Dreamland, Margate – The Funshine Capital of the South-East
(Includes Video Link)
Dreamland Amusement Park dates from 1863 when buildings opened as a restaurant and dance hall. Known then as the ‘Hall by the Sea’, the business was sold in about 1870. Circus Boss ‘Lord’ George Sanger eventually became the sole proprietor of the site together with further adjacent land to the rear. A menagerie and circular riding machines were some of the early features of the Pleasure Gardens. Following Sanger’s death in 1911, the site was subsequently acquired in 1919 by amusement entrepreneur John H. Illes. He renamed the site ‘Dreamland’ after visiting the Dreamland Amusement Park at Coney Island, Brooklyn NY. The Illes family already owned and operated amusement facilities both here and abroad. The first new major adult riding machine was opened to the public in 1920. The ‘Scenic Railway’ was a flanged wheel coaster with an on-board brakeman. This ‘Call-Bird’ of a ride was soon joined by a host of other juvenile and adult riding machines, supported by other attractions over the years such as the ‘Wall of Death’. The Illes family remained in control of Dreamland until 1968. There followed a number of owners, each with their own ideas for cementing the future of this amusement park. Eventually the site was sold to the Town Centre Regeneration Company in 2005 when its’ gates were finally closed to the public. A plan to restore the Park to its’ former glory has already received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Classic riding machines have been donated from vatious sources to the Dreamland Trust. Let us hope that this Amazement Park will again thrill and entertain three generations of the family.
To view the video, ”DREAMLAND Margate – Recalling its HEYDAY – The FUNSHINE Capital of the South-East”
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