This film is part of Free

Wish You Were Here at Butlins Minehead

Clive Gunnell takes Mrs Sotherton on a convincing tour of Butlins Minehead.

News 1966 6 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


The Butlin or Butlin's Holiday Camp opened to the public at Minehead on 26 May 1962. TV reporter Clive Gunnell joins Mrs Sotherton on the chairlift, a new addition installed in 1965, to gauge her opinion of the all amenities holiday town. Minehead was the eighth of nine mega-holiday camps and theme parks built by Butlin from 1936 to 1966, which offered full-board all-inclusive holidays for all at coastal locations in the UK with fairground-style attractions.

Billy Butlin (1899-1980) was born in South Africa and his mother's family were fairground owners. He and his mother ran a variety of stalls at fairgrounds until in the mid 1930s when Billy acquired land near Skegness and started to build his first holiday camp at Ingoldmells. He introduced uniforms for staff with an embroidered B on jackets creating the famous Redcoats who helped provide day and night entertainment. By the 1970s the camps were in competition with holidays abroad and Butlin retired in 1969 and moved to Jersey. In 1973 Rank Organisation took over the camps and Minehead survives to this day. Butlin's gravestone in St John is a double bed with a holiday camp engraved on the headboard.