Monday, April 07, 2008

Dreamland Scenic Railway On Fire

Just getting reports from over in Margate that Dreamland's listed Scenic Railway is on fire. One of the oldest remaining wooden roller coasters left in the world. No further details, but I'll post more as it comes in.

Cynics might say it was only a matter of time before this happened.

Update: Just been over there to see for myself. Three snorkels pumping water onto three separate parts of the track. Smoke billowing, flames. The track has completely collapsed in one section. Tragic. Will put up photos soon.

Further update: BBC South East Today is reporting that the fire is being treated as 'suspicious'.

Scroll up the page for photos and video footage.
Click here for photos of aftermath.
Click here to go to discussion on Save Dreamland Campaign forum.
Click here for full report on Save Dreamland Campaign website.
Click here for wry, video thinkpiece from Bignews Margate.
Click here for thinkpiece from Eastcliff Richard.
Click here for latest news.

113 comments:

Anonymous said...

That clears the way nicely for development then.

Anonymous said...

Can see biiiiig smoke out of my window in a rebranded municipal building in Margate. Sad huh?

Peter Checksfield said...

I've just been with hundreds of people in Arlington car park watching it burn, they should have a big fire in Margate every week to bring in the crowds! Oops, they already do...

Anonymous said...

End of an era.
I agree with the developement comment.

cboomf said...

Whats the damage like, theirs enough money floating around to rebuild it fi the damage can be limited

Anonymous said...

On the train two days ago, two guards chatting "that will be on fire within a week"...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Anyone got any pictures?...

Anonymous said...

See Cystic Peg
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Anonymous said...

I dont think 5:52 PM (2) can say that

Anonymous said...

He might not be able to 'say that' but its what everyone is thinking...

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with 6:13pm comment
everyone is thinking that.

Anonymous said...

i didn't think jimmy godden owned dreamland anymore. it was sold for bout 20 million few years back to the margate regeneration scheme.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Godden has a 40%ish share in Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company (sic) which owns the site.

Anonymous said...

I think he still does but either way it is very sad to see a piece of history distroyed

Anonymous said...

Ah, that makes more sense then..

Anonymous said...

looks like another "accidental" fire, unfortunatly it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before it burnt down, as its listed I think it should have to be re-built at a cost to the "owner"

Anonymous said...

It was half burnt down once before - and rebuilt. What happened to site security then?

Is the cinema still standing?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think it may have been started by kids? It is the school holidays.

Anonymous said...

I also think that the local kids probably started! has jimmy godden ever been proved to start any fire?

Eastcliff Richard said...

Cinema is still standing and didn't seem to be under threat. The track seemed to be burning most at its furthest point from the sea front. Fire seemed to be under control when I left around 6pm.

Anonymous said...

Theres six girls here wanting to go to escape and we are wondering if its still on?!?! Could someone find out please. Thanks. Do you think that we should go and do you know about J Godden? Please Reply Thanks.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Try phoning Escape....

Anonymous said...

well i believe that those who believe rumour are usually proved to be wrong

Anonymous said...

Thanks - No answer for escape, so in theory Jimmy Godden must have some plans. Does anyone have any more information? Do you think that we should go to escape - from six girls in ramsgate.

Anonymous said...

Who said it was a rumour???
Go ask Andy in 26 or the other locals who know him..

Insurance job!!

Anonymous said...

@6:48

Hmmm, like the rumours that the Tivoli Fire wasn't an accident?

Anonymous said...

Is anywhere safe from these mindless idiots. Is walley world affected?

Anonymous said...

When is the cinema due to burn down? I'll put it in my diary.

Anonymous said...

well i'm not one to believe rumours i usually keep an open mind, but how many fire's does it take to realise its no accident

Anonymous said...

ask anyone in the media they all know who's been behind the fires and its the same person each time i believe his name has already been mentioned!!!!

doubt any of the business along there will be open due to health & safety

Anonymous said...

Here is what was said to an ITV meridian reporter in 2003.

