The Brutalist Sixties’ block that towers over the Helter Skelter, Big Wheel and Scenic Railway of Margate’s Dreamland makes for a distinctly British seaside scene. And a fitting backdrop to a pleasure park that takes its theme from the good, bad and ugly of its own social history.
Inspired by American amusement parks, the ‘UK’s original pleasure park’ dates back to the early 1920s and has seen as many ups and downs as its Grade-II listed railway ride.
Requisitioned to treat injured troops evacuated from Dunkirk in the Forties, a hangout for teenage Teddy Boys and Girls in the Fifties and top music venue throughout the swinging Sixties, it changed hands, names and directions several times before slowing to a grinding halt at the end of the 20th century.
In the early Noughties the Save Dreamland Campaign was founded to combat commercial redevelopment, only to suffer more setbacks in the form to two devastating fires. Yet after successful Lottery and Government funding bids its upward trajectory was back on track by 2010, and given a turbo boost as Wayne Hemingway MBE took the helm of the rebrand in 2012.
As is his MO, Midcentury-mad Hemingway has drawn on the optimism of post-war era Dreamland to inject the project with Festival of Britain-inspired positivity.Read the full story »
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