AN expanded and updated edition of a popular book recounting the history of Margate’s Dreamland amusement park is now back on booksellers’ shelves.
Dreamland Remembered, by Whitstable journalist Nick Evans, has been published in time to mark the 90th anniversary of John Henry Iles purchasing the site in November 1919. JH Iles took over the existing Hall By The Sea, a seafront dance hall and pleasure garden, originally opened in the 1860s by circus showman ‘Lord’ George Sanger, initially renaming it Dreamland Hall before opening the famous amusement park to the public on July 3 1920.
The book traces the story from its beginnings, through the ups and downs of the 20th century, to the present day with hopes high of securing multi-million pound grant funding to help create the country’s first heritage theme park.
High points in the Dreamland story include the immediate success of the famed Scenic Railway, building of the cinema and ballroom complex in the 1930s, the importance of beanfeast outings as well later changes in ownership, method of operation and the park’s decline in recent years.
Nick Evans said: “I first published my book in 2003 and I’m delighted it has since become regarded as the definitive history of Dreamland. With all that has happened since and what is being planned for its future, I felt this was the right time to bring the book up to date.
“This new edition boasts a lot more historical detail than the earlier versions as well as featuring dozens of new photographs, some of which are in colour.
“At the beginning of 2008, I was fortunate enough to be given access to Margate Museum’s collection of photographs and many are included in this 90th anniversary edition. Of course, the museum has, sadly, since closed so I’m very glad I made the effort at the time.
“Many more photographs and much of the information come from my own extensive collection of Dreamland material, saved by my late father Bill Evans in 1981.
“A freelance journalist like me, he was Dreamland’s press officer for much of the 1970s and was given original posters, photos and brochures by the outgoing management as they made way for new owners, the Bembom Brothers. He gave some of these items to Margate Museum and it was ironic to see his handwriting on a few of the photos as I worked on them last year.”
More recent information and pictures from the late 1990s have come from a collection held by another former park publicist, journalist (and now distinguished editor of the Whitstable Times) John Nurden.
Dreamland Remembered contains 240 photographs, around half of which are shown in print for the first time, spread over 128 pages. Of these, 30 pages are in colour.The book costs £15.99 and is available at local bookshops around Thanet and east Kent.
Ed. I have copies of this book in stock in my bookshop here in Ramsgate.
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