD westcoastlive.co.uk £5 on the door + THE SOUL CINEMA

MARGATE MUSEUM open 11am – 4pm Market Place Margate Old Town CT9 1ER www.margatemuseum.wordpress.com. Adults £1.50, children free

Tracey Emin’s solo show, She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea, opens Saturday 26 May at Turner Contemporary Rendezvous Margate, Kent CT9 1HG  FREE ENTRY www.turnercontemporary.org  


The Dreamland Trust’s Soul Town Weekend is a celebration of our great British Youth Culture Heritage and marks the 48th anniversary of the youth riots that took place in British seaside towns around the UK during Whitsun bank holiday weekend in 1964.

Margate found itself on the front pages of the national press reporting how violent clashes resulted in over 40 arrests and four men being jailed in the Margate Magistrates Court (now Margate Museum). In his summing up Chairman, Dr George Simpson, described the youths as;  “…long-haired, mentally unstable, petty little hoodlums…” A speech later immortalised in the teen cult classic 1979 film, Quadrophenia.

Throughout the 1960s Dreamland was a major music venue supporting fledgling bands such as The Who, The Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds.  Margate became a destination for young people to meet, parade and create their own unique style and culture.

This Whitsun weekend soul tunes will be played across various venues in Margate’s iconic Old Town vintage quarter along with other activities including the DIY Jukebox – it does what it says on the tin – and special screenings of Dean Chalkley’s award-winning film, Young Souls, plus his latest film, The New Faces: A Short Film. This is a documentary showcasing the continuing popularity of the sixties-born youth cult and a study of eight Mods bound together by a shared passion for smart dressing, rare soul, socialising and dancing.


I am delighted that our Heritage Advisor, Nick Dermott, has agreed to contribute to this month’s special Whitsun Weekend edition newsletter. Nick has an expert knowledge of local events that took place in Margate over the 1964 Whitsun weekend and describes below the scene following the youth clashes.

Broadstairs & St Peter’s Mail 20 May 1964: youths and coppers outside Margate Magistrates Court opposite the now Cup Cake Café in Margate’s Old Town vintage quarter. 

“It is not likely that the air of this town has ever been polluted by the hordes of hooligans, male and female, such as we have seen this weekend and of whom you are an example. 

These long-haired, mentally unstable, petty little hoodlums, these sawdust Caesars who can only find courage like rats, in hunting in packs, come to Margate with the avowed intent of interfering with the life and property of its inhabitants. 

Insofar as the law gives us power, this court will not fail to use the prescribed penalties. It will, perhaps, discourage you and others of your kidney who are infected with this vicious virus, that you will go to prison for three months.”

The above, in full, are the words which Dr. George Simpson used when sentencing the first of forty-four youths at Margate Magistrates in a specially convened court on Whitsun Bank Holiday Monday 1964. The twenty-two year old was given the three month sentence for threatening behaviour. Other defendants also got custodial sentences or £50 or £75 fines – at a time when the average wage for a manual labourer was £12 a week. The speech is so beautifully written that it must have been pre-prepared.

Other remarks Dr. Simpson made to the defendants are worth recording: –

To a nineteen year old plumber’s mate accused of carrying a rolled-up newspaper with coins inside.

Dr. Simpson “I don’t suppose you were using this newspaper to further your literary aspirations”

Defendant “I’m sorry, I don’t understand”

Dr. Simpson “Never mind, you’ll understand what I am going to say now: £50” 

To a seventeen year-old grammar school boy accused of possessing an offensive weapon and using threatening behaviour.

Dr. Simpson “Perhaps your school will consider a framed reproduction of your conviction” (£75 fine)

As well as being a Magistrate, Dr. Simpson had been a Margatefamily doctor since 1940. His wife was to tell the Daily Mail (19th May 1964)

“The town was full of grubby teenagers. It must not be allowed to happen again…I think my husband did the right thing” 

Thirty-six of the forty-four youths had pleaded guilty, some saying afterwards that they believed that if they pleaded not guilty they would have received a heavier sentence. The lightest sentence handed down by the court was a conditional discharge.

Contemporary accounts imply that the damage to Margate property caused by the 1964 ‘riots’ was in fact slight; certainly the damage was insignificant compared to the urban riots of the 1980s and, indeed, last year. Dr. Simpson was defending his town against what he perceived to be an alien threat. Despite Teddy Boys andRock and Roll,Britainin the early 1960s was in many ways still a regimented war-time nation. Ten years later, this had changed beyond recognition.


36 years ago, Jo Wallace started putting vinyl on decks in dingy nightclubs full of unsuspecting punters. Many were left bewildered by her selection of strange eclectic soul tunes and over the years, nothing has changed!

Using a 1956 Michelin road map and a blindfold, Jo sticks pins in at random and has ended up dj’ing in many parts of Europe including Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Sweden and nearer to home in Cleethorpes and at Madame JoJo’s and the 100 Club in London.

More recently Jo has compiled the Soul Satisfaction series of CDs for Motown, closed Glastonbury 2009 and 2010 with Eddie Piller, been broadcasting with Norman Jay MBE and was involved with the Island and Motown 50th Anniversaries.

This Whitsun weekend Jo will be leading a band of top UK Northern Soul DJs at the award winning Westcoast Bar & Music Venue in the renaissance seaside town of Margate on Kent’s south east coast as part of the Dreamland Trust’s inaugural Soul Town Weekend.

Jo Wallace is dj’ing at the Vintage Festival later this year, likes strawberry creams, Mike Terry’s baritone sax riffs and fondling acetates…


Our volunteer Archive Researcher, Suzannah Foad, has posted on flickr (link below) a selection of evocative images of events that took place over that infamous Whitsun weekend in 1964. Some of these images have been generously donated to The Dreamland Trust, others have been shared by private collectors and organisations, so our grateful thanks go to our heritage partners for putting a new generation in touch with their cultural roots and, of course, Suzannah!



The main scaffolding around Dreamland’s Grade II*-listed Cinema building and fin has been removed now that repairs to the building’s brick work are complete rendering the building water-tight once more.  Some scaffolding to the Hall By The Sea Road elevation will stay in place ready for urgent work to be carried out to the concrete windows.

Meanwhile we patiently await the Secretary of State’s decision on the Council’s Compulsory Purchase Order served on the landowners last July.  News is anticipated around July this year.


Ace Café’s Margate Meltdown arrives a week late this year due to the Royal Diamond Jubilee.  Instead of arriving Whitsun Bank Holiday Monday the ride out to Margate will take place on the 4 June 2012.

The run departs the Ace Café, on London’s North Circular Road at 10.30am and streams into Margate an hour or so later. Marine Drive will be closed, as usual, and transformed into a stunning exhibition of some pretty impressive motor bikes and scooters – yes, the Rockers are happy to share the seaside with the Mods!

There will be no battles on the beaches, but there will be dancing in the Piazza to the Daytonas and DJs Guntrip and Ska Shack from Noon along with stalls and general good fun in and around the harbour area.

Traditionally The Dreamland Trust has linked the Margate Meltdown with Carter’s Steam Fair – unfortunately Carter’s won’t be in town this year due to the changes to the calendar and an invite to attend the Jubilee celebrations in London.


Margate Museum is seeking out people to share their memories of the clashes between teenage Mods and Rockers on Margate beach in 1964 for a new exhibition called In Their Words.

Exhibition Curator, Lizzy Rose, said; “The evolution of the teenager was something that was really important at that time. I think that it’s a really important part in Margate’s history. It was just a meeting of two tribes and part of it got out of hand”

Lizzy would love to hear from you if you have a story to tell, please email the Secretary Friends of Margate Museum at friendsofmargatemuseum@gmail.com.  The exhibition opens on the 2 June 2012 and runs until the 9 September 2012.


Whilst doing some extensive research for our Soul Town Weekend and this newsletter I came across a fabulous picture of the delightful Kylie Minogue sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with the Daily Mirror’s classic 1964 front page headline, WILD ONES ‘BEAT UP’ MARGATE. The image is copyright protected, but you can take a peak via this link to –http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/style/shopping/kylie-minogue-daily-mirror-shirt-781686. Such fun!

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