Saturday, 18 January 2003

More details on Dreamland's new owners' plans for the site are revealed in the Isle of Thanet Gazette. Stadium Developments and Jimmy Godden, who propose a joint venture development, have also now confirmed that the grade II listed Scenic Railway is to go. Draft plans include a hotel, casino, swimming pool and children's play area, but Stadium has not ruled out retail development for the remainder of the site. Godden and Stadium Developments met with Thanet Council on Friday, but the outcome of this meeting is not known. A separate meeting was also held with North Thanet MP Roger Gale and Conservative group leader Sandy Ezekiel. Gale is quoted in the Isle of Thanet Gazette as being "horrified" by the proposals, particularly the fact that they have been discussed with the council behind closed doors. He also pointed out that the proposals as they stand would constitute a significant change to the Local Plan. But Gale added that "if there was a sensible proposal for a mixture of retail and leisure that would provide good all-weather facilities I would want to look very seriously at that........

Note "railway is to go.." not might!

TERRY said...

doesn't any one think its a bit suspicious that everywhere Godden's owned has gone up in smoke
pleasurearma in ramsgate,
dreamland, twice, (waltzers 2003 and the scenic railway today)
that amusement arcade on the seafront

Anonymous said...

Of all the things that you could burn down in Margate...

Anonymous said...

no i would't go to escape fire or no fire its monday stay in and watch corrie there's a story line about a business burn't down to get insurance money! hmmm sounds familiar!!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

but has it ever been proved that he was behind them??

Anonymous said...

Do you think these people/person realise that some of Dreamland is still open to the public, i.e the childrens play area Walley World?

cboomf said...

Come on 7:03 (2) use your common sense

cboomf said...

A forum at Coasterforce is talking about this issue also
http://www.coasterforce.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=460277#460277

Anonymous said...

looks very much like either an insurence job or some twonk from the develpers has decided to push there plan to the front. and make sure that yet another beloved woddie is sent away making it even worse for anyone to have anything good again.

Old Local said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

7.03pm (2) do you really need proof only if your totally naive the bloke has had half his business go up and all of them after trying to either sell them or develop the land 7.15pm is spot on!!

Anonymous said...

watch the late meridian news the head of thanet council says they will do whatever it takes to rebuild it just seen him interviewed by meridian news and he said it to the camera!

Ramsgate Tez said...

just searched on you tube and theres a video of the ride collapsing, rally sad day

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMY_c_aqM54

chris said...

[URL=http://www.picoodle.com/view.php?img=/4/4/7/f_PICT0021m_81d732b.jpg&srv=img37][IMG]http://img37.picoodle.com/img/img37/4/4/7/f_PICT0021m_81d732b.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

chris said...

my bad,

photo here:

http://img37.picoodle.com/img/img37/4/4/7/f_PICT0021m_81d732b.jpg

Ramsgate Tez said...
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Anonymous said...

it’s such a shame to see such a great piece of Margate’s history disappear this way, it such a shame that the owner of the park seems to be plagued by arson

Ramsgate Tez said...

yeah key word being being SEEMS

Jon said...

I've been down to have a look. The blaze is out, and I would guess about a quarter of the coaster has collapsed. It's salvagable.

Martin said...
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Robyn said...

Some would be wise to remember that even posting anonymously, your IP address is still recorded and you are traceable. I would think very carefully before posting some of the libellous comments which are appearing on this subject!

Sad to see a piece of Margate's history gone like this.

Ramsgate Tez said...

MARTIN, if it is arson, dont you think that letting it be demolished will make them think theyve won?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Ramsgate Tez said...

whos a JG supporter?

Ramsgate Tez said...

hear hear, well said.

having ridden the scenic railway every year, for 11 years before it closed i have to admit that nothing compares to it.

the scumbag should be put away for a VERY LONG TIME!!!!!

Anonymous said...

fao robin... yes our ip is traceable but do you really think people will go through this and "punnish" people for voicing there opinion??? plus.. i have not got a static i.p address so unplugging my router would give me another 1 any way. goddens a tw@t but i dont think him and his possy will be bothered about internet bods slaggin him off do you??

Anonymous said...

Didn't parts of Folkestone seafront also burn down, and who owned those bits again? simple question...

