We are delighted to announce that multi-disciplinary designers, Wayne Hemingway MBE, Gerardine Hemingway MBE and the award-winning HemingwayDesign team have been selected to bring forward the overall design and branding for the forthcoming revival of Dreamland.

From their origins selling second hand clothes on Camden and Kensington Markets in the early 1980s, Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway built the legendary Red or Dead into a fashion design label to receive global acclaim winning the British Fashion Council’s Streetstyle Designer of the Year Award for 3 consecutive years.

In 1999 the Hemingways launched HemingwayDesign moving into urban design and regeneration which led to one of the UK’s quirkiest seaside regenerations projects, The Boscombe Overstrand in Bournemouth, winning Best Regeneration Scheme at the LGC Awards in 2010.

The Hemingways are also responsible for the award winning Vintage Festival which helped London’s Southbank Centre celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant Festival and The Vintage Guild Weekend at The Preston Guild, attracting 175,000 visitors over two days, as well as owning Britain’s foremost museum of popular culture, The Land of Lost Content.

HemingwayDesign’s impressive track record spanning urban design, regeneration, fashion, seaside heritage, vintage culture and festival is a perfect match to The Dreamland Trust’s vision for the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides and a good fit for Margate’s creative and vintage vibe.

Our Chairman, Nick Laister said: “We are really excited about HemingwayDesign’s appointment as our creative designers. Wayne and Gerardine have created some truly great places, from the transformation of Boscombe seafront to the regeneration of a rundown housing estate in Norfolk. At Dreamland, HemingwayDesign’s job will be to bring our proposals to life, and I have no doubt that they will exceed our expectations. Wayne,Gerardine and the team have a genuine passion for the British seaside and for the Dreamland Margate project. I am delighted to welcome them onto the project.”

The Dreamland Margate restoration project represents a multi-million pound investment from the Department for Culture Media and Sport’s Sea Change Programme, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Thanet District Council as a major component of Margate’s regeneration programme spearheaded by the opening of the Turner Contemporary Gallery in 2011.

Morecambe born Wayne said: “To say we are excited about embarking on this journey to work with The Dreamland Trust, Thanet District Council, and the local community in bringing a new vibrant life to an iconic British seaside institution is a massive understatement. Having visited Margate over the past few months and seen the grassroots creative revolution that is taking place we are thrilled, nay cock a hoop at the potential of the place and can’t wait to get stuck in. We fully understand the scale of the task but with the creative community of Margate and environs we can deliver something of international significance.”

The Dreamland Trust grew from a 6 year campaign to save the site from redevelopment and to preserve this important part of our British cultural heritage. The Dreamland Trust is working in partnership with Thanet District Council toward opening Stage One of the project in 2014.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “I’m delighted to welcome HemingwayDesign to the Dreamland project. Having such a renowned creative team on board is a real boost and I can’t wait to see our vision for the site start to take shape. We’ve always been clear that this project marks such an important part in the regeneration of Margate, and Thanet as a whole. Today’s announcement is fantastic news and I hope serves as a timely reminder that the council is serious about our aspirations for the future of this important site.”

Despite its closure Dreamland has maintained a loyal audience throughout and is appealing to new audiences with an appetite for heritage, restoration and learning. Dreamland is a hybrid of popular culture entertainment and heritage with an enviable reputation. We aim to excite and thrill new audiences, shake teenagers to the core and make our grandmas weep with happiness!


The current Dreamland site owner, Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company Ltd, has lodged its anticipated appeal against Thanet District Council’s Compulsory Purchase Order, which was approved by the Secretary of State last August.

We are currently awaiting a date for the hearing. In the meantime the council continues to have access to the site to carry out safeguarding works under Urgent Works Notices to prevent further deterioration to the site’s listed, heritage assets after years of neglect – the next of which is urgent work to the historic Compton cinema organ.

Meanwhile the Heritage Lottery Fund has granted us permission to start work – over the coming months this will include:

  • Branding and design
  • Off-site rides restoration
  • Events and attractions prospectus
  • Pre-opening programming
  • Continued archive building
  • Developing a visual document
  • On-going funding strategy
  • Continued learning and engagement activities
  • Events
  • Formation of a Dreamland Cinema Trust


Over the summer months we have been in discussion with Michael Smith at the Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre in Devon, who has agreed to come on board as the Historic Rides Consultant.

Michael brings a wealth of knowledge in the preservation of historic rides through his association with The Fairground Heritage Trust and industry links with Carter’s Steam Fair and historic ride restorer, David Littleboy. David has been assisting us with the acquistion of additonal historic rides to complement our historic rides collection currently in storage.

With the 1920 Grade II* listed Scenic Railway as the park’s centre piece, Dreamland’s permanent historic rides collection will be supported by guest rides and sideshows whilst playing host to visiting attractions, exhibition, events and festivals throughout the year.


Walpole Champneys’ artwork in the Sunshine Cafe, 1934

Last month we celebrated Dreamland’s cinematic heritage by linking with the legendary Hammer Films’ South East premier screening of their recently restored 1957 gothic film, The Curse of Frankenstein, and partnering with Beeping Bush to mark their 2 Days Later short horror film making competition’s tenth anniversary.

The outcome was a week long programme of events and activities including our Dreamland Revisited exhibition of Sam Bénard’s haunting photographic images of the cinema in its current run-down condition alongside archive images of the cinema in 1934 when it first opened to the public.

Whilst installing the exhibition we had a surprise visit from Walpole Champneys granddaughter who was, coincidentally, in Margate at the time. Champneys was the interior consultant and artist for the Dreamland Cinema’s original 1934 interior decorative scheme.  It is hoped that his 40ft semi-abstract mural of a sea serpent in the Sunshine Café still exists and if so it would be the artist’s last surviving work of its type in the world.

Hammer’s visual talk on the history of Hammer, the history of the horror film genre and premiere screening was very well attended and has opened an opportunity for us to develop future events and activities around our British cinematic and film heritage with Hammer and other partners.

An enormous thank yougoes to our generous volunteers for giving up their valuable time to invigilate the exhibition and to help deliver our events and activities for the Margate Halloween Horror Feast – we simply could not do it without you!

Whilst here we all wish our veteran volunteer and long-time Dreamland supporter, Mandy, a very speedy recovery x


Our next event is a visual talk on the Dreamland Margate Project; past, present and future at the Society for the Protection for Ancient Buildings at 6.30pm on Thursday 6 December 2012 at St Botolph’s Hall, Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3TL. For full details and bookings please visit the SPAB website events page at


Our congratulations to our office neighbours, HKD at Marine Studios, who have just won the job of redesigning Hong Kong’s Space Museum – Margate based creative talent was an obvious choice for the Chinese Space Programme commissioners!

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