The Dreamland Story
About the Dreamland Trust
The Dreamland Trust is a charity and a member of the Independent Museums Association
The Trust originated the idea of reopening Dreamland as the world's first amusement
park of historic rides. Working with the Prince’s Regeneration Trust,
English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Thanet District Council,
it secured £18m funding to restore Dreamland and its jewels: the Grade
II*-listed Scenic Railway, Grade II*-listed cinema complex and Grade
II-listed menagerie cages.
The Trust is responsible for the vision of a reimagined Dreamland, executed by the award-winning multi-disciplinary designer, Wayne Hemingway MBE and the HemingwayDesign team.
The role of The Dreamland Trust is to conserve and promote Dreamland’s rich heritage, the Historic Rides Collection and the Archive, through a comprehensive programme of schools activities, learning, engagement, volunteering, training and interpretation opportunities.
with Nick Laister
Nick Laister, Chairman and co-founder of the Dreamland Trust from 2007 to 2016, speaks here about the campaign that saved Dreamland Amusement Park from closure, and reimagined its future as the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides.
Our vision is of a thriving Dreamland in Margate, which engages local partners and the local community in its work. We want Dreamland to be recognised nationally and internationally for the place it holds in the history of amusement parks and the development of popular (especially British seaside) culture throughout the ages.
The Dreamland Trust exists to protect and promote the heritage, education, historic and brand proposition of Dreamland in Margate and safeguard them for the future.
To achieve this vision, The Dreamland Trust, a registered charity, will work with Dreamland’s operator and other key partners to ensure the:
- preservation, restoration, maintenance and protection of the cinema, structures, plant, equipment and artefacts connected to Dreamland Margate, which are of historic, cultural, architectural, constructional or scientific interest, or exhibit craftsmanship worthy of preservation.
- promotion of public knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the historic and cultural aspects of Dreamland Margate and the area in which it is situated.
- promotion of public access to the structures and equipment and public knowledge, appreciation and understanding of their architectural, constructional, scientific and craft features.
- advancement of education associated with Dreamland Margate and its surrounding area.
- building of a community of advocates and supporters.
- preservation and development of the brand values of the whole site.
Board of Trustees
Bernie Morgan owns Bernie's Chocolate Bar, which overlooks the beach in Margate. She also runs a business consultancy, which specialises in growth, investment and impact for charities and social enterprises. Prior to this Bernie was CEO of Responsible Finance and led the development of the UK's responsible finance industry. In this role she raised over £85m of investment into businesses in the UK's most disadvantaged communities. She is a trustee of RBS Social and Community Capital and a board member of Sustainability Connections CIC and Margate Bookie. She became Chair of the Trust in July 2016.
Founding Patron and Chair 2007-2016
Nick is a co-founder of the Dreamland Trust and was its first chair. He also founded the Save Dreamland Campaign in 2003 and was instrumental in securing listed building status for the Scenic Railway. He developed the idea of an amusement park of historic rides, and organised the rescue of numerous rides from amusement parks that were closing down in the pre-2008 property boom. He attended two public inquiries and secured the protection of Dreamland in the Local Plan. Nick is a Chartered Town Planner and Director at one of the UK's largest planning consultancies. He works extensively within the visitor attractions industry, advising several UK and international theme park operators on planning and development matters. Nick is also an author, founder of the website joylandbooks.com, and owner of Fairytale Farm, a visitor attraction in Oxfordshire.
Susan Marsh MBE
Susan became actively involved in the Save Dreamland Campaign in 2003 and undertook the advocacy for the Local Plan Public Inquiry. Susan brings extensive knowledge and experience of community involvement in planning matters, equality and diversity, not for profit companies, charities and education.
Emma is Managing Director of Heart Radio in Kent, part of the UK’s premier radio company, Global, which also delivers Classic FM, LBC, Capital, XFM, Gold, Capital Xtra and Smooth. Heart works with Kent's major tourist attractions on and off air and, having decades of family from Kent, Emma is passionate about seeing Dreamland open and longs to relive childhood holiday memories.
Stephanie is the Founder and Director of Sustainability Connections CIC and a Director of Orchard Community Energy. She specialises in project design and delivery, community engagement, training and facilitation. Stephanie brings over 20 years experience working on environmental and social impact projects, including Environment Manager at British Airways Plc, working with SMEs, charities, social enterprises, business support organisations and local government. Stephanie lives in Folkestone.
Marcus Chrysostomou is the owner of Equilibrium PR - a public relations, content marketing and public affairs consultancy in Whitstable. He also lectures on PR at Canterbury Christchurch University, is an IoD Kent Brand Ambassador and co-hosts a weekly Internet radio show called the UK Brand Show. He has over 20 years of experience in PR and Marketing, after starting his career in the Downing Street Press Office. He has also worked in other government departments, was Head of External Communications at Kent County Council and an Account Director at another agency.
