Monday, 19 August 2019

Thanet's Minature Steam Railways and Ramsgate's Pleasurama

 When it comes to raising miniature steam in historic Thanet Margate takes the lead with one miniature railway at Dreamland
 sadly log gone
 it would seem trailered away in a bit of a state
 And one up Margate Harbour Wall
 I don't know if the two were related in some way
 There were still remains in the 1970s when I worked at Dreamland as a sort of mechanic
 no sign of the on on the harbour arm though
 There were several concrete bridges still at Dreamland
You can see one in this picture

 Here in Ramsgate we used to have the narrow gauge tunnel railway from Dumpton Park to the seafront, but that was electric and not steam.
 As far as I know we only had and still have one steam one in Ellington Park.
 On to Pleasurama.
 I'ts been a long long time and nothing ever seems to happen with this one.
 My understanding is that the council's contract has a long stop date of January 2020 and theoretically TDC may do something then.
 There is lots of speculation at different time about work starting
My take is still that while the flood risk and ongoing effects of rising sea levels may be a technicality that would make it very difficult without a proper flood risk assessment, which I don't think it has.

Say it was developed as flats, how would you get a mortgage or insurance?

The real issue is the cliff facade
 forget the blue perimetersand consider the cliff face between the 2 red bits the lift and Augusta stairs

Yellow portals I would guess this bit was built between 1940 and 1970

Green arches built I think in the 1930s

Purple brick built in the 1860s
 On the right of this picture you have the portals, these were well built after a huge cliff collapse there in 1937

Left is the portal section with the flat concrete above, the work you can see being done in about 2010 was putting a huge patch over a bit that had become dangerous, the whole portal bit is a bit of mess
  The bit they are paining here is part of the 1860 structure built around the main line railway tunnel entrance, the other half of this bit collapsed in 1950s

I think the main issue is not so much when a development will start, but if anyone will ever build residential accommodation under this cliff.

Meanwhile here at Michael's Bookshop we are beavering away building some more bookcases and putting out more books.

Link to pictures of today's books 

 This is a picture of one of the 1950s Pleasurama cliff collapses
and this one below the same collapse is of firemen digging through the rubble looking for anyone buried under it, fortunately no one was there at the time, I think this would be a bit of a different situation with homes built under it 


  1. Huge respect to you Michael you keep coming up with the goods which I enjoy immensely

  2. Dreamland had 3 miniature railway lines in its history. The first in the 20s was a closed loop around the South East corner of the expanding park with a single station on the North East section (as seen to be named 'Park Station' in some of the earliest photos).

    Before long expansion of rides and facilities in that area forced removal of the loop and a new line was built from the existing station, under a new concrete tunnel and around the boundaries on the South East to South West of the park. The line then passed between the rear of Sanger's indoor menagerie building (sadly destroyed in WWII, the remaining ruins of which eventually removed in the 1970s) and the neighbouring mock ruin folly structure that once (until the 1970s or earlier...?) terminated the unused LCDR junction between the main line embankment and the (also unused) 'Sands' embankment. From there, the line then ran on a straight below that 'Sands' embankment and terminated to little fair just before the Dreamland Ballroom.

    The final line was much the same as the later but the former station was filled in and relocated further East where the fancy new terminus including a switching junction and new bridge was built. The new Buffet building built in the 30s then fronted the line running sandwiched between the boundary fences of neighbouring residences.

    The third line is the most remembered incarnation and it is rather sad that it was eventually given the axe for progress in the 70s, when much of the old features and landscaping from LCDR and Sangers time started to disappear... notably demolition by Bembom of additional cages and the significant folly/cage structure that once towered over the main line railway embankment (now in-filled with modern block work, unfortunately and part of the current landscaped/developed VIP area). The last of the old 'Sands' embankment effectively disappeared when Godden took over in the mid 90s along with Sangers cottage adjoining the Dreamland Ballroom and some of the wall. The remaining wall, folly and cages were left abandoned behind fences and vegetation.

  3. Thanks for the heads up Unknown, I do try to post something most days and it has become partly a habit that fits easily around work in the bookshop, particularly local history publishing.

    Thanks for the info Bob Smith, my Margate history isn’t very good.


Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.