CHRISTMAS AT DREAMLAND

DREAMLAND CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATING

The Garden Gate Community Project

The Garden Gate Community Project

6 & 7 December 2014 11am until 5pm

Come one come all to the Dreamland Expo as we welcome the Garden Gate community project to the Arcade for a festive weekend of Christmas tree decorating – music, pinballs, stocking fillers and bijou cinema.

FREE EVENT

CHRISTMAS CABARET FUNDRAISER

Christmas Cracker final

19 December 2014 7pm until late

The Dreamland Trust is a not-for-profit organisation awaiting charity status and raises funds to continue delivering community events and learning activities.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL www.dreamlandchristmascracker.eventbrite.co.uk.

CONTEMPORARY CIRCUS ARTS WORKSHOP

Acrojou German Wheel

Acrojou German Wheel

22 & 23 December 2014 11am until 3pm

The amazing international contemporary circus outfit, Acrojou, create unique contemporary circus experiences worldwide.  We are delighted to have persuaded Acrojou to take a break from their busy touring schedule to run two exclusive workshops in the Dreamland Expo. Workshops are aimed at moderately fit 14-18 year olds and include:

  • An introduction to contemporary circus skills
  • Taster sessions in a variety of circus disciplines
  • German Wheel
  • Certificates of completion
  • Participation contributes towards the Arts Award Scheme
  • Packed lunch and refreshments

Limited spaces available so booking is absolutely essential! Click on the following links to book your places.

dreamlandcircusworkshopmonday.eventbrite.co.uk  22 December 2014 dreamlandcircusworkshoptuesday.eventbrite.co.uk  23 December 2014

For more information about Acrojou please visit http://www.acrojou.com/.

CABIN FEVER VINTAGE PINBALL TOURNAMENT

PINBALL

1 & 2 January 2015 Mid-day until 3pm

Sick of turkey left overs? Bored with the telly? Well come on down to the Dreamland Expo and blow those cabin fever blues away with our vintage pinball tournament. Free entry, no booking required – just rock up and have fun. It’s not about the winning, it’s all about taking part – oh, yes it is!

FREE EVENT

Please note we are closed the weekend of 20 and 21 December 2014

 

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JOB OPPORTUNITY

The Dreamland Trust is seeking to appoint a Development Manager. For a full job description and how to apply please visit http://jobs.thirdsector.co.uk/job/371510/development-manager/.

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NOVEMBER 2014 NEWSLETTER

Dreamland Archive: Dreamland Amusement Park, November 2014.

Dreamland Archive: Dreamland Amusement Park, November 2014.

The Dreamland Trust is delighted that heads of terms have been agreed with local company, Sands Heritage Ltd, which will become Dreamland’s new operator if discussions are successfully concluded. This is a significant milestone in what has been a very long journey, and we are very much looking forward to working with the Sands Heritage team to deliver an outstanding visitor attraction.

Things have been happening very quickly over the past few weeks, with visible work starting on the Scenic Railway, the publication of our drawings showing what the park will look like, and the launch of our new branding, all of which can be seen on the brand new Dreamland website at www.dreamland.co.uk.

There is a real sense at The Dreamland Trust that things are falling into place ready for the reopening of the site next year, thanks to the hard working teams at The Dreamland Trust and Thanet District Council.

The Council is now pressing ahead with the other contracts to rebuild the park, including ride restorations and infrastructure refurbishment, which will see the park cleaned up with new landscaping and a complete revamp of the entrance tunnel, with the park being handed over to the operator next year.

Meanwhile, you can find out about the future of Dreamland at the Dreamland Expo, located in the former amusement arcade at the front of the Dreamland Cinema building, which remains open at weekends, so do drop in and meet the Dreamland Trust team.

Nick Laister, Chairman of The Dreamland Trust. 

MYSTERY ARTIST DISCOVERED!

Dreamland wall painting: Dreamland Archive

Dreamland wall painting: Dreamland Archive

In last month’s newsletter we asked if anyone knew who the mystery artist was who painted the fabulous Jolly Dog painting in the basement of Dreamland’s Grade II*-listed cinema complex, underneath the Visitor & Learning Arcade and Dreamland Expo. Thanks all those who contacted us, we discovered that the artist was, in fact, 97 year-old Vic McCoy.

Mr McCoy was engaged as a freelance artist by Dreamland owner, John Henry Iles, in 1937 to design and produce signage, promotion materials, park installations and set dressing until his retirement in 1967.  We have since visited Vic, at his home, where he shared his story and showed us some of his fabulous artworks, which we have safely documented in the Dreamland Archive.

