Seasonal Tides

Dreamland embodies Margate’s seasonal oscillation between excitement and emptiness. The oldest surviving amusement park of Great Britain dates back to the late 1800s, when the ‘Hall by the Sea’ was operated by the famous circus impresario ‘Lord’ George Sanger. Growing up in the travelling peep show of his parents, Sanger later started his own business as an animal tamer. With a troupe of animals that he trained to walk on tightropes and fire miniature cannons, Sanger drew accusations of witchcraft from rural villagers. He retired in 1905 and was murdered by a disgruntled employee in 1911, who later committed suicide on a railway line. Sanger was buried in Margate. The park was later transformed into a pleasure garden and amusement park modelled after Coney Island, with an iconic 1920 wooden rollercoaster as its centrepiece, a terrifying animatronic electric chair and the Haunted Snail ride.