|Butlin's Clacton Camp|
|| EXIT | The Front Gate | Reception | Plan of Clacton Camp | Miniature Railway | Peter Jones ||
B U T L I N' S Clacton opened on 11th June 1938. It closed to holidaymakers on 4th September 1939, but was used by the armed forces for the duration of World War II, re-opening on 6th April 1946. The Camp was spread over approximately 45 acres. A general decline in the popularity of basic seaside holidays, together with a decision to reduce the total number of camps lead to its final closure on 18th October 1983.
Twenty-Thirteen (2013) was the 75th anniversary since Butlin's Clacton first opened its gates. Clacton was Sir Billy Butlin's second camp, built to accommodate thousands of holidaymakers in lines of chalets, with on-site catering and the best entertainment.
Accommodation in the chalets was basic by today's standards. During the summer season there was no heating available and on-suite was a luxury that many Campers could not afford. An 'all-in' tariff provided three meals a day, at set times, in the large Dining Halls, where the holiday atmosphere was jollied along by the Redcoats, on the 'wheel of fortune', for a lucky table to win a bottle of champagne. If the mass catering wasn't to your taste, you could fill up on fish 'n' chips, ice cream sundaes, or oriental cuisine from the many and varied restaurant/diners within the Camp.
The Redcoat revue shows, with famous singers, actors and comedians were second to none. Amusement arcades, rides for the children, TV Rooms, bars and clubs... All manner of entertainment was provided, and so for (predominantly) the working classes and their families, the early Butlin's Clacton was a veritable paradise.
The heyday of the Camp was undoubtedly the 1960s when the site was still full of all-in tariff guests and the original infrastructure was mostly unchanged. Through the 1970s and beyond, holidaymakers expectations were greater, but the chalet lines were showing their age...
The History of Advertising Trust
In June 2015 the History of Advertising Trust (HAT) launched a digital archiving project with Butlin's (Bourne Leisure) to catalogue and share its long history. It is expected that access to the archive will be ready to co-incide with Butlin's 80th anniversary (April 2016).
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