Welcome to Margate's Dreamland

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Margate to get a Blackpool-style makeover
Margate to get a Blackpool-style makeover

A derelict seaside funfair in Kent is being transformed into a heritage theme park using Blackpool's famous illuminations.

Fountains, snowflakes, angels and devils will adorn seafront landmark Dreamland which has had more than £10 million invested into it by Thanet District Council.

Dreamland in Margate, Kent, closed nine years ago and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles gave the council approval for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) of the site in 2012. Words:PA

Former owner DreamlandLive challenged the legality of the CPO last year but Mr Pickles' decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Blackpool seafront, Blackpool, England
Blackpool seafront, Blackpool, England

Now the park is set to be decorated with some of the UK's most famous illuminations thanks to The Dreamland Trust and Hemingway Design, founded by fashion designer Wayne Hemingway and his wife Geraldine, who are part of the planning team.

A Trust spokesman said: "Whilst there we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Illuminations HQ, archive and works depot by head of illuminations, Richard Ryan.

"The operation and scale of the collection is truly breathtaking and we were thrilled that Richard agreed to donate selected items to Dreamland Margate."

The Dreamland Trust will be working with the community and volunteers to restore and up-cycle these pieces ready for installation next spring.

Eddie Kemsley, director at Dreamland, said: "We're delighted that Blackpool Illuminations - one of the most iconic sights in British culture - has donated items towards Dreamland ahead of its opening next year.

"We plan to make good use of the items in very creative ways."

Dreamland theme park in Kent to reopen
Dreamland theme park in Kent to reopen

The Dreamland Trust emerged from the Save Dreamland Campaign to rescue the park and its heritage assets including the UK's oldest roller coaster, a grade II* listed structure which was built in 1920, and a 2,200 seat grade II* listed cinema building developed in 1935.

The site also includes Lord George Sanger's Grade II-listed menagerie cages dating back to the 1800s - believed to be the last remaining type of their kind, according to the council.

Blackpool's illuminations came about in the 1870s when the council awarded £5,000 to experiment with electric street lighting, the Dreamland spokesman said.

He said 100,000 people flocked to the seaside resort to watch eight arc lamps, emitting light equivalent to that of 48,000 candles, being switched on.

They were powered by Dr Siemens' eight dynamo-electric machines, powered by 16 Robey engines, he said.

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