Butlins

Butlin’s Clacton

Butlins-Clacton-seaside-portrait

Butlin’s camp at Clacton was one of the earliest, and opened in the summer of 1938 only to have to close during the War. It reopened in 1946 to the public and I suspect this souvenir postcard was of some of the first visitors.
The camp had it’s own access to the beach (with a ticket so you could be readmitted!). Butlin’s also had their own photographic department, and took souvenir postcard pictures of holidaymakers which could later be bought at the kiosk. There was a reference number stamped on the back.
The woman in the centre is I’m fairly certain the mother of the two younger girls seen on the 1938 walking picture taken in Bridlington posted a few days ago.

Butlins Clacton stamp

There is a Butlin’s Filey souvenir photo on the site.

 

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Family walkies

Philip Brooke, Filey, 1957, walking picture

I do like finding walkies of people I know, and this first one (WP879) came to light only a few weeks ago when I was visiting relatives and remembered to ask. It shows my late Uncle with his two youngest children (the family lived in Hull), and was taken in the East Yorkshire coastal town of Filey around 1957. They’re clearly just heading onto the beach and I like the casual gear my Uncle is wearing, very wide trousers, jumper and open necked shirt.
I cannot quite work out where on the Filey seafront it was taken as there have been a lot of changes, but will have a look next time I’m over that way. But it does really show how the walkie could capture so well a very ordinary moment that would otherwise have been forgotten.
It is also another tiny piece of the walkie story as it’s the first example taken in Filey I have seen. It is a seaside resort but quite peaceful, and perhaps didn’t generate the trade to attract many walking picture operators. It is unmarked and looks like it might have originally been one of a pair judging by the way it is roughly cut at the bottom edge.

Billy Audas-Gill Holtby

The second walkie is another which turned up in my Aunt’s photo albums. It shows my Great Uncle William striding down Marlborough Terrace, and the young girl is my Aunt, who was then attending Bridlington High School for Girls, so it would be around 1937 (the family were living on Cardigan Road in the town). The walkie is also unmarked and would be one of a strip of three originally. The same firm took lots on this stretch of road, and given it is so busy you can see why. Coaches also used to stop off here to drop day trippers.
I have another walkie of them on almost exactly the same spot taken on a different day. As residents of the town they must have come across walkie cameramen before, but seem to be either ignoring him, too busy chatting (or “here’s another ruddy cameraman, pay no attention,” knowing my Uncle). But they still bought the strip. The woman to their immediate right dressed like a nurse or perhaps a maid is certainly looking straight into the lens.

Both walkies have an everyday feel about them which really crosses the years. I can even connect the two walkies, as the young girl in the Bridlington print married the gentleman in the Filey print in 1964…  There are some more formal family photographs of the pair on the site.


Butlin Holiday Picture

Butlin Holiday Picture, August 1948, two teenage boys

Although not walkies, Butlin Holiday Pictures have a similar casual feel about them and the system operated in much the same way. Butlin’s allowed (and employed) photographers to work on their sites to snap visitors during their holidays, and you could then pick up a postcard print from the site photo booth later.  The booths also developed, printed and sold film, cameras and other odds and ends to holiday-makers.
As far as I know walkies were not taken, and people just stood and posed for the photographer. Very popular were shots of people riding the bicycle buggies to get around the camp.  I do have a few Butlins Snaps and most are like the example here.  They can easily be identified by the corner flash, “A Butlin Holiday Picture”, just set on a piece of clear plastic in the corner of the photo frame during exposure in the darkroom.
This Butlin’s postcard has the date stamped on the back, 20th August 1948, plus an index number which probably corresponds to a ticket given to the customers.  The two teenage lads are very tidily dressed, white shoes, slacks, short sleeved shirts and ties and also have a Butlin enamel badge on. As Butlin’s changed the designs of these each season, using the Bygone Butlins site I have identified this as Filey.
I do not know who the lads are for certain, but the one on the left may be a member of the Hirst family, and is seen ‘walking out’ with a Miss Bradbury in a few walkies (which we have on the site!). They came from the Huddersfield area so this makes the Filey holiday their nearest Butlins.