Anonymous said...

The next time he burns something down I hope his suit catches fire

Anonymous said...

It's a Grade Ii Listed structure.

And there rae proposals for the site.

See:

http://www.joylandbooks.com/scenicrailway/index.htm

Anonymous said...

Anyone who lays money on the real perpetrator being charged should throw it onto what's left of the Dreamland bonfire right now. The police will find a suitable scapegoat, the council will rubber-stamp redevelopment and local "businessmen" will profit. If we're lucky we'll get some scraps from the table, so long as we roll over and play dead.

This town's more lawless and corrupt than season 1 of Deadwood. :(

Anonymous said...

Place your bets place your bets...for the next Thanet arseonist fire - who will no doubt be reading the Thanet blogs? I give you the following odds 10/1 the Royal Pavilion evens the West Cliff Hall Ramsgate.

1000/1 the Westgate Pavilion.

Place your bets.

Eastcliff Richard said...

OK chaps - I realise there are some strong feelings out there, but you're going to have to put a sock in it when it comes to making wild accusations about specific people. Otherwise I'll have to turn on comment moderation. Sorry to be a damp squib (pun intended).

It's possible to hint without naming names you know.

Anonymous said...

Well, it seems the Save Dreamland campaign will have to fight longer and harder.

It can rise... nothing is impossible, it was half destroyed by fire in 1949 and rebuilt.

The Save Dreamland campaign has a number of other historic rides saved from other sites and in storage.

Anonymous said...

Moderate our comments???

Sounds like a threat!

JG got to you too??

Eastcliff Richard said...

Nope - just wary of legal eagles!

Anonymous said...

What an unlucky man he is. Herne Bay, Folkestone, Ramsgate, Margate. Everything he touches seems to turn to cinders.

Anonymous said...

He's the Man with the Golden Cigarette Lighter!

Anonymous said...

The law is an ass sir! ... no doubt some of your readers are aware of plans afoot all the country for large parties to be held the day Lady Thatcher shuffles off, i wonder if anyone else has heard the rumor doing the rounds for something similar being 'cooked' up for other prominent individuals?

Anonymous said...

It was always in the pipe line, the sad thing is the trail will never be tracked back to you know WHO!

Anonymous said...

This is a very sad day... what will be next? Is there anything else to burn?
SteveCT9

Horatio Bottomley said...

Whilst I agree with ECR's comments that comments are bordering on (and beyond) slanderous maybe it is time that the authorities looked into it more, or were looked into themselves from a higher level.
There is a fire, yet again, on a leisure facility owned (or part owned) by an individual who has already seen several of his building interests go up in flames. After a day of snow which would make the wooden structure moist to say the least.
If that does not sound alarm bells then somone is not looking hard enough. Or maybe it is not his fault. Then surely someone should look into enemies of his to see why these incidents keep happening.
In my opinion, unless it becomes proved, and really proved not bought-off proved, that it was an unavoidable accident then the owners or leaseholders of the site should be held accountable.
If you own or lease a site that contains a listed building then surely security should be good enough to keep people out.
A fire starts, the owners (or part owners) name is mentioned due to his bad luck with fire in the past but no-one official ever raises an eyebrow.
Slander in one persons eyes is the gospel truth in another. Surely when so many people say it it has to change from slander to potential.
Horatio
PS. I am not having a dig ECR as I understand that comments on here could get you into trouble, but if so many people are saying it there must be some sort of foundation.

Anonymous said...

You-know-who is in Marbella. So it couldn't possibly have been him then.

Clever touch though, choosing the school holidays.

Anonymous said...

All it takes is a pay as you go sim, a bank account number and sort code and your halfway there to arragning a bonfire. No matter where you are.

Good thing e-mail and SMS.

Eastcliff Richard said...

I agree the rumours should be investigated thoroughly, Horatio.

Which is why I'm leaving the allegations here in the hope that a senior Inspector Knacker, preferable from way outside the area, might stumble upon them. In between pensions meetings, of course.

It's about time someone in Thanet stood up to this crap.

