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Iconic Dreamland sign to be switched on in Margate

The Dreamland cinema building is currently being repaired
The Dreamland cinema building is currently being repaired

by Martin Jefferies

Part of the iconic Dreamland sign will be lit up again this evening, as work continues to bring the Margate amusement park back into use.

The lamps in the lettering on the old cinema building have been replaced with bright white LED lights.

From tonight, the 'dream' section will be illuminated, with the lights left on until New Year's Day.

Earlier this month, Cllr Bob Bayford, the former leader of Thanet council, said: "It's a great Christmas present and no doubt a dream come true for the many people who want to see the site being brought back into use."

The seafront cinema, which opened in 1935 and contained a 2,200-seat auditorium and a ballroom, is a shadow of its former self.

A leaking roof and a burst water pipe have caused considerable damage to the grade II*-listed building.

It is currently being repaired and should be structurally sound by the spring.

Work can then start on the interior, including the restoration of power to the organ, which has been gathering dust since 2005.

Working with the Dreamland Trust, the council hopes to create the world's first heritage amusement park on the site.

Historic rides, including the famous Scenic Railway, would be brought back to life and the park would also feature classic side shows, cafés and restaurants.

The project was awarded £3.8 million as part of the government's Sea Change programme and was recently given £3 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanet council is contributing a further £3 million.

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