New book celebrates more than 100 years of Dreamland Margate

Dreamland arcade and racers 1936 from the new book by Nick Evans

Twenty years after writing his first book about Dreamland, author Nick Evans is retelling the story of the famous Margate fun park in a new version entitled 100 Years In Dreamland.

The new book includes more than 100 photographs compiled from his and other collections which appeared in the earlier versions of the books published between 2003 and 2014. Those books have since gone out of print to become collectors’ items.

100 Years In Dreamland comes right up to recent times with pictures showing the cinema building dressed for the filming of Empire Of Light, directed by Sam Mendes, which was released in January 2023.

Nick, a semi-retired freelance journalist based in Whitstable, said: “The key reason for writing my new book now is to, belatedly thanks to the Covid pandemic, mark Dreamland’s centenary – it was late 1919 when John Henry Iles bought the Hall By The Sea and he reopened it in summer 1920 as Dreamland.

“Photos from the park’s earliest days are included and there is a big emphasis on its rides throughout the book with dedicated chapters about the Scenic Railway and the Dreamland Miniature Railway.

“Dreamland’s cinema and ballroom have their own section while another looks at 1930s beano outings, eating and drinking. The book also covers the boom time of the post war era, Dreamland’s darker days of the early 21st century and its recent revival.

“Altogether though, the accent is very much on how much fun was to be had when visiting Dreamland. I’m sure it will bring back nostalgic memories of happy times and misspent youth for anybody buying a copy.”

Photo Frank Leppard

That first edition of Dreamland Remembered, published in August 2003, inspired Nick to write 15 more books in the years since. While covering mainly local history subjects about Thanet, he diversified into writing about the stories of pub signs, East Kent buses, the centenary of British petrol stations and, also coming soon, The Classic Car Spotters’ Guide, to be published by The History Press in May.

100 Years In Dreamland can purchased from Westgate Galleria, Station Road, Westgate (also visit the books section of its website, as well as:  Eclectic Gallery, Broad Street, Margate; Lovely’s Gallery, Northdown Road, Cliftonville; Book Bodega, Harbour Street, Ramsgate; Michael’s Bookshop, King Street, Ramsgate, Number 3 Cards & Gifts, York Street, Broadstairs and Birchington Framing & Print, Station Road, Birchington. The 96 page A5 landscape book is priced  £11.

The 128pp Classic Car Spotters’ Guide can be pre-ordered now via bookshops nationally or on searching via the title. It costs £14.99.


    • For me it will always be the 50’s. Walking through and not needing to spend any money or having a few ride for 5 bob. The Thursday night firework displays that included a “sea battle” as the finale. Sunday afternoons watching the beano parties with sum of the drunks making fools of them selves by falling out of the boats. Then sitting on the wall watching the visitors coming in. A great Sunday afternoon’s entertainment.

  1. How time goes by!, I remember purchasing the first addition in WH Smith,on Margate High street in 2003, while on holiday in Thanet. I have just purchased the latest version, they must be selling well, after my purchase there are only ten copies left in the shop, as per the website. I am looking forward to reading it, on it’s arrival. I still have my original copy. It brings back fond memories of summer holidays in Margate and especially daily visits to Dreamland throughout my visits in the seventies.

  2. Dreamland die in the late 80s so really 70 years not 100. Last 30 years it hasn’t been dreamland, just wasted money and nothing to show

    • Yes – a very sad demise.

      Now hardly any rides and none of the other side shows and stalls. A total lack of the atmosphere once so much enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

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