It’s been a long 11-year slog for the Save Dreamland campaign, but after more than a decade of work and a £30 million regeneration, the UK’s oldest theme park reopens today under the very capable eye of Wayne Hemingway, founder of Hemingway Design. It’s a dream project for the multi-disciplinary designer, who started off selling second-hand Dr Martens boots on a stall at Camden market, as he told us at Here London in 2013. He has since founded fashion house Red or Dead, collaborated with companies including Sainsbury’s and Coca-Cola, and worked on a number of large-scale architectural redevelopments with his wife Gerardine.
“There’s never been anything like this done before,” he told The Independent in an in-depth interview about the project on its website this week. “Everything was just abandoned and broken. The Scenic Railway roller coaster is Grade II-listed but had to be completely rebuilt. Over there, are the original gallopers from a 1920s merry-go-round. We’ve got pedal cars for kids from the 1940s. We’ve had people out buying vintage rides from parks across Europe. Wherever you go, there will be history here. The old timbers we’ve made into picnic tables, we’ve cut 1950s Formica into benches. Everything is about up-cycling and redesigning for today.”
The emphasis on “up-cycling and redesigning” is true to the spirit of Hemingway Design, and with the theme park eventually encompassing a multi-purpose entertainment venue, it looks set to make a considerable contribution to Margate’s growing cultural landscape.
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