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Butlins Timeline Back

Additions/corrections most welcome!

For more details relating to a particular camp, please follow the links above

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

Laurel & Hardy play a week at the Gaiety Theatre at Skegness, week commencing 23 June
1948 Ayr - Heads of Ayr Hotel opens

Mosney camp opened

Skegness - Butlins airport opened next door.

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

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 and indoor pool added
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

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

Uncle Boko dies
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 - 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

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 on Wednesday 5th June - see this site for a personal account of the fire

Prior to the fire, the Ingoldmells Hotel was outside the camp fence, used mainly as a watering hole by staff at this stage. Immediately after the fire, the fence was moved and the Ingoldmells building was used to make up for the buildings lost in the fire

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

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
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.
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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