The Butlins holiday camp souvenir photographs are a subject all to themselves, and I do turn them up from time to time, usually taken in the camp grounds or nearby beach (there is a nice example of the site). They always have the little Butlins overlays in the corner. But this example is new to me, sent by Paul Godfrey. At first glance I assumed the young lad was montaged into the negative at the printing stage, but the canny photographers at the Clacton Butlins camp had gone one better. They built a giant wooden postcard format stand, and cut an oval in the centre for people to pose in. They rightly reasoned that nobody would really notice the joins when it was printed out at postcard size. Paul notes that the camp did open for a couple of years prior to WW2 but at that time the souvenir photo franchise was run by Empire Films. When it reopened later it was taken back in-house. The little bits of detail you can pick out in the montage suggest an early 1950s date for this print.
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.
There is a Butlin’s Filey souvenir photo on the site.
Empire Films took walkies in Clacton On Sea during the Thirties, and we have added a short history of the firm to our site.