Exploring old Butlins sites...

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Re: Exploring old Butlins sites...

Postby Toby Dammit » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:20 am

I added another couple to the collection at the weekend.

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This one of Gardens and Camp Signpost is tentatively addressed to "Mr & Mrs Whyte" but abruptly ends there. You can see the Tiki adorned read enterance to the Beachcomber bar in the background

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This evocative one called just Night Scene shows the main enterance to the Beachecomber Bar which was on the ground floor. The top floor included a diner, the Stuart Bar, an amusment arcade and a dancefloor where the likes of the knobbly knees and fancy dress competitions were held. Odd that it shows the chairlifts working at night, that's something I never saw happening and would probably have been seen as a lack of health and safety gone mad even back then. The chairlifts were basically tin buckets with little doors secured by a sneck. I wonder if this was just laid on for the photograph or if they did run them after dark?
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Re: Exploring old Butlins sites...

Postby Toby Dammit » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:49 pm

The obsession with the chairlifts and the Beachcomber Bar continues with these 2 recent acquisitions.

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The one titled Sun Lawns and Tennis Court reminds me vividly of the rattle and bump as the chairlift first soared from its starting station on the right of the picture, over the little folly castle gateway. The brightly coloured umbrellas could be set dressings from THE PRISONER, and you do wonder how many days a year a Sun Lawn was actually required. This card was posted to "Mum and Dad" in the tiny village of South Hetton in County Durham, with news of an enjoyable train journey, some rain and sun (weather “smashing till this morning”) and “plenty to do”.

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Chairlift Over The Beachcomber Bar would suggest that the titular chairlift was the most important thing in this picture, instead of the tiny red bucket, lost and suspended at the top of the image. As usual Noble’s photo features an awkward gaggle of figures spread across the setting, like a bunch of movie extras refusing to listen to an assistant director. The kids sitting Knights Templar style on the donkey could almost be my little sister and I, I've got a photo somewhere of us plonked on a large stuffed toy similar to the patient beast pictured here (who looks alive and real).

This card was sent to Lochgelly (in Fife) on Waterloo day, 1984, ten years and a day exactly after Sun Lawns and Tennis Court and again reports good weather and “plenty to see + do here”. It was written while “sitting in the quiet lounge”, which may or may not have been true but anyway, after all these years it doesn't really matter.
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Re: Exploring old Butlins sites...

Postby Bingo Bango » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:45 am

Is that Billy Connely watching the donkey photographer in the last image there? 8O
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Re: Exploring old Butlins sites...

Postby Ruchazie Rat » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:41 pm

Those ones titled "Sunlawns" are a good laugh. Must`ve had Photoshop way back in the 70`s and kept really quiet about it!
Pretty sure they didn`t run the chairlifts after dark. It couldn`t been taken during the bi-annual clock-messing BST rubbish as the camp`s season was usually April-Sept. Could`ve been snapped during one below-par summer afternoon? The Glasgow Fair maybe.....
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Re: Exploring old Butlins sites...

Postby Ruchazie Rat » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:01 pm

The Quiet Lounge. That`s the Heads Of Ayr out those windows. But why are those women BLUECOATS instead of Redcoats?? Was this a trial-idea? They looked like nurses and looked after the old-folk? I recall the old-timers hanging around there. Great comfortable old lounge chairs, and very quiet too. (The windows were probably double-glazed).

Upstairs was very much the same but the tv`s were there. (Or, rather, one of them was. The other, methinks, was somewhere around the snooker halls, but partitioned off. That`s right, just STV and BBC1. The good old days!).
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Re: Exploring old Butlins sites...

Postby Toby Dammit » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:32 am

Here's a couple more photos of the Beachcomber Bar's exterior I found online recently, this time without the crazy hyper lighting and colouring of the Hinde studio output (much as I love them).

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The top one looks as thought it may have been snapped from the chairlifts.
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Re: Exploring old Butlins sites...

Postby alan2001 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:37 pm

Toby Dammit wrote:The top one looks as thought it may have been snapped from the chairlifts.


It most definitely is! And I have proof!

This is me going down the chairlift in 1974, at a slightly higher elevation.

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Some more of my brother and I:

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Re: Exploring old Butlins sites...

Postby Toby Dammit » Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:54 pm

Great chairlift shots there alan2001. I bought this never sent postcard at the weekend, another colour saturated outing by D. Noble made sometime in the early 1970's. As well as the fashions and hairstyles the biggest pointers to the approximate date are the hanging cocktail signs priced in the "new" decimal currency introduced in Feb 1971. Back then you could get a Paradise for 25p, but a Cuban would cost you 3 new pence more.

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This one of the Beachcomber Bar gives us a tantalizing glimpse of the little trompe l'oeil island whose lights went out during the thunder storms. The illusion is slightly marred by the shadow cast by one of the multiple flash bulbs the Hinde studios used on their shoots. It is a rather rare picture though, and until it came up on ebay I'd never seen it illustrated before anywhere.

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The scene is of course a complete work of fiction, its the early 1970's in a Scottish pub and not a single person is smoking.
Last edited by Toby Dammit on Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:03 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Exploring old Butlins sites...

Postby gap74 » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:08 am

Cracker, Toby - I only wish I wasn't so young that I didn't take in more on my Butlins trips in the late 70s and early 80s. Then again, I saw these things through a kid's eyes, so there was probably more magic in my perceptions than in reality!
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