The image above is part of a decorative scheme featured in the Jolly Dog Bar during the 1950s. The images were painted directly onto the walls and show fine detailing in the dog hair, facial expressions and shadowing creating a dynamic scene and interaction between the humanised dog characters.

Although a freelance artist, Mr McCoy was given a workshop space on the Dreamland site.  One of his early commissions for Dreamland was the 75t long ‘Dreamland Welcomes You’ sign which survives today on the West elevation of the Cinema Complex, overlooking the Arlington site.

The sign was originally produced on paper and pasted onto the building in 1939. Over the summer season the sun bleached the lettering onto the brick work leaving an impression of the sign. John Henry Iles decided to keep the sign and instructed his workman to use this impression as a template to paint the sign directly onto the cinema’s brick work.

The ‘Dreamland Welcomes You’ sign remains in situ today and has, for several decades, been the iconic welcoming beacon at the town’s entry points by road and rail.

NEARLY CHRISTMAS – OH, YES IT IS!

Christmas Cracker final

The Dreamland Trust is delighted to announce Private Widdle Social Club’s Christmas Cracker fund raiser in the Arcade at Dreamland.

Christmas comes to Dreamland on Friday 19 December 2014 in the shape of a great big Cracker – PAUL FOOT!

Taking a mini-break from his UK Tour, the cult TV comic (Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Would I Lie to You, 8 Out of 10 Cats), Paul Foot, will host The Private Widdle Social Club’s Christmas Cracker show at the Arcade, Dreamland.

Paul Foot will be joined by favourites, Duo Bogof, Miss Dolly Doowop, Dickie Beau and Bobby the Organ, while a roasty, toasty musical element will be provided by Kent’s premiere alternative folk outfit, Cocos Lovers – unplugged! So – two exclusives, never to be seen elsewhere for Widdle’s Dreamland Christmas Cracker!

Music, laughter, grand raffle prizes, Santa’s Sack and Dolly’s Dance Club will be playing tunes till late, making this THE Christmas Party of the Season!

Tickets now available at Eventbrite at http://dreamlandchristmascracker.eventbrite.co.uk and from the Dreamland Expo in the Visitor & Learning Arcade, Marine Terrace, Margate open on Saturdays and Sundays between 11am and 5pm.

Seated tickets are £18.00 and Standing tickets are £15.00 – book early to bag the best seats in the house.

Dress code: leave your onesie at home.  Club rules, there are no rules.

DREAMLAND ARCHIVE WEEKEND

The Dreamland Trust invites you to join us in a celebration of Dreamland’s past over a weekend of shared experiences, stories, photographs and memorabilia in partnership with the South East Archive of Seaside photography project with special guest appearance from celebrity TV antiques expert, Mark Stacey.

The Dreamland Trust is responsible for connecting people with Dreamland’s rich heritage which dates back to the Great British railway boom of the early 1860s, through ‘Lord’ George Sanger’s 1870s pleasure gardens and menagerie of exotic beasts from all parts of the universe to the opening of John Henry Iles’ Cony Island inspired Dreamland in 1920.

Over the past five years, The Dreamland Trust has been working with the community to build an historic record and archive of Dreamland’s extraordinary past.

Perhaps you, or your family and friends, visited Dreamland during one of its many hey days; maybe you had your first kiss on the Caterpillar ride – a firm favourite with courting couples! There might even be some family cine film in your attic or photographs under the bed?

Did you work in Dreamland or know someone who did? Whatever your experience, whatever your story, whatever you’ve got – we would love to meet you, see your snaps and share those treasured memories!

There is no need to book to take part. This is a free activity taking place between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 22 November 2014 and Sunday 23 November 2014 at the Dreamland Expo in the Visitor & Learning Arcade, Dreamland Cinema, Marine Terrace, Margate, Kent CT9 1JX.

EDUCATION AND FAMILY FUN

Ron

Bobbie

story teller

 

Half term was busy in the Visitor & Learning Arcade and we would like to thank all the families who came along to take part in our activities – we visited Garlinge and Piggy Bank nurseries to paint faces and tell spooky stories the week before in preparation.  Here are some photos taken during the week:

George Scott who is 9 and from Westbrook won our Spooky Margate prize draw by completing his ghost trail and has received his prize of a gift card and Dreamland goodies, so many congratulations George!

The Dreamland Trust has been busy with other schools, presenting in assemblies at Cliftonville Primary and running a workshop on the animals that Sanger used to keep at the Hall-by-the-Sea at Ellington and Hereson. We are currently working on an exciting project with both Chatham and Clarendon House and St Nicholas at Wade schools and planning dates and activities with various others, so will keep you posted!

