As we enter 2013 we move into another important phase for Dreamland Margate project. Throughout last year, we assisted Thanet District Council with its compulsory purchase of the Dreamland site, a process that both parties embarked on with great reluctance, but one that was essential if there was to be any chance of Dreamland reopening as an amusement park. Margate has endured a vacant, derelict site in the heart of its seafront for far too long.

In 2013, we hope to finally be able to get on site and start work on Stage One of the Dreamland Margate development, to include: the refurbishment of the park entrance through the Dreamland Cinema building; landscaping; the installation of a number of exciting rides; the restoration of the Scenic Railway and much more.

We have a fantastic team who are making this project happen, led by our Project Director, Mike Nuttall, and our Audience Development Officer, Jan Leandro. Our consultant design team is now led by Wayne Hemingway and the talented group of people at HemingwayDesign, and we are being advised on the restoration of our rides by Michael Smith of the Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre.

With the park due to open in 2014, this year is undoubtedly going to be our busiest yet, and you should see more visible work on site over the summer as the project gathers pace. We hope to be able to open a visitor centre on site too; an inspiring place where visitors can learn about the project, see exhibitions and buy souvenirs, and we also hope this will be a great resource for schools and the local community. There will also be a programme of events through the summer to whet your appetite for the opening of Dreamland next year.

Keep reading this newsletter as we will give you regular updates on the project, including dates for events on the park.

Happy New Year!

Nick Laister, Chairman, The Dreamland Trust 


Last year we had the privilege of taking a small part in the inaugural GEEK (Gaming Expo East Kent) http://www.geek2013.co.uk/.  We are delighted to be asked to join in again this year with what has become the biggest gaming event in Kent!

Social media, the internet and gaming has, for a generation, created a culture of home-based entertainment. It’s difficult for some people to imagine (or indeed, remember!) a world where the only way to pursue your gaming interests was to don your hat and coat, get out of the house and head for an amusement arcade – a place like Dreamland in fact.  So for GEEK2013, we set out on a quest to find out more about our amusement arcade heritage.

We soon discovered that very little has been written about the history of amusement arcades despite their far-flung success, but we did find a man who knows an awful lot of stuff. So much, in fact, that his interest in amusement arcades has led to a ten-year-long obsession with creating his own amusement arcade of home-made machines on Southwold Pier in Suffolk.

Tim Hunkin, engineer, cartoonist, writer and artist is probably best known for creating the Channel 4 television series, The Secret Life of Machines, which revealed the mysterious mechanics of anything in the home from the washing machine to your gaming console. http://www.secretlifeofmachines.com/

For 15 years Tim produced the cartoon strip, The Rudiments of Wisdom – a visual encyclopaedia for the Observer newspaper, which explains everything from the workings of an albatross through to the functions of zoos.                                                          http://www.rudimentsofwisdom.com/default.htm

Tim’s work extends beyond TV and media and includes curating exhibitions and building interactive museum exhibits for the likes of the Eden Project, the ICA, the Science Museum and the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, as well as designing numerous public engineering works, chiefly for entertainment.

So with his blend of museums, engineering and entertainment expertise, we were thrilled to bits when Tim agreed to come down to Margate to give a visual talk about the history of the amusement arcade and the building of his own arcade and the machines and games within it – the Under the Pier Show http://www.underthepier.com/.

The Dreamland Trust is proud to present for one day only, Tim Hunkin, at Turner Contemporary on Thursday 21 February 2013 at 3pm.  Tickets are £6 (£5 concs) including a cuppa – proceeds will be split between the gallery and The Dreamland Trust.  For venue details and bookings please visit the Turner Contemporary website at http://www.turnercontemporary.org/whats-on/00000000653/under-the-pier-show. 


Coming up is 2 Days Laughter – a challenge to film makers to make a comedy film, from script to screen, within 2 days. Deadline for competition entry is 28 February 2013 – entry forms and trailer available at http://www.2dayslaughter.co.uk/films/trailer13.html. We’re keen to uncover the story behind our British comedy film heritage and links to Dreamland, so watch this space for information about our supporting event.  Proceeds will be split between partners.

The 3rd Battle of Sound takes place at the Westcoast Bar & Music Venue in Margate this spring and we’re delighted to welcome our new event partners, Lounge on the Farm, to the mix.  LOTF will join the judging panel and are offering a performance slot, at this year’s festival, to the outright winner. Founding partners Pie Factory Music are awarding studio recording time, as well as judging the competition along with East Kent College and Hartsdown Technology College music departments.

Not only is Battle of Sound a platform for showcasing young, musical talent, it is also an opportunity for the Dreamland Youth Group to show off their skills as event organisers from call out to selection, auditions, promotion and staging the event.  More information on to follow… Proceeds will be allocated to the Dreamland Youth Group for the next Battle of Sound event.


Just before the end of last year we received news from our partners, Thanet District Council, that the hearing date for the appeal to the Compulsory Purchase Order has been set for 20 and 21 March 2013.  We understand there will be a 28-day vesting process thereafter if we are successful and we can anticipate access to the site in May.

Meanwhile design work is progressing with HemingwayDesign and architects, Guy Hollaway, whilst Michael Smith of Dingles is busy producing the restoration schedule for the historic rides collection. Programming is also underway for the 2013 pre-opening period.


Margate is one of the top 10 world destinations listed in the 2013 Rough Guides alongside Puerto Rico, Iceland and the Unesco World Heritage Site of Dubrovnik, Croatia and why not? We’ve got beautiful beaches, the loveliest sunsets, vintage galore, heritage assets, arts and culture, boutique B&Bs, museums, grottos, caves, welcoming bars, stunning views, delicious eateries, delightful shops, galleries, block buster events, micro climate, water sports, sea safaris, a harbour arm, the smallest theatre in Europe with a haunted seat, cool cats, art deco treasure, grand architecture, creative community, mods n rockers, but don’t just take my word for it…

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