The Visitor & Learning Arcade is proving to be a tremendous hit with locals and visitors to Margate – we’ve welcomed over 12,500 visitors since we opened 25th May. We even have our regulars who drop in to catch the latest film showing in the bijou cinema, people who previously worked at Dreamland, the curios and folk bringing to us their archive photographs, memorabilia and memories.

Now showing in the Arcade is our short documentary film, Dreaming of Dreamland, an affectionate portrait of Dreamland, Margate and our seaside heritage as told by the local community. The film takes the view on an exciting journey through Dreamland’s chequered past, present and looks toward a bright future.

Also this month, we are super excited to welcome on board our newly appointed Learning & Community Officer, Donna Watford. So passionate about Margate and Dreamland is Donna, that she is relocating from Brighton to the Original Seaside! Donna will be responsible for schools and community engagement and is in the process of putting together our programme of activities for the new academic year.


Bringing back glamour, class and sophistication with a side of humour, La Voix is a lady you can’t help but admire and adore. Winning many prestigious awards which include Best Drag Act at the London Cabaret Awards 2014, Winner of Drag Idol 2012 and most recently the Gold Award winner for Best Drag Act at the Boys Scene Awards.

So it is no surprise that we are thrilled to bits to announce that LA VOIX will be hosting our fundraising cabaret with the legendary Private Widdle Social Club, Late@theArcade on 15 August 2014. For the past 10 years LA VOIX has been taking on the big divas and making them her own, on both stage and screen. More recently she was found on Britain’s Got Talent, where she left the judges entertained up to the semi-finals.

LA VOIX is a vivacious performer, her many talents add saucy layers to her shows, with live spine tingling vocals that are the finest in the industry. Her uncanny ability to switch between the vocal styles of Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland or Cher with the click of a finger leaves the audience mesmerised.     The Private Widdle Scoial Club provides a cornucopia of the cult and bizarre including musical artistes, salacious dancing, performance poets, illusionists and so much more all set in the dramatic surrounds of Dreamland’s 1934 Grade II*-listed cinema arcade.

Our complimentary Dreamland cocktail will get things swinging. Lifeboat bar, Burger Bros basket meal and raffle available – all funds raised help keep the Arcade open!

All funds go toward sustaining Dreamland’s Visitor & Learning Arcade – ticket numbers are limited due to capacity, so booking is absolutely essential!   Full details and tickets available at latacomedycabaret.eventbrite.co.uk

latacomedycabaret linked


One of Dreamland’s most memorable rides, the Caterpillar was first introduced to the park in 1922, and became a favourite with generations of visitors until the early 1980s.

John Henry Iles bought the sole European rights for the ride the previous year, and it was therefore forever associated with Dreamland. For many years, Iles operated Caterpillar rides at a number of British and European amusement parks, each under individual operating tenders. Over the years, countless thousands of people were whirled around an eighty-foot diameter undulating track at increasing speed.

At the peak of the ride, participants were plunged into darkness by a continuous, tent-like covering, to the accompaniment of a wailing Klaxon. Moments later, the cover would be pulled back and a blast of compressed air would be blown under each individual rider, much to the merriment of bystanders.

The Dreamland archive possesses an original paper order from the Caterpillar Company in the U.S. for the purchase of the original Dreamland Caterpillar.  There were similar Caterpillar rides at Barry Island, Southport and Battersea Pleasure Gardens.

If you have any memories of the Caterpillar or Dreamland we would love to hear your stories and see any photographs to build up the Dreamland archive. Email us at arcade@dreamlandmargate.co.uk or pop down to the arcade and speak to one of our lovely staff.

Undated Dreamland Caterpillar: John Hutchinson Collection


Last month, local resident, Gordon Frankland donating 3 stunning mid-century Italian light shades believed to be from the Hall by the Sea’s ‘Speciality Bar’.  We’ve been searching the archive for more information about this bar and wonder if any out there can through some light on this (‘scuse the pun!).    These beautiful light shades are now on exhibition in the Arcade for all to enjoy.


