The Things I've Seen: Margate Scenic Railway
Saturday 18 June 1994
'No screaming on this one,' said someone's dad gruffly as the queue moved forward.
Enclosed behind blue planking, the Scenic Railway is Britain's oldest surviving gravity ride, or roll er-coaster. It was built entirely of wood and opened in 1920.
In its first year it carried half a million passengers. There have been two fires since then, and every piece of timber has been replaced, much of it taken from the remains of Lowestoft Pier.
Margate has presented public amusements on this site since the halcyon seaside days of the 19th century. Train-loads of day trippers used to come from London. There was a ballroom with a notice at the entrance that strictly forbade 'close dancing, Turkey Trot, Bunny Hug or any other Negro freakish dances'. And it was here that the Margate Strong Man committed the murder in 1895 for which he was hanged.
The three-car train clattered to a halt. 'There's somebody in it, driving,' said my assistant. She meant the brakeman. In modern roller-coasters, the victims are sent off without such protection. The ride lasted four minutes. I preferred the Big Wheel.
The Margate Scenic Railway is at Ordnance Survey reference number TR351705.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 2 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 3 Malnourished two-year-old found being breastfed by dog in Chile
- 5 YouTube video shows woman verbally abusing takeaway staff 'because they used green peppers'
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...
COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...