Anonymous said...

http://www.joylandbooks.co.uk/forum/index.php

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone knows a good investigative journalist who could look into this?

Henry said...

From someone who knows his ex wife, and the son of someone who owned dreamland, it's pretty obvious to see that this is no accident what has happened.
Most people with half a brain around here know that JG has wanted to get rid of the Scenic for long enough to have a "clean canvas" to work on.
I dont have any faith in KCC helping to restore this as they have more than likely been paid off to keep quiet and go along with these plans?
It's only a matter of time before another peice of margate goes.
Consider Margate finished now with the scenic gone.

Anonymous said...

No clean canvas though - this structure is listed and can be rebuilt.

http://www.joylandbooks.com/scenicrailway/images/galleries.htm

Anonymous said...

HEY just had a thought

to the person we are all thinking about tonight please please will you buy the TURNER CENTER we wont miss that

cheers CT8

Anonymous said...

haha at ct8.

Anonymous said...

Sorry my friend CT8 friend, but we will miss that.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to anyone wanting to dig around into the goings on in Thanet, you may have to go back to about 1956 onward to get a true picture of the alleged corruption.

Horatio Bottomley said...

Now I will readily admit that I know nothing on this subject so if I am talking nonsense feel free to let me know, but do not shoot me down in flames (there have been enough flames today). Names and locations have been changed to protect the somehow, as yet, not guilty! Any relation to current events can only mean you have a suspicious mind!
Say, for example, that a businessman has seen several of his businesses, most of which had taken a downturn in trade since he took charge of them, burn down over a (suspiciously short) number of years.
At least two three of these took place in buildings or structures that had been a thorn in the side of anyone wanting to redevelop the site, including two on pretty much the same site.
Although local residents are convinced foul-play is afoot and are even happy to name names despite the risk of legal actions, as well as going as far as giving very valid reasoning to why they think that such foul-play has ensued. For example, a fire that razes a building to the ground which gives ideal extra access to a potential housing estate, the location of which hosts a listed structure, which complicates any plans for said estate, that also burns to the ground a couple of years later.
The name on everyones lips is cleared (or not even accused in the proper channels) each and every time and questions are always left unanswered.
Enough people are aggrieved and feel that the local authorities have overlooked something (intentionally or unintentionally) so they want a higher force to look into it. Is there no way that if enough people shouted in the right direction there could be a public enquiry that bypasses all local authorities and gets 100% impartial people to look into it?
Although I am expecting to hear that the site is unsafe and everything must be cleared before anyone else could get in there!
Horatio

Anonymous said...

Did someone post that Jimmy Godden was (so fortunately...) in Marbella?

The Scenic can be rebuilt, the site still has a planning brief saying it has to be for an amusement park.

Anonymous said...

We definitely need an inquiry and it needs to be led by somebody WITH ABSOLUTELY NO PREVIOUS CONNECTIONS TO THANET.

Peter Checksfield said...

There's now a detailed report here:

http://www.joylandbooks.com/scenicrailway/news.htm

Eastcliff Richard said...

Anon 10:57 - may I draw your attention to another former fun park site here in the Wild East which mysteriously burnt down nearly ten years ago - Pleasurama. That was owned by our friend too, and he copped the insurance money despite the lease being from Thanet Council. Sure, it wasn't listed, but it's been a rotten, deserted eyesore on the Ramsgate seafront ever since.

Oh, and earlier this year a Grade II listed building was, er, accidentally demolished during its 'conversion' into flats. That's now festering, with no sign of any work to rebuild it, as ordered by the council.

Further afield. Brighton West Pier? Grade I listed. Rusting hulk since the 90s.

Chances of the Scenic rising from the ashes? Slim and none. And Slim just left town.

Peter Checksfield said...

"TDC Leader Sandy Ezekiel also watched the flames take hold, as did Cllr Mick Tomlinson. Ezekiel was heard to tell the local media that the Scenic must be rebuilt. He confirmed that the Council would work closely with English Heritage to ensure its rebuilding."

Anonymous said...

Just watched the late news. The police are looking into it, i think we should just wait and see.

Anonymous said...