We now have on display 3 delightful Junior Whip cars thanks to Dave Love and supporters who helped salvage the ride for Dreamland.   These fabulous dragon-themed cars are from the last surviving Junior Whip ride in the UK following the demolition and complete rebuild of the American Whip at Southend’s Adventure Island in 2009.   The Junior Whip opened at Pleasure Beach Blackpool in 1927 as the Fairy Whip. It was believed to have been originally located in Bingle & Bob’s, the children’s park set up that same year between the Jack n Jill Slide and the Scenic Railway.   In 1924, it was moved to the replacement children’s park, Emberton’s Kiddies Park, where it was located immediately south of the Zipper Dipper.   It operated until 2008, in recent years as Griffin’s Magic Dragon, and in 2009 it was dismantled and moved to Dreamland where the ride awaits assessment for restoration.


The Dreamland Expo: A Past, Present and Future

Open daily from 10am until 5pm, free entry, no booking required At the heart of the summer programme is an exhibition charting the revival of one of the UK’s best loved amusement parks. The Expo is an interactive experience for all the family evoking Dreamland’s heyday and charting the journey toward next year’s official re-launch of this British institution and immersive entertainment destination. Situated in a vintage style arcade in Dreamland’s 1934 Grade II* listed cinema complex, the Expo explores Dreamland’s rich heritage and houses a collection of 1950s and 60s arcade games and pinball machines, fairground and amusement park artifacts, bijou cinema and more.


Sundays from 2pm-5pm at the Dreamland Visitor and Learning Arcade, free entry, no booking required In celebration of British seaside cultural heritage, The Dreamland Trust is running classic holiday camp events including knobbly knees and lovely legs with a little 1960s and 70s disco in the background. The event is sponsored by vintage clothier, Madam Popoff and seaside emporium, Kiss Me Quick. Also look out for the What a Vintage Carry on! bus running between the station, the Dreamland Arcade and Turner Contemporary on the weekend of the 16 and 17 August.


2 – 3 August, free entry 2pm-5pm Sat 2nd Aug and 12pm-3pm Sun 3rd Aug Over Margate Carnival weekend, The Dreamland Trust will be celebrating Dreamland’s early origins in circus and parade with gravity-defying displays of vertical acrobats and athleticism performed by Phases Studio.


15 August, 7:30pm-11:30pm, Tickets £15 including a complimentary cocktail, booking essential at http://bit.ly/1kDxBYh An exclusive Late@theArcade event with the legendary Private Widdle Social Club – an evening of outrageous cabaret, laughter and cocktails hosted by the fabulous La Voix (as seen on Britain’s Got Talent). Club rules, there are no rules!


On now till 10th Aug The Arcade will exhibit an installation by Canterbury based multi-disciplinary artist, Stuart John Peiter Brough. Brough has created an interactive memory box for collating Dreamland memories with sound created by Joe Wright. Accompanying the memory box is a series of Dreamland-inspired album cover artworks, produced for the award winning Elliot Galvin jazz trio.


Exhibition: 27 September – 4 October free entry, no booking required, preview on the 27 September at 7:30pm A free pop-up display, the Exhibition of Lost Cabinets will be at the heart of Gaming@theArcade. The exhibition features a collection of rare gaming cabinets missing from the historic archive, reviving classic games through MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) for contemporary machines. Curated by Dr A F Meades, Senior Lecturer in New Media Theory at Canterbury Christ Church University. Late-night gaming Friday 26 September from 7:30pm, tickets £5 on the door A late night gaming event on Friday 26 September will feature gaming, DJs, pizza and beer.


Margate Carnival organisers are looking for volunteers and stewards to help with celebrations – if you are interested, please contact margatecarnivalgroup@yahoo.co.uk or contact Jack Packman on 07791426025.


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