OPENING TIMES

The Dreamland Visitor & Learning Arcade winter opening times are as follows:

FREE ENTRY Saturdays and Sundays 11am until 5pm

Open weekdays by appointment and available for pre-booked school visits, community activities, workshops, projects, research, film screenings, presentations and celebrations.

If you or your group would like to book the Arcade for an event or activity, please email us at arcade@dreamlandmargate.co.uk for more information and to check availability.

Do keep checking our website and fb for up-dates on our winter programme in the Arcade.

THANK YOU! 

Once again, a heartfelt thank you to all our dedicated volunteers and supporters – particularly for helping during half-term family fun week and for supporting the Cabaret of Horrors.

SUPPORT US 

If you would like to make a contribution toward helping The Dreamland Trust to continue delivering our objectives and serve our community, please contact arcade@dreamlandmargate.co.uk. 

The Dreamland Trust is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee (06936961) working in partnership with Thanet District Council and awaiting charity status.

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DREAMLAND ARCHIVE DAY

The Dreamland Trust invites you to join us in a celebration of Dreamland’s past over a weekend of shared experiences, stories, photographs and memorabilia in partnership with the South East Archive of Seaside photography project with special guest appearance from celebrity TV antiques expert, Mark Stacey.

Dreamland in the seaside town of Margate on the South East Kent coast is the oldest surviving amusement park in the UK and home to the iconic Grade II*-listed Scenic Railway, currently undergoing restoration to its former working glory.

The Dreamland Trust is responsible for engaging people with Dreamland’s rich heritage dating back to the Great British railway boom of the early 1860s, through ‘Lord’ George Sanger’s 1870s pleasure gardens and menagerie of exotic beasts from all parts of the universe to the opening of John Henry Iles’ Cony Island inspired Dreamland in 1920.

Over the past five years, The Dreamland Trust has been working with the community to build an historic record and archive of Dreamland’s extraordinary past.

Perhaps you, or your family and friends, visited Dreamland during one of its many hey days; maybe you had your first kiss on the Caterpillar ride – a firm favourite with courting couples! There might even be some family cine film in your attic or photographs under the bed?

Did you work in Dreamland or know someone who did? Whatever your experience, whatever your story, whatever you got – we would love to meet you, see your snaps and share those treasured memories!

There is no need to book to take part. This is a free activity taking place between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 22 November 2014 and Sunday 23 November 2014 at the Dreamland Expo in the Visitor & Learning Arcade, Dreamland Cinema, Marine Terrace, Margate, Kent CT9 1JX.

 
Following the success of last year’s campaign, Explore Your Archive is back for 2014.
Explore Your Archive week 2014 www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
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DREAMLAND’S CHRISTMAS CRACKER!

The Dreamland Trust is delighted to announce Private Widdle Social Club’s Christmas Cracker fund raiser in the Arcade at Dreamland.

Christmas comes to Dreamland on Friday 19 December 2014 in the shape of a great big Cracker – PAUL FOOT!

Taking a mini-break from his UK Tour, the cult TV comic (Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Would I Lie to You, 8 Out of 10 Cats), Paul Foot, will host The Private Widdle Social Club’s Christmas Cracker show at The Arcade, Dreamland.

Paul Foot will be joined by favourites, Duo Bogof, Miss Dolly Doowop, Dickie Beau and Bobby the Organ, while a roasty, toasty musical element will be provided by Kent’s premiere alternative folk outfit, Cocos Lovers – unplugged!

So – two exclusives, never to be seen elsewhere for Widdle’s Dreamland Christmas Cracker!

Snowballs on arrival, a Christmas buffet, grand raffle prizes and Dolly’s Dance Club will be playing tunes till the small hours, making this THE Christmas Party of the Season!

Tickets available on Eventbrite from Friday 14 November 2014.

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THANK YOU!

What a fabulous half-term and cabaret we’ve had – all possible with the support of our wonderful team of volunteers!  Thank you all for helping The Dreamland Trust deliver our free family fun activities and the Cabaret of Horrors fund raiser.  We can’t do it without you 🙂

The Dreamland Trust volunteers by Dan Faulkner.

The Dreamland Trust volunteers by Dan Faulkner.

 

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OCTOBER 2014 NEWSLETTER

NEW TIMBERS FOR THE SCENIC RAILWAY!Timbers arriving at Dreamland: Dreamland Archive

Timbers arriving at Dreamland: Dreamland Archive

Such a buzz in the Dreamland Visitor and Learning Arcade this week when the new timbers for the Scenic Railway arrived in Margate.