I would not trust the police round here as far as I could throw them. They are probably currently enjoying a holiday in Marbella too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and earlier this year a Grade II listed building was, er, accidentally demolished during its 'conversion' into flats. That's now festering, with no sign of any work to rebuild it, as ordered by the council.


Do expand...

Peter Checksfield said...

11:33, I presume that ECR means the building on Ramsgate seafront.

Anonymous said...

How come most of Thanet thinks the same thing but nothing is done about it. Lets send a very loud message to the Police. Get an out of town squad to investiate. Please, please, please!Get the fire bug hung, drawn and quatered.Our brave firemen don't deserve to put their lives on the line so others can make money hand over fist. The person doing all this should be tracked down and left to rot in prison for life. He is putting others lives in serious danger.

Eastcliff Richard said...

I do indeed Peter.

Pictures and stories about the Marina Restaurant debacle can be found here.

Anonymous said...

FYI the local code for a fire of this nature around here is 'another act of God'. Last syllable has been left off.

Anonymous said...
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margates voice said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

i hope thay catch the fuckin cunts who did that 2 the raliway as its alot old then me and them.hope thay re build agin as its history 2 margate dreamland as it was the first ride in the park.the rail way was bulit in 1920s.so catch them and lock them up.

LJN said...

The insurance money should be used exclusivley to reinstate what has burned.

Anonymous said...

This got posted on reddit here.

http://reddit.com/info/6ez9w/comments/

Anonymous said...

Can i just say steady with the accusations of bent coppers. i totally agree that there are some very dodgy coppers around but not all of em are. My dad is and is a very well respected and straight member of the community and i am not just saying that cos i am his offspring but i have seen how well liked he is with my own eyes.

Eastcliff Richard said...

OK, now that the heat has literally died down I have removed some of your more pointed comments, including some that were literally inflammatory.

I know those of you who have been deleted will be hacked off, and I'm sure that a lot of what you said could have been defended as being in the, er, heat of the moment and fair comment. Especially as there are plenty of other places on the internet where similar views have been posted.

That said, some of our local business types are more than happy to ring their learned friends at the drop of a hat and earn even more wads by suing people for libel. I'm sure that you'll understand that it's not in anyone's interest to line the pockets of those types unnecessarily.

Your understanding in this matter is appreciated!

Adam said...

How great it is to come across a site like yours ECR. Obviously a lot of upset people here, and I count myself among their number.
I completely agree with Horatio Bottomley's comment of 10:45 and am trusting in the hope that we can put pressure on KCC (not Thanet of course as they are still counting their silver pieces)to launch a public enquiry into the real nature of these unfortunate accidents. I e-mailed my local MP yesterday pointing out that occurrences such as these could have one of two likely effects:

1. (very long odds on this one) A legitimate local businessman is slandered and has his reputation ruined.

2. (more likely)A very nasty and subversive plot to effectively destroy Thanets historical buildings is uncovered, showing that this destruction was to the gain of local developers and essentially the council too.

If anybody knows who to contact to get the ball rolling then I am happy to make calls and write letters if needs be.

Lets not forget that any cleared site attracts a great deal more money for developers than one with a huge albatros in the middle. With a site such as dreamland now being worth a great deal more to those with an interest, everybody benefits (manilla envelopes etc.)

What really gets me, and I think someone has mentioned it before, is the fact that we are seeing (at least I think we are) corruption worthy of a show like Deadwood.

Anyway, must dash, I'm off to burn down my shed and turn my garden into luxury flats.

James said...

Who cares who threw the match? some scummy little kid paid 10 quid to fuel his crack habit probably wouldn't remember who paid him. We all know who's ultimately responsible - lets just bury him in a concrete coffin underneath the toilet block of the rebuilt railway.

Anonymous said...

Did You Do This? Next Time Don't you Dare To Burn It down Again.

Anonymous said...

Dear EASTCLIFF RICHARD And Adam,I Think Both Of You Burn Down The Margate Scenic Railway, Please Type Yes Or No. Please Tell me The Reason.Please Post Your Answer. Please Don't Be Scared To Do This.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kent, wtf!