January 15, 2003
Margate, United Kingdom -- A campaign has been launched to save Britain's oldest roller coaster. Nick Laister, the person who secured listed building status for the ride last year, is now heading up the campaign to save the Dreamland Pleasure Park (Margate, UK) and the 83-year-old Scenic Railway roller coaster.
The Scenic Railway roller coaster was built in 1920 and is the only listed amusement park ride in the United Kingdom. Over 120 wooden coasters were built from 1885 to 1960 and only nine now survive. There are only two 'Scenic Railway' coasters left and the one at Dreamland is the only one intact. The removal of this ride would almost completely wipe out this important part of British amusement park history.
Since the ride was listed, the owners of Dreamland have announced that the park is to close to make way for a proposed retail development. Laister also believes that closing the park would be a huge blow to Margate's tourism industry.
Since the campaign's launch last week, the local residents of Margate as well as several international organizations have joined the effort to save Dreamland. The campaign is supported by the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, the European Coaster Club and the American Coaster Enthusiasts.