Located on the breezy coast of Margate, Kent, there's been amusements in the town since Victorian times, when showman George Sanger built the 'Hall By The Sea' indoor attraction and gardens on the site of the current Dreamland. One of the more notable attractions was a bear that was taken to the beach every day for a walk.
In 1880 small amusement rides were installed on the site, with a large skating rink following in 1893, and in 1919, John Henry Iles bought up the site, renaming it 'Dreamland,' after a theme park in Coney Island, New York.
In the 1920s, Iles built the Scenic Railway, a mile-long construction of Canadian pine and Douglas, as well as a smaller roller coaster, the Joy Wheel, Miniature Railway, The Whip and the River Caves.
The skating rink was replaced by a ballroom in 1920, with the Variety Cinema following three years later. In 1934, Iles built a replacement cinema near to the entrance to Dreamland, and the 'Dreamland Cinema' still sands.
The 1970s saw the park expanding, and in 1981 the site was purchased by the Bembom Brothers, who rather immodestly renamed it the 'Bembom Brothers White Knuckle Theme Park'.
Photo of the 'Rotor' ride in action from around 1980. [pic: handyman]
Thankfully, the park reverted to the name Dreamland in 1990 after it was sold to the notorious 'amusement park king' and entrepreneur, Mr Jimmy Godden.
The amusemement park was finally closed down in 2005, three years after the Scenic Railway had been granted Grade II listed status.
Mr Godden seems a singularly unfortunate chap, with many of his funfair acquisitions suffering mysterious arson attacks, and the same fate was to befall him on April 7, 2008 when a fire destroyed much of the Scenic Railway.
However, there is a happy end to this story, with Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company now working with The Dreamland Trust to redevelop the site as the world's first amusement park of historic rides, with the centrepiece being a fully restored Scenic Railway.
Neon sign advertising the pleasure park.
Entrance to the old Pleasure Park.
Detail of the entrance sign, which looks to be slowly falling apart.
The amusement arcade at the front of the funfair remains open.
The striking architecture facing the sea front, with 'Dreamland' written in neon along the side of the tower.
The cinema opened in 1935 and closed in 2007.
The shops surrounding Dreamland are almost all closed.
Boarded up ice cream parlour.
One of the few shops left open is the Joke Shop.
Painted on the side of the Dreamland building is the evocative phrase, "Dreamland welcomes you."
A huge multi-story car park was built to accommodate visitors to Dreamland, and is a short walk from the pleasure park.
Dreamland seen from the top floor of the multi storey car park.
Sign seen from the empty car park adjacent to the old Pleasure Park.
Sign and caravan.
Entrance to the run down car park.
Huge empty spaces at the Dreamland car park. In the distance you can see the remains of the Scenic Railway ride.
Old entrance to the Pleasure Park from the car park.
Looking at the Scenic Railway through the railings of the multi storey car park.
Overall view of the Scenic Railway. You can see the missing 'chunk' of the ride to the right (behind the tree).
Close up revealing the space where the middle section of the Scenic Railway was.
Detail of the ride.
Empty car park. Not a place to tarry!
The horrendously ugly tower block adjacent to the equally grim car park.