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Report - - Dreamland Cinema - Margate - 5/5/10 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Dreamland Cinema - Margate - 5/5/10

Speed

Got Epic?
Staff member
Moderator
#1
First off big thanks to the Margate boys for hooking us up here. This is no easy explore, theres no easy entrances and regular security patrols inside and out! I was pretty impressed to see they had cracked it, expecialy so after sampling some of their other Margate discoverys beforehand! I wish evey small town had a bunch of guys putting the effot in like this!

Dreamland is way more then just a cinema and athough other traces of the park are vanishing fast this bit remains in great condition! We covered both cinema screens (built in the circle) and bingo hall (built in the stalls) and managed to access the projection room, lobby and organ console before exhausting our luck and having to make a hasty retreat! Id have liked to have had more of a in deapth look and a bit of a rummage but it wasnt on the cards really, its pretty much a live building with an arcade and cafe still operating! There was alot of interesting stuff tucked away in there that we saw but could not photograph in time. Vaults and switchgear for the park rides to name a couple!

cinematreasures said:
Built on the the site of the 900 seat Dreamland Variety Theatre of 1923, this was later re-named Dreamland Cinema. It was adjacent to the massive Dreamland Amusement Park on Marine Terrace located on the sea front.

The new Dreamland Cinema opened on 22nd March 1935 with Greta Garbo in "The Painted Veil". Architect's Julian Rudolph Leathart & W.F. Granger came together for the final time (they mutually disolved their partnership after Dreamland was completed). The specactacular frontage of the cinema was the first of its kind in Britain, having a huge fin tower which gives the building prominance from a great distance along the shore line. There was a large cafe which had windows giving a view out to sea. Additional facilities included bars and a ballroom.

Inside the auditorium seating was provided for 1,328 in the stalls and 722 in the balcony. The interior design was by John Bird-Iles (son of the owner of the complex) and sculpures of sea nymphs set into recesses each side of the auditorium were the work of Eric Aumonier. The cinema had a fully equipped stage and the Compton-Noterman 4Manual/19Rank theatre organ with illuminated console and a grand piano attached which was opened by Lewis Gerard.

The cinema was closed from 1940 due to the war and didn't re-open until 1st July 1946. The Dreamland Cinema was tripled and re-opened on 22nd April 1973 with two cinemas in the former balcony which seated 378 and 376. The former stalls area became a live theatre using the full facilities of the stage. However the live theatre was not a success and closed on 11th January 1975 and was converted into a bingo hall.

A third screen seating 60 persons and using video projection was created in what had previously been the balcony bar area. This opened on 10th May 1981 and continued until closing in 1993 when the Dutch firm Bembom Brothers took over the running of the cinema and amusement park.

It remained open with bingo in the former stalls, where the Compton organ was still occasionally used for concerts. The two cinemas remained open in the former circle area and were operated by the small Independent chain Reeltime Cinemas. Sadly they were closed on 1st November 2007 following closure of the bingo club operation in the former stalls area earlier in the year.

In 1992, Dreamland Cinema was designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage. In early May 2008, the building was up-graded to Grade II* Listed.


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