Andrew is a partner and heads up the litigation team at Thanet and Canterbury solicitors Boys and Maughan, which has been based in Margate for over 200 years. He has worked in Thanet for close to 25 years and been associated with the Trust since 2009. Firmly rooted in Thanet’s business community, Andrew has been a Director of the Thanet and East Kent Chamber of Commerce and retains close ties with the Chamber. He has also been a member and past Chairman of Margate Round Table, through which he has been involved in local fund raising and community activities.
Chartered Architect and principal of Roger Joyce Associates since 1977; on the AABC register. Roger is a member of the Executive Committee of the Kent Building Preservation Trust, and has been a Civic Trust Assessor since 2009.
Iain Aitch is a Margate-born writer, creative consultant and artist, who is the author of two books and contributor to a dozen more. He was artist-in-residence with Dreamland, Turner Contemporary and Kent County Council in 2011, with a youth culture project about memories of the town and Dreamland itself. Iain has written extensively about Margate and especially Dreamland, where his grandfather was an engineer. He is currently working on a visual history of Margate beauty queens, which will culminate in a book and exhibition sometime in 2018. He lives in east London.
John Cripps first became involved with the Trust in 2013 when he worked on an exhibition of works by Walpole Champneys’, an interior designer employed by Dreamland. He has had a connection with Dreamland since 1976, when he was a DJ in the Galleon Tavern, and has many happy memories of the time. He is delighted to see Dreamland open once more, and promises to do as much as possible to keep the timeline of Dreamland and all its stories for the next generation.
Paul is principal of East Kent College's Broadstairs campus - a leading further education provider, rated 'good' overall, with five 'outstanding' gradings by regulator, Ofsted. He has lived on the isle for 20 years and studied catering at the former Thanet College before forging a successful career working as a fine dining chef in the UK and in France. He returned to the college in 2002 to teach, was promoted to director of education, and then appointed principal of the college. Paul has many magical childhood memories of Dreamland and is passionate about its success and its role in establishing Margate as a top tourist destination.
Mick has lived in Margate all his life, training as an electrical engineer when he left school. Mick’s interest in Dreamland began in the mid 1950s, when he would visit with his parents, mainly to see the Thursday night fireworks display. Later, he became a model maker and animator for the park, eventually moving into a management role as advertising and promotions manager. He been the town’s mayor twice and was awarded the Honour of Burgess of Margate in 2011 in recognition of his work in promoting the town. He hopes that his long involvement and deep knowledge of the park will benefit the Trust.
Jill Hunt, Development Manager Jill was Communications Director with Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust. She was with the charity for 11 years through a period of great innovation, change and growth. Jill previously worked for 13 years for the Kent Messenger Group in advertising, marketing and newspaper sales. She has fond memories of seaside trips to Margate and visiting Dreamland as a child and, in later years, taking her children there when her parents moved to the area in 1984. Her recollections of the traditional seaside town have inspired her enthusiasm to see Dreamland grow as a historical amusement park, and encourage the cultural and educational heritage of the park.
Neil has a degree in financial services and worked in the financial sector for some time before taking a career change to work on radio for stations across the UK, latterly broadcasting on the Drive time show on Heart FM. He went back into the financial sector in 2017 but can still occasionally be heard on regional radio stations in Kent. Neil has lived in Birchington for 10 years with his wife Rebekah and their 2 young sons.
Adem was born and raised in Margate. He is passionate about the regeneration of the area and the benefits it will bring to Margate and the wider community of Thanet. He has worked in the private sector, more recently in local government and currently with the NHS. Adem has also worked in tourism promoting Margate across Kent and London. He has a first class honours degree in business from Canterbury Christ Church University and is currently doing a postgraduate degree. As a child, Adem visited Dreamland and has many fond memories of the amusement park. He is excited to see the continued success of Dreamland.
THE DREAMLAND STORY
From the 1920s until today, discover the story behind Kent’s most iconic theme park.
Just before Christmas 1919, and almost exactly one year after the end of the Great War, John Henry Iles purchased Margate’s The Hall By The Sea.
Give someone a pencil, ask them to draw a Margate building and the chances are that they will come up with an interpretation of the wonderful Art Deco-style cinema on the sea front.
The first half of Dreamland’s 1940s was, of course, dominated by the war effort on the home front and overseas.
The arrival of the 1950s marked a new era of hope and of leisure after the austerity of the war years.
Seen by many as the golden era for Dreamland, the 1960s were very much a classic time for the site.
Dreamland began the 1970s under new ownership, in the shape of the rather uninspiring-sounding Associated Leisure Entertainments Ltd.
Dreamland gave Margate yet another iconic structure in 1980, in the shape of the new Big Wheel, which stood proud of the clock tower at 180-feet high.
Dreamland got its rightful name back in 1990, when the Bembom Brothers decided that a minor revamp would be best promoted by the name...
Rumours of closure, demolition and a potential change of owners were all rife as the new millennium was ushered in...
After many years of campaigning to save the Dreamland site from redevelopment, and successful funding bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund...