Butlin's Clacton Camp
Butlin's Clacton
Welcome to Butlin's Clacton, a personal history of the Holiday Camp at Clacton on Sea.

Disclaimer: These pages celebrate the memories and document the unofficial history of Butlin's Holiday Camp at Clacton-on-Sea, which sadly no longer exists.
| EXIT | The Front Gate | Reception | Plan of Clacton CampMiniature Railway | Peter Jones |

B U T L I N' S Clacton opened on 11th June 1938. It closed to holidaymakers on 4th September 1939, but was used by the armed forces for the duration of World War II, re-opening on 6th April 1946. The Camp was spread over approximately 45 acres. A general decline in the popularity of basic seaside holidays, together with a decision to reduce the total number of camps lead to its final closure on 18th October 1983.

Twenty-Thirteen (2013) was the 75th anniversary since Butlin's Clacton first opened its gates. Clacton was Sir Billy Butlin's second camp, built to accommodate thousands of holidaymakers in lines of chalets, with on-site catering and the best entertainment.

Accommodation in the chalets was basic by today's standards. During the summer season there was no heating available and on-suite was a luxury that many Campers could not afford. An 'all-in' tariff provided three meals a day, at set times, in the large Dining Halls, where the holiday  atmosphere was jollied along by the Redcoats, on the 'wheel of fortune', for a lucky table to win a bottle of champagne. If the mass catering wasn't to your taste, you could fill up on fish 'n' chips, ice cream sundaes, or oriental cuisine from the many and varied restaurant/diners within the Camp.

The Redcoat revue shows, with famous singers, actors and comedians were second to none. Amusement arcades, rides for the children, TV Rooms, bars and clubs...  All manner of entertainment was provided, and so for (predominantly) the working classes and their families, the early Butlin's Clacton was a veritable paradise.

The heyday of the Camp was undoubtedly the 1960s when the site was still full of all-in tariff guests and the original infrastructure was mostly unchanged. Through the 1970s and beyond, holidaymakers expectations were greater, but the chalet lines were showing their age...

The Front Gate  
The Front Gate
As you entered a Butlin's Camp, you stepped into a magical world of fun and games, of brightly painted umbrellas, star - shaped luminaries, coloured lights and all the daily routines of a well organised holiday...

Photo: The lawns, flower beds and flags adjacent to the front gate (1967).
Into Reception to pay your balance, a deposit for your chalet keys, and to pick up an entertainment programme for the week.


Scan: Butlin's entertainment programme (1971).
Plan of Clacton Camp  
Plan of Clacton Camp 1969
Explore the Camp as you knew it...

Scan: Plan of the Camp (1969).
Miniature Railway  
Miniature Railway
Located on a windy corner close to the boating lake and Dining Halls, a ride on the miniature train was comparatively exhilarating...

Photo: Baguley 3232 approaches the station (1967).
Peter Jones  
Peter Jones' Butlins
Peter Jones remembers his holiday in 1975.

Photo: The Joneses.

The History of Advertising Trust

In June 2015 the History of Advertising Trust (HAT) launched a digital archiving project with Butlin's (Bourne Leisure) to catalogue and share its long history. It is expected that access to the archive will be ready to co-incide with Butlin's 80th anniversary (April 2016).



Project was due to complete by 2020.


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