Dream comes true for Dreamland

Rides being restored for Dreamland in Margate

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Dreamland rides again - video

Plans are well underway to turn Margate's amusement park Dreamland into a world-class tourist attraction.

That means bringing dozens of vintage rides back to working order - most of which were mothballed when the park closed for the last time in 2005.

ITV News Meridian has been given an exclusive look at the first rides being restored - and at the gallopers, jets and carousels which are set to charm a new generation of thrill-seekers.

We speak to Fairground ride restorer David Littleboy, Engineering manager Roger Sibley and Jan Leandro from Dreamland Trust.

  1. Derek Johnson (@derekjohnsonitv)

Dreamland rides again - exclusive

The track from the Austin car ride and some young drivers Credit: ITV Meridian

In a workshop near Wakefield in Yorkshire they are pressing ahead with restoring some of the vintage fairground rides that will soon be at the Dreamland amusement park in Margate.

These are the first pictures of some of the dozens of rides which are being painstakingly brought back to life.

The Galloper - former Dreamland carousel Credit: ITV Meridian

The batch pictured here - including the last Dreamland carousel and the double-decker rocket cars - will be up and running when Dreamland opens its doors next year, part of a phased renovation project to turn it into a world-class visitor attraction.

Bikes from a 1960s platform ride Credit: ITV Meridian

Many rides have been in storage since the park closed in 2005. Others have been salvaged from fairgrounds at other seaside towns and are being kept by the Dreamland Trust.

Bringing joy Credit: ITV Meridian

David Littleboy's restoration team in Yorkshire has been working hard stripping down the old rides, replacing worn-out parts and repainting them, a process which takes many months.

Part of a jet ride Credit: ITV Meridian

Mr Littleboy said: ''The vintage rides genuinely have a family appeal, from nought to ninety and so you have travelling firms now that travel with full vintage rides and when families go to them with little kids they feel safe.''

Carousel horse head Credit: ITV Meridian

''It has that rose-tinted spectacle genuine warmth about it and there is an undoubted demand for it. Dreamland is effectively just a fixed site version of some travelling businesses that are already making a great success of it.''

The Corbierre Wheel restoration is currently out to tender Credit: Dreamland Trust

At any one time about 15 historic rides will be in operation in Margate. Jan Leandro from the Dreamland Trust said: ''I suppose you could compare this to a museum or a gallery where the collection will be out on display.''

''They will be working, operating and people will be able to ride them but year on year we will be refreshing and rotating these rides because they will need a certain amount of maintenance and repair work. It is our responsibility to preserve these historic rides.''

Tenders are out for some of the many other rides such as the Corbierre ferris wheel and the Junior Whip. Work will also start soon on the 1920 Grade II scenic railway, the first built in Britain.

Other heritage assets include the Grade II listed cinema building and menagerie cages dating back to the 1800s.

Following a legal dispute with the previous owners the site has now been bought by Thanet Council and the park will be run by the Trust, which is also working with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The aim is to create the world's first amusement park containing historic rides, classic sideshows, vintage cafes, restaurants and gardens, with special events and festivals.**



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