Margate – Dreamland, Wall of Death and Turner’s paintbox


Notebook June 2015 copyVisit to the seaside and Turner Contemporary to see Grayson Perry again, distracted by JMW Turner‘s paintbox crammed with everything an artist might need including a spot of morphia to treat a pesky stomach ache.  As I had one at the time, very a propos, but had to make do with paracetamol.  Then on to Dreamland


Dreamland ticket

D deckchairsD 1000 smiles
Jolly and helpful attendants in Retro clothes at Margate’s newly re-launched amusement park outnumbered visitors, the Big Wheel’s cables were being tightened for a test, and quite a few of the rides are still not operational, but to my delight, the Messhams were there …

D the Messham Borthers
I grew up in Nottingham, and every (usually foggy) autumn  Goose Fair  arrived.  It was the side shows, not really the rides, that fascinated me – Ron Taylor’s Boxing Booth, the Crocodile Lady, the Flea Circus – and the Wall of Death.  The Messham family have been riding their Indian Scout motorbikes in breathtaking anti-clockwise circles round the Wall since the 1920s, and fourth (and a tiny fifth) generation Messhams were in Dreamland for a couple of days. It was probably their grandfather I saw many years ago in Nottingham.

D clockD IndianD Charles
Their frontman, fixer and rider Charles Winter roused himself from a short nap before the 1 o’clock performance, when he too rode the Wall, wearing winklepickers and specs. ‘Yes, they’ve let me out of the nursing home for the day! Though Matron says I’ve got to be home by teatime!’ he confided to the audience.  ‘There’s enough excitement this afternoon to make your shirt ripple down your back like a Venetian blind!’ he promised, before Jake and Tornado Tyrone came out and posed on the bikes, revving them up and making them spit.

D Charles Winter

D Flying Demons
D Wall of Death 1D Wall of DeathD 5th and 6th gens MesshamsD Messham bikesD fire engineD ice cream stallMargate 2

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