Iconic Dreamland in Margate is lit up by Tracey Emin

Contributed by editor on May 31, 2017 - 02:03 PM

The lights which adorn the side and front of the iconic Dreamland seafront building in Margate have been officially switched on by Tracey Emin, marking a new era for the former cinema and the town.


The news comes just days after Margate was named as host of the Turner Prize 2019.

The light switch on, which coincides with the opening of the reimagined Dreamland amusement park, also signals the successful completion of the second phase of renovation work led by Thanet District Council.

The project, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Coastal Communities Fund, has restored some of the key heritage elements which make up Dreamland - one of Britain’s oldest surviving amusement parks.

The switch-on spectacle was accompanied by the unveiling of a new public art installation, commissioned by Thanet District Council, from acclaimed artist, Rachel Wilberforce whose 2015 artwork Solaris already sits in the Dreamland Arcade.

This Heritage Lottery funded artwork consists of two large-scale double collage installations of abstracted historic imagery, light-boxes and glazing, situated at the former Dreamland Bars in Margate. “The work takes the cinematic experience and architecture and juxtaposes its Expressionist and Art Deco influences with Dreamland's rich cultural references”, said Rachel. The installation will be on display throughout the summer.

The light switch-on not only signifies a new era for the building, but is also a significant milestone in the Dreamland journey which included Thanet District Council’s bold decision to secure the site after it had sat vacant with an uncertain future since 2003. It is highly likely that the site’s listed structures – the Grade II* Cinema and Scenic Railway and the Grade II Menagerie – would have lain dormant and further degenerated without this intervention.

Madeline Homer, Chief Executive of Thanet District Council, said: “The opening of Dreamland in 1935, with its Expressionist and Art Deco influences, attracted international attention to Margate and we are delighted to have brought this building back to life and given back a major cultural icon to the town.

“Dreamland has been an essential part of Margate’s identity for nearly 100 years and the re-opening of the Dreamland amusement park will contribute significantly to the ongoing regeneration of our iconic seaside resort, helping to raise further the profile of the district, provide more jobs and bring greater visitor numbers and opportunities to Thanet as a whole.”


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