The East Anglian Film Archive, the first and largest Regional Film Archive in England, was established in 1976. Since 1984, EAFA has been owned and operated by the University of East Anglia, Norwich (UEA), to support research and work to preserve our moving image heritage. More than 250 hours are freely available online as examples of the wide range of film which attracts interest the world over.
This film is part of Free
Anglia TV reporter, Paul Barnes revisits the busy Butlins holiday camp at Skegness where he once worked as a Redcoat.
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The role of the Redcoat was created by Billy Butlin when the first guests at Skegness were not engaging with his ideas for the holiday camp. He recruited Norman Bradford, who was employed on site construction, to entertain the holidaymakers with jokes and to develop the well-known Butlins atmosphere. Over the years, the Redcoats’ jackets have been styled by well-known designers including Jeff Banks and Zandra Rhodes, but are always red to be easily seen and friendly.
In 1936, the Butlins holiday camp at Skegness was the very first of Billy (later, Sir William) Butlin’s camps to be built, offering accommodation for 1,000 guests in 600 chalets with electricity and hot and cold running water. The camp also offered a theatre, a gym, a swimming pool and a boating lake and was officially opened by aviator, Amy Johnson. With the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939, holidaymakers were sent home and the camp was taken over by the Royal Navy, becoming training establishment ‘HMS Royal Arthur’. The camp reopened to post-war holidaymakers in May 1946 following minor bomb damage repair work.