No Donkeys on Margate Beach

The Save Dreamland Campaign was launched by Joyland Books in January 2003 and is now supported by several thousand people. This is the place to discuss all aspects of saving Margate's famous amusement park and its iconic , Grade II listed Scenic Railway, Britain's oldest roller coaster.

Moderators: dave771, porf, Sarah

No Donkeys on Margate Beach

Postby Lou » 05 Aug 2008, 18:26

Apparently the donkeys have now gone from Margate beach - suprising eh? Anyhow TDC are now looking for someone else to do it!!!!
Wondering when the penny will drop?????? :shock:
Posts: 219
Joined: 31 Jan 2004, 14:32

Postby porterm » 05 Aug 2008, 23:15

You beat me to this one! - I was going to post this after watching the local BBC South East News. I believe they said the donkey owner could not make this season, but then they also appeared to imply that the fire on the Scenic Railway had totally destroyed it.

The item also mentioned the town losing its cinema last year, however there was one bright spot; a view of Margate's museum. If one has donkey withdrawal symptoms this season in Margate they could always pay them a visit as it houses a model one which apparently used to be used for photo shoots.

There; it's certainly not all doom and gloom that the media seem to enjoy parading. I managed to miss the local Big Blue Jazz Festival this year too sadly owing to my Oakwood Park weekend commitments last weekend in Wales. Sadly their main attraction, the woodie, Megafobia, was cursed by a train getting stuck on its lifthill with smoke coming out of the engine room. (They don't make 'em like the oldies do they?)

Martin :shock:
Posts: 732
Joined: 10 Feb 2003, 03:13
Location: Maidstone, Kent

Postby EAS » 06 Aug 2008, 20:55

Guardian today:

For the first time in more than 200 years, the braying of stubborn quadrupeds will not be heard echoing around many beaches in Kent this summer. Nick Gunn, owner of Britain's oldest donkey ride outfit, is retiring his animals from service on the beaches of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs. "It's really sad I've had to close after 15 years ... because my mother is extremely ill and I've had to give up to look after her," he said. The council is looking for someone to take over Gunn's contract so that donkeys can continue to ply their beach trade as they have done since 1790 ... news.beach

Very sad to hear Mr Gunn's mother is so ill, and I hope we can all wish him and his mother well.

What are our seasides without donkey rides! I hope the donkeys have a happy retirement, wherever they are.
User avatar
Posts: 1886
Joined: 18 Sep 2006, 09:09
Location: North

Postby EAS » 06 Aug 2008, 21:07


A spot of nostalgia: ... _54759.htm

Margate Britain’s oldest donkey rides have been cancelled. Nick Gunn, the owner of Margate’s donkey ride company, said: “It’s sad I’ve had to close, but my mother is extremely ill and I’ve had to give up to look after her. I’ve rehomed the donkeys.” Margate first held donkey rides in 1790, and Thanet council is seeking someone to set up another such outfit. A spokesman said: “We are optimistic the donkeys will be back on the beach before too long.”

Times ... 466797.ece


Donkey rides are no more
Wednesday August 6,2008
A SUMMER tradition stretching back more than two centuries has come to a sad end.

Donkey rides on the sands at Margate, Kent – where they were introduced in 1790 – are no more.

Families enjoying bucket and spade holidays there and at neighbouring Broad­stairs and Rams­gate were met by signs this week saying owner Nick Gunn had been forced to close his business.

“It’s really sad I’ve had to close,” he said yesterday. “It was because my mother is extremely ill and I’ve had to give up to look after her.”

He has found new homes for all his charges, including popular Bramble, Fury, Rocky and Rosie, who helped him win the runners-up prize in last year’s Britain’s Best Beach Donkey competition.

The demise of the £2 rides is a big disappointment for many families. Mother-of-two Jane Rams­bottom, 34, in Margate on a day trip from Dover, said: “It’s such a shame. I brought my two little ones here for a summer treat and they would
have loved a ride on the donkeys. They are such a British seaside image.”

Londoner David Vickers, 38, in Broadstairs with his wife Sandra and three children said: “It’s a massive disappointment. It’s part of our culture and now it’s gone.”

Thanet Council is hopeful someone will take Nick’s place. Peter Sampson of the British Resorts Association, said: “There’ll always be kids wanting donkey rides.” ... ch-donkeys
User avatar
Posts: 1886
Joined: 18 Sep 2006, 09:09
Location: North

Postby Jim Douglas Jr. » 06 Aug 2008, 23:00

What an odd but charming thing. I had no idea.
Maybe someone will step forward and do it at least on a smaller scale, just so such a lovely little tradition doesn't miss a year.
It's so old-timey cute, I can't stand it! Sometimes the most basic things are the most enjoyable.
Kyle & Herbie the Love Bug lll53
User avatar
Jim Douglas Jr.
Posts: 1179
Joined: 15 Mar 2006, 19:49
Location: San Francisco, California, USA

Postby EAS » 11 Aug 2008, 11:28

It's rather sad the donkeys weren't able to carry on - but I hope they are enjoying a happy retirement in a green field, although no doubt they will miss the company of the children on the beach.

Yes, a long tradition, people were enjoying donkey rides on beaches long before they were enjoying rides on the Scenic Railway! A proper 'bucket and spade' holiday would have been nothing without a donkey ride and a Punch and Judy show.

[Open Image] [Hosted by]

Oh I remember it all well - and the itchy wool bathing costume, followed by a new fangled yellow cotton ruched with elastic affair, with a tie which went around the neck, (naughty boys would undo the bow...) then an even more new fangled ruched blue nylon one, which went transparent when wet.

Happy days!

The joys of playing at making sand castles in a wet bathing costume (wool didn't dry rapidly) and the struggle to get undressed and dressed on the beach wrapped in a towel! Posh folk had windbreaks and even small canvas tent structures, in which to retain their modesty.

Sand in your egg and tomato sandwiches, a flask of tea, and the treat of a candy floss. Sigh.
User avatar
Posts: 1886
Joined: 18 Sep 2006, 09:09
Location: North

Return to Save Dreamland Campaign Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest