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Butlin's opens at Minehead

Billy Butlin expands his empire by opening a new resort at Minehead.

News 1962 3 mins Silent

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Butlin's Holiday Camp at Minehead in Somerset opened its doors in 1962 and this is early film of its first vacationers. It offered all-in holiday deals for the average family and was open to day visitors. Its facilities grew to include a chairlift, steam locomotives and sport activities. Nightly entertainment proved so popular at other resorts that a purpose-built theatre, the Playhouse was established from which entertainers launched successful careers.

Butlin started as a fairground stall owner before building his first two camps before the Second World War at Ingoldmells near Skegness in 1936 and at Clacton-on-Sea in Essex in 1938. He expanded his holiday camp empire even though they were requisitioned by the Military of Defence and used as shore bases. An MBE was awarded for his war effort in 1944. Statutory paid holiday had been introduced in 1938 and a post-war boom in holidaymaking established Sir Billy as the King of the Holiday Camp. Fred Pontin was his rival. Radio Butlin launched in 1946 and the camps really did wake holidaymakers with Wakey Wakey blaring over the tannoy system! Butlin retired to Jersey in 1969 leaving his son Bobby to run the business.