The name ‘Dreamland’ has been synonymous with Margate for nearly 100 years and has provided enjoyment for millions of people during that time. In 1989 the BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses filmed their Christmas Special ‘The Jolly boys Outing’ which included the cast riding on many of Dreamlands well known rides including the Scenic Railway. However, during the 1990s and 2000s the popularity of cheap foreign holidays meant that the site became financially unviable. The owners took the decision to close the site and planned to build houses on it. The original idea was a retail park.
In April 2002 following a successful campaign to ensure the future of the Scenic Railway it received Grade II Listing. The Save Dreamland Campaign was set up in 2003 to ensure the future of Dreamland. The Dreamland Trust was part of the campaign to save Dreamland and worked with Thanet District Council and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust to secure funding to save the amusement park and the Dreamland buildings.
In 2013 Thanet District Council compulsory purchased the site to ensure the land and buildings could not be used for a retail park or housing, but rather to reinstate the pleasure park and other facilities that had once run on the site.
The project to reopen all areas of the site is a huge undertaking in terms of time and money. But through public and private funding the council is working hard towards having all elements of the site up and running.
The Dreamland site includes a range of different areas and buildings all of which have a unique and important role in Margate’s past and future.