BUTLINS SKEGNESS - The Golden Years

Here is the first in what I hope will be a long-running series of stories from guests who
have holidayed at Butlin's Skegness during its
GOLDEN YEARS (1936-1986)

EMMERSON, LAKE, AND PALM TREES

Sue Emmerson writes:

Great site! It brought back many happy memories. I first went to Butlins in 1973 with my parents and sisters. I have continued visiting with 3 husbands (not at the same time), my children, and now my grandchildren. In 1979, when I first took my eldest son and daughter, they were just 1 and 2 years-old. Nowadays, my youngest son regularly takes his 3 children - and is a Premium Club member. They love the "Bob the Builder" theme.
We were on holiday at Butlins Skegness in 1974, during the week that the fire broke out in the Princess Ballroom. Earlier that week I entered the "Miss Lovely Legs" competition.
Butlins Lovely Legs Skegness 1974 A.J Marriot
When I visited Skegness in the 70s, I particularly liked the fairground - especially the "Wild Mouse" ride.
Butlins Skegness Funfair 1973 at Redcoats Reunited
My parents enjoyed a more sedate pastime, like watching the "It`s A Knockout" on the sportsfield. Today it would have to be called: "It's a Washout" as that's where the outdoor pool is now situated.
Butlins Skegness 1974 It's a Knockout at Redcoats Reunited

The dining rooms were a place of song and laughter. Often the chef would walk through with a birthday cake and the staff would sing and clap. *1 (see below)

We still laugh at the memory of the Tannoy speakers, which used to be situated at the end of every row of chalets. Early in the morning you would be woken up by the Radio Butlin announcer bellowing out "Good Morning Campers."
Radio Butlin at Redcoats Reunited

And then there were the notice boards, in the dance halls and entertainment places, which would light up to let you know there was a baby crying in a chalet.

The nursery staff would ride along the chalets on their bikes listening out for babies crying and, when they heard one, would come into the venues and operate the boards, so that the chalet number lit up and flashed.

I personally liked the Milk Bar where you could get a frothy Horlicks drink, and the staff would fill your flask up for the journey home

I have seen some good turns in the Gaiety Theatre:- David Essex, Cannon & Ball, Little & Large, Jess Conrad, Showaddywaddy, and many more. Sadly the theatre is long-gone but, ironically, all those acts are still working. Usually it's the other way round.

Butlins Skegness Gaiety Theatre at Redcoats Reunited
Personally, I disliked the chair lifts which went over the centre of the camp - but my children loved them. I did like the boating lake near the beach entrance, and the Crazy Golf at the front of the camp. My sisters enjoyed the skating rink. Sad to say, all three of these attractions have now been replaced by CAR PARKS. At this rate, the whole camp will soon be a car park.
Butlins Skegness booating lake 1972 at Redcoats Reunited
Butlins Skegness putting green at Redcoats Reunited
Butlins Skegness skating rink at Redcoats Reunited

In January 1998, we were the last guests to stay in the self-catering flatlets on the Roman Bank site, as, almost as soon as we had vacated, they were demolished. At the time, a former husband of mine was working there.

Butlins Skegness Roman Bank at Redcoats Reunited

I now collect postcards and laugh at those which describe Butlins Skegness has having "Running Water." We also chuckle at the adverts for "Fish & Chips 2/6d." You wouldn't get much for that now, would you?

So much as changed over the years, but we still love Butlins Skegness.

Sue Emmerson


G

"A.J" COMMENTS:

Hello Sue, Thanks for writing the above. Some great shared memories there, which I'm sure readers will enjoy. As for presenting Birthday cakes, I certainly remember that, but it was never the Chef or Dining Hall staff, it was ALWAYS the Redcoats. We would stand at the Dining Hall doors 10 minutes BEFORE meal times, and stay there till 10 minutes AFTER. Then, just as we were about to sit down to eat, a dining hall supervisor would inform us there was a Birthday cake. I used to have to run around the tables gathering as many Redcoats as I could see, collect the cake, light the candles, then take it to the table and sing to the Birthday person. Sometimes there could be 2, 3 or even 4 cakes, which left us with about 2 minutes to eat our meal, then run the full length of the Camp to open the Gaiety Theatre. No wonder I lost twelve pound in weight over the season. I wouldn't like to try that routine now the old legs have gone.

o-o-0-o-o


Do you have any memories of your holiday(s) at Butlin's Skegness?
If so, please e-mail them to A.J Marriot, and share them with other readers:


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