Since our September newsletter, Dreamland’s 1920 Grade II*-listed Scenic Railway has been a hive of activity with design and build specialists, Topbond, removing the buildings and structures in, and around, the UK’s iconic historic thrill ride. Sections of the old timber have been removed (much of which is in a rotten state, and some we hope to salvage). The new wood has now been delivered to the Dreamland site.

The Dreamland Trust is working with Howard Griffin from the Kent School of Architecture to create a time lapse video of Dreamland’s evolution. Howard is uploading footage onto our YouTube channel each month. The first episode, shot two weeks ago, is now available to view, the second episode will be posted shortly – please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBUS6_s5dNw to watch this amazing transformation!

You can also follow The Dreamland Trust and Dreamland’s progress on facebook and twitter.

THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT!

Dreamland Stowaway: Dreamland Archive

Dreamland Stowaway: Dreamland Archive

As you might expect Dreamland has its fair share of ghost stories from sightings of ‘Lord’ George Sanger in the original Hall by the sea ballroom to paranormal activity in the river caves.

In the 1990s work had to be halted on the installation of a new dark ride at Dreamland, in the basement of the Grade II*-listed cinema complex. Workmen reported strange and ghostly goings on in a new version of the former Dreamland favourite, The River Caves, latterly known as the Stowaway, underneath the current Dreamland Expo in the Visitor & Learning Arcade.

Ghost Hunter, Andrew Green (1927-2004), known in the media a ‘The Spectre Inspector’ was brought in to investigate having previously hunted ghosts at the Royal Albert Hall and Battersea Park. Then followed an investigation by TV presenter of Haunted Homes and clairvoyant to the stars, Mia Dolan.

It transpired that the disturbance was being caused by the spirit of a murdered young woman who had been wrongly accused of immoral practices and was making contact with the living from beyond the grave to clear her name.

And if you watch the Dreaming of Dreamland documentary you will hear more about the spooky Stowaway ride – mwahahaha! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9KMMH6QXP0.

Schools and community

Hartsdown Pupils: Dreamland Archive

Hartsdown Pupils: Dreamland Archive

We appreciate old fashioned things like letters here at Dreamland and so when we received one from Jude McCreath in Hitchin we got very excited. He is 11 years old and has been visiting Margate every year since 2008 for his summer holidays. He wants to be an architect when he’s older and likes restoration and designing buildings. He is building a town near the sea on Minecraft that he’s trying to make look like Margate – the Turner Contemporary has already been built and he is soon tackling Dreamland.

In his words, ‘I thought that when I was older I’d bring it back to life. It seems that you’re doing it for me though! Dreamland will be amazing when it opens. To think it could have been a housing estate!’

Thanks for your support Jude and we hope to see you here soon!

The beginning of this academic term has seen us establish partnerships with local schools in the area, holding a successful teacher’s information event in the Visitor & Learning Arcade and we are now pleased to be working with 2 nurseries, 5 primary schools, 4 secondary schools and 2 other educational establishments in the lead up to Dreamland’s 2015 phase one opening.

Hartsdown Academy students in Margate have been presented with a brief to design a Dreamland postcard and another to design and build a bandstand mentored by Dreamland designers Wayne Hemingway MBE and Jack Hemingway.

In Ramsgate, Ellington and Hereson School’s Year 10 photography GCSE students met with the learning team to talk about Dreamland and Margate’s revival in advance of a trip to the Visitor & Learning arcade and Dreamland Expo after half term.

We also are proud to announce that we are now an Arts Award centre, meaning that we can offer a range of unique qualifications that support anyone up to 25 to grow as artists and arts leaders. Through Arts Award young people gain a nationally recognised qualification enabling them to progress into further education and employment. Arts Award has five levels, four of which (Explore, Bronze, Silver, Gold) are accredited qualifications on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). Arts Award Discover is an introductory level.

If you’d like to book a school trip to or hold a community activity in the Dreamland Visitor & Learning Arcade, please email Donna@dreamlandmargate.co.uk.

Who is the artist?

Dreamland wall painting: Dreamland Archive

Dreamland wall painting: Dreamland Archive

 So, two fabulous wall paintings survive at Dreamland – does anyone know who the artist is?  We’d love to meet them!  If you have any info, please email archive@dreamlandmargate.co.uk.

