It was bliss at Butlin's when the family took a holiday
Were you one of those thousands of families in the mid 1960s or later, who spent their holiday at one of the many Butlin’s camps scattered around the British coast? Then The History of Advertising Trust ( HAT), based in Norfolk, may have a photograph of y
Afascinating part of the Butlin’s Heritage Collection, a series of images from the mid-1960s have been digitised and catalogued by the History of Advertising Trust (HAT), based in Raveningham in Norfolk.
Taken by the roving ‘walkie’ photographers at Butlin’s Bognor Regis, the images give a spontaneous and intimate window into the experiences of holidaymakers at that time.
In the dining hall a family, joined by Redcoats, gather round happily as eldest daughter ceremonially cuts the cake to mark her birthday.
In the kitchen, staff members scramble to prepare teapots for thirsty holidaymakers and wash crockery ready for the next sitting.
At the swimming pool Dad shows his lad the way, diving in with junior seconds behind. Poolside, proud siblings receive swimming certificates from a beaming Redcoat and in the boxing gym, victorious boys brandish trophies.
Next it’s nine holes on the putting green with Dad, draping his arm affectionately around his son between shots, snooker with a giggling Mum and table tennis with Grandad.
Then there’s just messing about
on the boating lake.
Other youngsters ride coinoperated spaceships, motorbikes and zebras at sixpence a time.
In the playground a girl bravely mounts a huge slide before having second thoughts halfway down.
At the fairground the carousel remains popular with young and old.
Youngsters seek bigger thrills on the rollercoaster, dodgems, Ferris wheel and ‘Waltzer’.
Heading for the beach, three siblings show off their striking sunhats. Two brothers have contrasting emotions about their Red Indian fancy dress, younger brother beams as his older sibling pouts.
Grandma enjoys her bingo, while on the lawn Grandad snoozes in the sun oblivious, as the rest of the family pose. It’s ice cream time but youngest struggles to stop drips melting down his arm.
That evening in the Blinking Owl bar a woman plants a big kiss on her husband’s cheek as he grins from ear to ear.
At the Beachcomber bar women in Hawaiian grass-skirts serve drinks as four young men in suits pose on the imitation rocks. In the George IV Cocktail bar an older man proudly exhibits the attributes he hopes will win him the Knobbly Knees competition come the morning.
Holidaymakers are thrilled to pose with their favourite Redcoats who in turn seem happy to oblige.
Even the photographers occasionally appear, amused by the novelty of being on the other side of the lens.
In the ballroom Eric Winstone’s big band delights the crowd. Everyone is enticed to dance, from slow-dancing romantic couples to holidaymakers having a rumba with a Redcoat to whole families doing the Twist.
In the Pig and Whistle bar even Grandma gets carried away, scaling a table for a knees-up.
As the night draws to a tired but contented end, revellers meander merrily towards their chalets.
Just another happy day at Butlin’s but uniquely one captured by the photographic services, preserved by Butlin’s and HAT and kept for posterity.
Did you spend family holidays at Butlin’s Bognor, or indeed at any of the other Butlin’s camps at Minehead, Skegness, Ayr, Clacton, Filey etc. If so share your memories with our readers. Write to Let’s Talk at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 1RE to email letstalk@ archant.co.uk.
A young boy and girl riding coin- operated zebra rides at Butlin’s Bognor, around 1965.
A family relaxing in the sun on the lawn at Butlin’s Bognor, also about 1965.
Male staff behind the scenes in the kitchen preparing metal teapots at Butlin’s Bognor, in about 1965.