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Minehead - A personal account by Karim Back

Thought I would drop you an email about Butlins Minehead. My Dad worked there from 1983 to 2006, he worked all over the place there but mainly stayed in the amusements etc.

His first job was on the bumper cars when the funfair was at the back of the camp. After that he was 'promoted' to the octopus (the old one, not the new one). Then he worked on the mexican hat ending up with the phantom chaser (not sure if you remember that one if you visited, it was in the shed, it occupied the entire left hand side). After that he spent a few years working on the skate rink that used to run along the boat lake. I remember all of this quite well, when I was young I would spend days with him during the school holidays.

After that he decided he needed to do something more exciting, so worked on security untill the early nineties, when he made his move into the amusment arcades (by this time, they were run by a spererate arm of Rank, and remained so until Richard Bourne bought the whole lot). There he remained untill 2006.

I naturally do not have the holiday memories of others when it comes to this Butlins, but I spent many hot summers there in and out of the pool and in the funfair with some of my mates. I met a lot of people who are part of the Butlins folklore there and are considered near mythical now by some of the people now running it. I saw the things that most holiday makers didn't see, like in the winter when the whole place would shut up shop and all the staff would be invited to stay on and redecorate. I even worked there a bit. When I was about 13 I worked as a barrow boy shifting peoples luggage during the summer holidays. When I was 16 I spent a summer working in the burger shack next to the Crazy Horse to earn money for my own holiday. From '98 to 2000 I worked for my dad in the arcades before moving up to Scotland for uni. I worked breifly there in xmas 2001 and all summer in 2002. Thankfully I have never needed to work there again, but still have a lot of good friends who do so. Some are even family now.

I have seen the place grow and shrink (or maybe I just got taller) for over 16 years. I even saw the affects of the ghost in the old beach comber building (that might be gone by now I think, it was condemend in 2000 at least and we dropped a safe through the floor in 2002).

One good thing about the re-development is that the bad bits are now gone. The horrible families are banned, there are no caravaners (you might not have seen how bad those guys were), the gypsies are not allowed on site.

I think I even have butlins uniform going back to 1998 for myself, and from Dad probably from at least the late 80s.

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