As I drove past Merlins to that corner by the Rose and Crown that we all love to see, I noticed the 'Mr B's' arcades had been turned into a 'Jimmy G's' instead. Jimmy Godden has bought both sides of Mr B's, both phase I and II. The larger of the two, phase II, has been completely renovated giving it a more modern look. The roof has been completely torn down and replaced, which must have cost one hell of a lot as I know it to have had an asbestos problem, and could not be touched. I was especially sad to notice the three things phase II offered that no other Leysdown arcade offered had been removed: The Laser quest, 'fun factory' and bumper cars have all been demolished. A new bowling alley has been put in its place however, as well as the bingo being built too. Hope fully with Jimmy owning several other arcades too, he will be able to bring a new lease of life to Leysdown, as I'm sure many people would would agree, it could definitely do with a good renovation.
Jimmy Godden is known as the 'King of the South-Coast', owning various different arcades throughout sea-side towns in the South East of England. He seems to be very unlucky with some of these though, with three of his arcades being burnt down. The most famous and recent burning is of Dreamland in Margate. The others include: 'Mr B's arcade on Margate Seafront, Rotunda Amusement Park in Folkstone and The Tivoli Amusement Arcade in Ramsgate. That being said, he is a very successful business man never the less and will hopefully have better luck with his new arcades in Leysdown.
The Scenic Railway fire has caused more media attention than any of his other arcades that have been burnt. Margate was a main attraction in Kent. Having been there a few times myself as a child, I was very sad when I learned I would never be able to see 'Dreamland' again. As well as being an arcade, it also held one of the most rarest wooden roller coasters of its kind, a grade two roller coaster; the scenic railway. It's said Thanet District Council are holding talks with the Scenic Railway Rollercoaster owners about rebuilding it and regenerating the Margate town centre. I think we all hope some sort of arrangement can be made, but whether this ends up happening or not is as good a guess as any.
A gallery of pictures of dreamland, Margate before it burnt down.
♠ Dreamland Gallery
Scenic Railway Burning
A YouTube video of The scenic railway burning.