Bognor Regis Local Customs

  • Fun at Butlins Bognor Regis
    Fun at Butlins Bognor Regis
    by budapest8
  • Sunny Bognor
    Sunny Bognor
    by budapest8
  • early Butlins brochure
    early Butlins brochure
    by budapest8

Most Recent Local Customs in Bognor Regis

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    History of the Butlins Empire

    by budapest8 Written Mar 3, 2007

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    early Butlins postcard


    1991 Bognor - miniature railway removed
    1993 Minehead - part of boating lake filled in to provide new site for fairground

    Skegness - new monorail trains
    1994 Grand Hotel London opens
    1996 Barry Island closes

    Minehead - monorail closes

    Pwllheli - miniature railway removed
    1997 Barry Island sold to local council

    Minehead - chairlift removed. Beachcomber bar closes

    Pwllheli - Boomerang coaster removed

    Last year for Glamorous Grandmother & Holiday Princess contests
    1998 Barry Island - all 800 chalets demolished along with the Princes building. Regency & Gaiety buildings survive.

    Ayr closes as a Butlins centre. Several attractions removed/demolished including chairlift, Burns building, Stuart building, Arran building, most of the chalets and the fairground. Regency & Bruce buildings survive along with the 1980s food plaza.

    Pwllheli closes as a Butlins centre. Several attractions removed including chairlift and amusement park. Most buildings demolished including remainder of Yellow & Red camps, rest of buildings & chalets retained and refurbished.
    All Butlin hotels sold

    Major upgrading begins at Bognor, Minehead & Skegness

    New indoor funpool opens at Minehead
    1999 Ayr & Pwllheli reopen as Haven caravan parks. £25 million invested

    Remaining three centres rebranded. £139 million invested. Skyline Pavilions added

    Minehead - Windsor Building demolished
    2000 Company sold to Bourne Leisure

    Further investment continues at remaining centres
    2001 Mosney closes as a holiday camp
    2002 Skegness - monorail removed
    2003 Bognor - Part of York building demolished. New hotel announced

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    History of the Butlins Empire

    by budapest8 Written Mar 3, 2007

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    Fun at Butlins Bognor Regis


    1987 Bognor - renamed 'Southcoast World'. £16.5 million invested. Old Regency building demolished and replaced with new indoor funpool, new and upgraded accomodation and new miniature steam railway

    Clacton - all buildings demolished

    Pwllheli - Boomerang coaster opens

    Skegness - renamed 'Funcoast World'. £13.5 million invested. New indoor funpool along with new and upgraded accomodation and buildings
    1988 Ayr - renamed 'Wonderwest World'. £25 million invested over next 5 years. New indoor
    funpool, new food plaza, new & upgraded accomodation including caravans. Miniature railway removed and old shopping centre building demolished.

    Filey - camp contents auctioned
    1989 Barry Island - chairlift closes

    Filey - demolition begins

    Minehead - miniature railway removed and replaced by road train

    Pwllheli - tornado hits camp and causes £2 million worth of damage

    Skegness - chairlift removed

    Last year for Miss Lovely Legs contest

    Redcoat uniform redesigned by Zandra Rhodes
    1990s The following occured in the 1990s. Confirmation of year/s welcome

    Ayr - Indoor & outdoor pools close

    Minehead - Windsor building demolished
    1990 Pwllheli - renamed 'Starcoast World'. £27 million invested. New indoor funpool, new foodcourt, new & upgraded accomodation including apartments, caravans and lodges.

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    History of the Butlins Empire

    by budapest8 Written Mar 3, 2007

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    Sunny Bognor



    Bognor - new chalets built

    Minehead - new chalets built

    Pwllheli - outdoor pool converted into funpool
    1984 Clacton sold & reopens briefly as 'Atlas Park'. Closes down soon after

    Bobby Butlin retires

    Minehead - new outdoor funpool

    Skegness - new outdoor funpool
    1985 Bognor - dining rooms refurbished

    Clacton - camp contents auctioneed

    Minehead - new miniature railway running from Reception to Flatlets

    Filey sold to new owner. Most of White & Yellow camps demolished. 40 acres of land sold to caravan park next door.
    1986 Barry Island sold to Majestic Holidays. Remains open

    Filey reopens briefly as 'Amtree Park'. Closes down soon after

    Minehead - renamed 'Somerwest World'. £10 million invested. Indoor pool converted into 'Sunsplash' funpool, nearly 500 new apartments built with remaining buildings and accomodation refurbished.

