Thursday, 5 March 2009


Thanet district Council press release

A set of historic menagerie enclosures and cages on the former Dreamland site has been listed Grade II, following an application from Thanet District Council.

The listing by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been made on the grounds that “pleasure ground-related structures are very rare, and early animal cages are exceptionally so.” The recommendation also goes on to say that “Margate is a very significant seaside resort, and Dreamland was its principal attraction (after the seaside). This survival from the complex’s early years is an important reminder of the resort’s history and of the evolution of mass leisure.”

The site was used as the pleasure grounds of the “Hall by the Sea” and was taken over in 1874 by “Lord” George Sanger, a noted travelling circus manager. It went on to become one of the principal attractions in Margate, featuring a menagerie and a lion-tamer.

Sanger retired in 1905 and the menagerie was re-opened in 1913, when lions and bears were recorded as having occupied the cages. A zoo continued to operate on the site from the 1920s to the 1950s. ‘Lord’ George, and other members of the Sanger family, are buried in Margate Cemetery.

Located close to the main railway line, the remains include three lion cages with steel bars set into stone and with low entrances for the animals.

Cllr. John Kirby, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and Ramsgate Marina, said: “This listing is excellent news and ensures that these enclosures and cages will now be preserved for future generations. We all know that Dreamland is an important and much loved part of Margate and it is encouraging to see that being recognised in the reasons that the government has given for listing these structures.”


  1. Good news indeed (even in Margate iron & stone cages aren't likely to "accidentally" burn down!).

  2. Peter we have had a few cases recently of grade 2 listed structures having conservation work done that has resulted in their demolition, so I wouldn’t count your chickens.


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