WHATS ON AT DREAMLAND 

halloweenfunposter

horrorcabaret poster 2[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween@theArcade

Four days of free family fun activities in the Arcade from Monday 27 October to Thursday 30 October from 12pm to 2pm. Scary stories, face painting, mask making and apple bobbing. Get a map and follow our ghost trail around Margate to claim your free spooky prize!  Free event, no need to book, just drop in!

Late@theArcade

Following the sell-out success of the launch event in July, The Private Widdle Social Club returns to Dreamland’s late@theArcade slot to entertain, thrill, chill and make you blush!

Freaks, creeps and creatures of the night are all welcome to join The Private Widdle Social Club for a Cabaret of Horrors late@theArcade Dreamland, Margate on Hallow’s Eve, Friday 31 October 2014 from 7pm through to the witching hour.

The Cabaret of Horrors is hosted by Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist, and winner of the Best Drag Act at the London Cabaret Awards 2014, La Voix, who is on a one woman mission to bring back glamour, class and sophistication back to Margate.

In the traditional cabaret style, this soiree includes the fabulous Miss Blackendecker on the Musical Saw; hybrid impersonator, Frank Sanazi; Fire Eating Miss Jones; taxidermy puppeteering, gothic poetry, music, hilarity and dancing with a twist of the macabre and bizarre.

Jugs of Bloody Mary and the Nutty Professor’s test tubes will steel your nerves whilst the Burger Bros meal in a basket will fortify the feint-hearted. The celebrated Social Club’s Amy Winehouse raffle promises to yield devilish tricks and delightful treats.

Due to demand, we have increased the VIP offer to include the Fairground Round Stall VIP enclosure as well as the ever popular VIP Whip Cars with Personal Service. Allocated tables and standing tickets also available.

For event, venue and ticket details please visit   http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/latethearcade-cabaret-of-horrors-tickets-13027302011?aff=es2&rank=1. Adult entertainment. Booking is absolute essential. Club rules: there are no rules. 

AND FINALLY…

An enormous THANK YOU to our tireless volunteers and generous supporters in particular this months special thanks goes to Peter King for assisting with refreshing the Dreamland Expo!  

SUPPORT

To make a contribution toward helping The Dreamland Trust to continue to delivering their objectives and serving the community, please contact office@dreamlandmargate.co.uk.

 

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BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES – DREAMLAND’S SCENIC RAILWAY RESTORATION WORKS NOW IN PROGRESS!

Here is a link to our time lapse video showing the restoration of Margate’s iconic Grade II*-listed Scenic Railway https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBUS6_s5dNw.

The machine house, locker room and Continental Café now removed to make way for restoring the ride’s timber structure.

Watch this space as work progresses over the next few months.

Dreamland's Grade II*-listed Scenic Railway restoration September 2014

Dreamland’s Grade II*-listed Scenic Railway restoration September 2014

 

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SEPTEMBER 2014 NEWSLETTER

SCENIC RAILWAY RESTORATION WORKS

Important people

Left to right: Cllr Iris Johnston – Leader of Thanet District Council, Glenn Springett – Managing Director Topbond, PLC Group, Susan Marsh MBE – Hon Secretary, The Dreamland Trust, Grant Burton – Capital Development Manager, Thanet District Council, Eddie Kemsley – Project Director, The Dreamland Trust, Wayne Hemingway MBE – HemingwayDesign, Grant Forwood – Site Manager, Topbond PLC Group

On Monday the 15 September 2014, work began to reinstate Britain’s oldest surviving roller coaster to its former glory.

Dreamland’s iconic Grade II*- listed Scenic Railway is now being lovingly restored by Kent based contractors, Topbond Plc. Group to be ready for Dreamland’s grand opening in 2015.

This historic ride first thrilled visitors to Margate when it opened to the public in 1920. With a track of just under one mile, speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and operated manually by a brakeman, the Scenic Railway was an instant hit carrying half a million passengers in just thirteen weeks.

Dreamland 1920 II

Scenic Railway, Dreamland 1920

The ride continued to be a massive tourism draw and enjoyed a long run until an arson attack in 2008, which destroyed approximately 25% of the ride, the railway station, work sheds and trains. The Dreamland Trust and Thanet District council have secured Heritage Lottery Funding to restore and preserve this important part of British amusement park heritage.

Scenic engine shed

After an initial recording of the building and structure for historic purposes, the dismantling of the buildings and structures, commencing with the motor house (as seen in James Henderson’s images above), will follow a phased programme.

Restoration will include the replacement of the foundations on which the newly fabricated timber trusses will be erected. Secondary timber structures will then be fixed to the main structure. All the works will systematically follow the scenic in a clockwise direction.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Iris Johnston said, ‘It is very exciting to see work start on Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster. The Scenic Railway is synonymous with Dreamland and the Council is very proud to be leading the way, breathing life into Dreamland once again.”

Eddie Kemsley, Project Director at Dreamland, said “This is an important milestone in Dreamland’s history and is symbolic of the enormous achievement of the Dreamland Trust’s ‘Save Dreamland’ campaign. Work on the Scenic Railway is one of many crucial steps in our work towards opening a re-imagined Dreamland”.

During the re-building works, The Dreamland Trust will continue to host an exhibition on Dreamland’s history and future. The Dreamland Expo: a past, present and future, describes the revival of Dreamland – one of the UK’s best loved amusement parks.

Ahead of the anticipated 2015 opening, multi-disciplinary award-winning designers, HemingwayDesign led by Wayne Hemingway MBE, Gerardine Hemingway MBE and Jack Hemingway are working to create a re-imagined Dreamland as a unique vintage-style amusement park featuring restored historic thrill rides, classic side shows and destination dining set within a landscape capable of hosting national festivals and major events.

The new Dreamland will be a visual and sensual delight, delivered by creative thinkers and designers ensuring every nook and cranny is touched by the hands of artists and artisans. With a creative use of up-cycled amusement park artefacts and fairground paraphernalia creating an immersive, timeless environment.

Meanwhile, the Dreamland Expo is open free to the public at the weekends from 10am to 5pm and available during the week for pre-booked school visits, groups and community activities.

For more information visit the website at www.dreamlandmargate.co.uk or email arcade@dreamlandmargate.co.uk or telephone 01843 297755.

CALLING ALL ARTISTS, MAKERS AND DESIGNERS

We’re about to embark on a large-scale community up-cycling project to help us interpret Dreamland’s rich heritage from its origins in the early 1860s railway boom to Victorian circus and pleasure gardens, 1920s modernist era through to the birth of British Youth Culture in the 1950s and the park’s heydays during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

We will be up-cycling a selection amusement park content and light installations, donated by Blackpool Illuminations, to create evocative set dressing, public realm and fill every nook and cranny of the reimagined Dreamland with visual serendipity and stunning photo opportunities.

In addition to these donations, Dreamland has, for the past year, been building a collection of fairground artefacts and paraphernalia from around the UK.

We will also salvaging material from the rides and park restoration process including ride parts and timbers from Dreamland’s iconic Grade II*-listed Scenic Railway.

If you would like to offer some time and your creative skills to help with this amazing project please contact the Up-cycling Project Manager, Ben Morton at ben@dreamlandmargate.co.uk or telephone directly on 07973 523 745.

GAMING@THEARCADE & THE EXHIBITION OF LOST CABINETS

All inherited resources which people value for reasons beyond mere utility: English Heritage website

lost cabinets

Coin-operated videogame arcade machines were the domination of many a youth’s pastime in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Who would have thought back then that these games would now be considered an integral part of our cultural heritage!

As gaming and home entertainment evolved, videogame arcades became less popular with many of their machines being lost from the historic record. So we were delighted when Dr Alan Meades of Canterbury Christ Church University contacted us earlier this year to say that he believed he had made a significant find of rare and unusual videogame cabinets deep within the Dreamland vaults.

Dr Meades has now catalogued and assessed the collection and will be presenting an exhibition of the lost cabinets in the Dreamland Visitor & Learning Arcade at the weekends from Saturday 27 September 2014.

Exhibition of the Lost Cabinets presentation by Dr Meades will take place at 6pm on Friday 26 September 2014 followed by a celebratory event of gaming with pizza and beer from 7pm to10pm also on Friday 26 September 2014 – tickets £5 available on the door.

Dr Meades has studied and written extensively on the subject and produced the paper below for our newsletter.

Dreamlands: Arcade Culture by Dr Alan Meades                       

I grew up on the East-Kent coast twenty-five years after the summer of the Mods and Rockers, so famously captured in British Pathé’s Whitsun Playtime news report. The film presents ‘longhaired youngsters …waiting apparently for someone to start something’, and the eventual descent into an ‘orgy of hooliganism,’ erupting on the doorstep of Dreamland’s Bali-Hai bar. What is curious to me is the difference between the events presented in Whitsun Playtime and my adolescent experiences in the same place separated by a quarter of a century. What I experienced, and what I now research, is Arcade Culture, how people grew up in and around videogame arcades, and the communities and behaviours these spaces enabled, including the arcade that the Bali-Hai bar was eventually turned into. I would argue that videogame arcades were one of the very last spaces in which young people could go about their business largely unregulated, and can be seen as an important transition between the youth culture of the Mods and Rockers, and of that of today.

Growing up during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bemboms, and by extension, Margate seafront, existed in two modes: the short, colourful, hot, energetic summer season; and the long, grey, drizzly months either side of the holidays. We always visited Bemboms a couple of times each year – often after carnivals where discount cards were generously distributed from the Bemboms bus – as locals, but our trips on the Looping Star, The Mary Rose, or The Scenic Railway, were an occasional treat. Even with the huge crowds, visits to Bemboms were public, we’d bump into school friends, acquaintances, and family, and all too often, on returning home would be informed that we’d been seen by someone while we were getting up to no good. For me, Bemboms, Marine Parade, and the sands were therefore excruciatingly public spaces. In those adolescent years this visibility felt both stifling and embarrassing, and like every adolescent I clamoured for spaces beyond the judgemental adult gaze where we could simply be – and for me and my friends videogame arcades offered this invisibility. 

Videogame arcades were largely free from adults, entirely free from mothers, and mostly free from the utterly perplexing influence of teenage girls. Instead boys could congregate, play videogames, plan adventures, form allegiances, oppositions, scuffle, and be free. Whatever the season, whatever the weather, the arcades were open, welcoming, and electric, and we found camaraderie and meaning through the adventures and experiences we shared upon videogame screens. 

We raced Ferrari Testarossas in Sega’s Out Run, weaving through traffic in Coconut Beach and Devil’s Canyon, a digital blonde girlfriend by our side – until the car inevitably crashed and flipped. I remember Bemboms had a deluxe Out Run machine, and each time someone climbed into the huge, sit-down game, a crowd would form. As it lurched and shifted during turns, we would nod in mute support at good players, or share smirks and the odd heckle to those who were bad and did not belong. Elsewhere we zapped alien Space Invaders, chomped power pills and ghosts in Pac Man, doled out rough justice to Mad Gear gang members in Final Fight, and smacked down cocky opponents in Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat. With every credit we used we built reputations as better players and felt more at home in the arcades, building and sharing knowledge about strategies, cheats or lame moves, and developing an awareness of the risks and dangers of the arcade space itself and its other residents. It is important to point out that the spaces, freedoms and experiences depicted in the games felt as meaningful and urgent as those in real-life spaces. In turn we used our experiences of videogames as ways of thinking and making sense of everyday adult life. I’ve continued this relationship with videogames ever since my experiences in those videogame arcades, and I’ve a strong suspicion that many others of my generation have too.

For me Bemboms offered distinct spaces that enabled different groups to do different things: there was the amusement park itself, full of families, friends and girls, where you were always seen; there were the videogame arcades, frequented and dominated by adolescent boys, largely free from interruption; and then there were the digital spaces and landscapes that existed on game screens and in our imaginations.

By the late 1990s however, largely due to the development of more powerful home videogame systems, videogame arcades became less popular. In the same way that videogames had replaced pinball machines in the 1980s, arcades began replacing videogames with more profitable fruit machines and ticket redemption games where players swapped prize tokens for trinkets like stuffed toys. As the makeup of the arcade changed it no longer offered the invisibility it previously had – ticket redemption brought families, children, adults and girls, and as fruit machine stakes were raised the gambling took on a more serious adult tone. With the influx of adults I believe adolescent boys returned to the confines of their bedrooms and invisible digital meeting spaces.

Looking back at those days, twenty years removed, I can begin to see the arcade spaces for what they were. Firstly, videogame arcades were some of the very last spaces where adolescent boys could congregate and socialise without from interruption and the judgement of adult society. Secondly, they represent a way that digital technologies were introduced to people, where with a few 10p coins anyone could experience the pleasures and potential of computing. And, finally, videogame arcades can be seen as a key point marking the shift from physical adolescent play spaces to digital ones – the move from youths congregating on Margate main sands or Dreamland …waiting apparently for someone to start something’ to now congregating on Facebook, Xbox Live or Twitter.

Videogame arcades are socially, culturally and historically important points in the development of youth culture, serving as a connection between the open confrontation of the Mods and Rockers in Whitsun Playtime and the pokes, Trolls, and memes of youth culture today. I am currently working with Dreamland to explore arcade culture, including the intended restoration and archival of arcade videogame machines (including that Out Run deluxe).

If you would be interested in contributing, if you have stories about videogame arcades, or even arcade components, PCBs or cabs, please do get in touch at arcade@dreamlandmargate.co.uk.

WHATS ON

gaming

Gaming@theArcade

Presentation of the Lost Cabinets by Dr Alan Meades 6pm followed by gaming, Pizza and Beer from 7pm to 10pm Friday 26 September 2014 – tickets £5 on the door

Exhibition of the Lost Cabinets

Dreamland’s lost cabinets on public exhibition from Saturday 27 September 2014 every weekend between 10am-5pm. Free entry.

Halloween@theArcade

Four days of free family fun activities in the Arcade from Monday 27 October to Thursday 30 October from 12pm to 2pm. Scary stories, face painting, mask making and apple bobbing. Get a map and follow our ghost trail around Margate to claim your free spooky prize!  No need to book, just drop in!

Late@theArcade: Cabaret of Horrors

Following the sell-out success and back by popular demand – The Private Widdle Social Club returns to the Arcade to entertain, thrill and make you blush!

The Cabaret of Horror hosted by the exuberant La Voix and supported by an abundance of Widdle talent from Miss Blackendecker on the Musical Saw; hybrid impersonator, Frank Sanazi; the fabulous Fire Eating Miss Jones, taxidermy puppeteering, gothic poetry, Jugs of Bloody Mary, the Nutty Professor’s test tubes, meals in a basket, peculiar raffle and more!

VVIP fairground round stall enclosure, VIP Whip Cars, allocated tables and standing tickets all now available at latacabarethorror.eventbrite.co.uk.  Adult entertainment. Booking is absolute essential. Club rules: there are no rules.

horrorcabaret

AND FINALLY… 

At the end of a fantastic summer season, with over 30,000 visitors to the Visitor & Learning Arcade, The Dreamland Trust would like to thank all our volunteers for their time, talent, skills and commitment and our dedicated supporters for their contributions and resources. Our special thanks go to Peter King, Neil Sutcliff and Kapo – thanks guys 🙂

The Dreamland Visitor & Learning Arcade autumn opening times are now 10am until 5pm every Saturday and Sunday.

The Arcade is open mid-week for pre-arranged school visits, groups, community activities, presentations and celebrations. Contact arcade@dreamlandmargate.co.uk for more information.

DONATIONS

To make a contribution toward rebuilding Dreamland for future generations, please email office@dreamlandmargate.co.uk.

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AUTUMN 2014 PROGAMME & OPENING TIMES

After a hugely successful summer season, in which we have seen over 25,000 visitors to the Visitor and Learning Arcade, the Dreamland Expo will remain open to the public at the weekends between 10am and 5pm throughout the autumn and winter season, and open every day during October half term for family fun and Halloween capers.

 

BIG BUSK

Saturday 6 September

Free event between 11am and 3pm

 

ENGLISH HERITAGE OPEN DAYS

11-13 September Hourly tours from 11am – 3pm

A guided tour of Dreamland’s iconic 1934 Grade II*-listed cinema complex and famous amusement park and heritage assets.

 

Free event. Booking absolutely essential by telephone 01843 297755 or email arcade@dreamlandmargate.co.uk – places are limited and on a first come first served basis.

 

Please be aware that due to the age and condition of the site there is limited access via stairs only. Please ensure you wear sensible outdoor shoes and clothing.  No smoking, eating or drinking allowed. H&S briefing will be given before tours.

GAMING@THEARCADE

 

26 September 6pm-7pm Free event

Illustrated talk on arcade culture and the exhibition of the lost cabinets by Dr A F Meades, Senior Lecturer in New Media Theory Canterbury Christ Church University

 

26 September 7pm-10pm An evening of gaming, pizza and beer £5 on the door

 

Free exhibition open to the public Saturday 27 September and Sunday 28 September and Saturday 4 October and Sunday 5 October

LATE@THE ARCADE CABARET OF HORRORS

31 October 7pm – mid-night

 

Back by popular demand and following a sell-out success – The Private Widdle Social Club returns to the Arcade with the vivacious La Voix and an eclectic mix of music, exuberant dancing, raffle, jugs of Bloody Mary, the nutty professor’s test tube shots and meals in a basket.

 

VIP Round Stall and VIP Whip Car tickets available from the Arcade Saturdays and Sundays, and allocated seating and standing tickets available on the Eventbrite webstie from Friday 12 September 2014.  Book early to avoid disappointment. Club rules, there are no rules.

OCTOBER HALF TERM – free family fun and Halloween capers in the Arcade. Further details to follow – watch this space!

 

Throughout the autumn and winter months, the Arcade will be available for pre-booked school visits, community activities, student projects, research, presentations and tours – for details and more information please email arcade@dreamlandmargate.co.uk or telephone 01843 297755

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