    New indoor funpool built for Cliftonville hotels

    'Hi-de-Hi' catchphrase officially banned by company

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    History of the Butlins Empire

    by budapest8 Written Mar 3, 2007

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    early Butlins brochure in '80's



    Minehead - Playhouse Theatre burns down
    1972 Company sold to Rank for £43 million
    1973 Pwllheli - Gaiety Building burns down
    1974 Minehead - Steam locos removed

    Skegness - Princes & Reception buildings burn down

    Radio Butlin toned down
    1975 Skegness - new train for miniature railway
    1976 Filey - new train for miniature railway

    Minehead - new Flatlets built on site of old sports field
    1977 Ayr - new train for miniature railway

    Clacton - new train for miniature railway

    Filey - mainline railway station closes

    Radio Butlin scrapped
    1978 Bognor - new Blue camp Flatlets built

    Pwllheli - new train for miniature railway

    Grand Hotel Scarborough acquired
    1979 El Griego hotel in Torremolinos Spain acquired
    1980s The following occured in the 1980s. Confirmation of year/s welcome

    Ayr - 'Looping Star' roller coaster added

    Bognor - Nursery building demolished

    Minehead - Oasis indoor pool built.
    1980 Sir Billy Butlin dies

    Ayr - £1.8 million invested

    Mosney - Advertised for sale

    Miss Lovely Legs contest first held

    Record year as 1.2 million people visit the camps & hotels
    1981 Minehead - more new Flatlets built as part of £1 million investment

    Grand Hotel Llandudno acquired
    1982 Mosney camp sold to new owner. Remains open

    Last year for show jumping contest
    1983 Clacton and Filey close

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    History of the Butlins Empire

    by budapest8 Written Mar 3, 2007

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    early Butlins brochure


    Bognor camp opened

    Pwllheli - chairlift opened. First 'Puffing Billy' road train arrives. Ringo Starr makes his first Butlins appearance.
    1961 Filey - chairlift opened
    1962 Filey - Gaiety Theatre opens.

    Minehead camp opened

    Skegness - miniature railway and chairlift opened
    1963 One million people visit the camps & hotels this year

    Pwllheli - Gaiety Building opens. Queen & Prince Philip visit the camp

    First show jumping contest held
    1964 Billy Butlin receives knighthood

    Ayr - Stuart building opened. New train for miniature railway

    Filey - new Reception building opened

    Minehead - miniature railway opened. Full size steam locos arrive

    Pwllheli - new Nursery building opened

    Skegness - Princes building opens
    1965 Ayr - Full size steam locos arrive

    Filey - Beachcomber building opens

    Minehead - chairlift opened

    Pwllheli - busiest season ever, camp filled to capacity for several weeks

    Skegness - monorail opened
    1966 Barry Island opened

    Butlins annual reunion finishes
    1967 Barry Island - chairlift opened

    Minehead - monorail opened

    Butlins badges discontinued
    1968 Ayr - mainline railway station closes

    Barry Island - Beachcomber building burns down

    Billy Butlin retires. Son Bobby takes over

    Single sex bookings banned
    1969 Filey - Blue Camp self-catering chalets built
    1970s The following (probably) occured in the 1970s. Confirmation of year/s welcome

    Ayr - Heads of Ayr hotel closes

    Minehead - Dry ski slope removed

    Pwllheli - New Gaiety Theatre. Red Camp Flatlets built. Major self-catering conversions to remaining chalets

    Skegness - Ingoldmells hotel closes. Red Camp Flatlets built. South swimming pool filled in
    1970 Last year for Duke of Edinburgh Scheme

    Steam locos removed from Ayr & Skegness
    1971 Major chalet refurbishment at several camps

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    History of the Butlins Empire

    by budapest8 Written Mar 3, 2007

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    Fun at Butlins Bognor Regis



    Billy Butlin acquires two hotels in the Bahamas
    1950s The following (probably) occured in the 1950s. Confirmation of year/s welcome

    Ayr - indoor pool & amusement park opened

    Clacton - indoor pool opened

    Pwllheli - indoor pool & amusement park opened. Empire Theatre built.

    Skegness - indoor pool & amusement park opened
    1950 Butlins Bahamas opens

    Bobby Butlin (Billy's son) works at Ayr for a season as a redcoat
    1951 Butlins Beaver club started
    1953 Filey - miniature railway and indoor pool added

    Pwllheli - miniature railway and Peter Pan railway added

    Skegness - major flood hits the camp

    Ocean Hotel Saltdean acquired

    Butlins Bahamas put into liquidation
    1955 Clacton - camp enlarged. 600 new chalets added (later known as Blue camp)

    St Georges, Queens, Norfolk & Florence hotels in Cliftonville acquired

    Metropole Hotel Blackpool acquired

    First Glamorous Grandmother contest held
    1956 Ayr - miniature railway opened

    Grand & Princes hotels in Cliftonville acquired along with four other nearby hotels bringing the total up to ten in Cliftonville. (anyone know the rest?)

    First Miss She contest held
    1957 Filey - Charlie the elephant arrives
    1958 Cliff Richard appears at Clacton
    1959 Sheerness amusement park sold

    Ayr - chairlift opened

    Billy Butlin appears on 'This is your Life'
    1960s The following (probably) occured in the 1960s. Confirmation of year/s welcome

    Ayr - various new buildings (Gaiety (Burns), Bruce, Arran, Nursery and Bingo Theatre)

    Clacton - various new buildings (Reception, Nursery, Junior Showplace, Dining Halls)

    Filey - Red & White camps converted to self-catering

    Skegness - new Queens Building, Sports Stadium closes
    1960 Duke of Edinburgh Scheme launched at the camps

    Uncle Boko dies

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    History of the Butlins Empire

    by budapest8 Written Mar 3, 2007

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    Butlins early brochure


    Bognor and Butlins are like Cream and strawberries
    Fish and chips a part of the British Institution and history!


    Butlins Timeline

    1899 Billy Butlin is born in South Africa
    1921 Billy Butlin arrives in the UK
    1927 Billy Butlin opens an amusement park in Skegness
    1928 Billy Butlin opens an amusement park in Mablethorpe
    1930 Billy Butlin opens an amusement park in Bognor Regis
    1931 Billy Butlin opens amusement parks in Hayling Island, Felixstowe & Southsea

    Harry Warner opens his first holiday camp
    1932 Billy Butlin opens an amusement park in Littlehampton
    1936 Skegness camp opened with 600 chalets. Redcoats make their first appearance.
    1937 Billy Butlin opens an amusement park in Clacton

    Skegness - camp doubled in size
    1938 Billy Butlin opens an amusement park at the Glasgow Empire Exhibition

    Clacton camp opened

    Skegness - Turkish baths destroyed by fire
    1939 Filey - construction of camp begins. Not completed due to outbreak of war

    Skegness - Butlin Theatre opens (later known as the Gaiety Theatre). Duchess of Gloucester visits the camp to open the new Gloucester Dining Hall.

    Skegness & Clacton taken over for wartime use
    1941 Ayr, Filey & Pwllheli completed and opened as military camps
    1944 Billy Butlin awarded the MBE
    1945 Billy Butlin buys Sheerness amusement park

    Filey opens as a holiday camp
    1946 Skegness & Clacton reopen as holiday camps

    First Holiday Princess contest held

    First Butlins Reunion held at the Royal Albert Hall

    Billy Butlin takes over Dreamland Amusement Park in Margate

    Fred Pontin opens his first holiday camp
    1947 Ayr & Pwllheli open as holiday camps

    Butlins Nursery service begins
    1948 Ayr - Heads of Ayr Hotel opens

    Mosney camp opened

    Skegness - Butlins airport opened next door. Laurel & Hardy pay a visit

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