Jan 22 2012: Five Monochrome Snapshots from a Butlin’s Holiday Camp (1960s)

A previous post looked at the delights to be experienced at one of Fred Pontin’s holiday camps, as seen through the brochure the company published to keep guests informed about events and schedules – and the products on offer from a variety of advertisers, naturally – during the week they’d be spending at the Broadreeds camp in Selsey-on-Sea, sometime during 1967, while the ‘Summer of Love’ presumably happened mostly elsewhere. Here, we have a slightly earlier view of British holiday camp culture from the visitor’s side: there’s no information on these photographs, but their context suggests they feature a Nottingham family at Butlin’s in Skegness sometime in the early to middle sixties (though that’s not entirely certain: the Davy Crockett costume seen in one image may place the snaps earlier still, possibly into the later 1950s, and while the swimming pool and interiors seem to correspond to the John Hinde images I’ve seen elsewhere showing Skegness, similarities with other locations can’t be entirely ruled out). As for the snapshots themselves, quite what the lumpen chicken sculpture was all about, or what the young boy with his rosette had won his accolade for, are both mysteries. And while the national service ethos underlying these institutions at the time is reasonably clear, those participating in the holiday itself seem happy enough with the recreation on offer, if the evidence of these pictures is to be trusted.

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