Thursday, July 17, 2014

Collections Highlights: Butlin's Badge

Wakefield Museums hold over 120,000 historic objects that have been acquired on behalf of those who live, work in or visit the Wakefield district.

Many of the objects are on display at our museum venues, but we can't display everything at once! This series of blog posts will highlight some of the collections, both on display and off, by showing a photograph and some information about the object.
We'd love to know your thoughts about the objects featured in this series so if you have a memory linked to an object or if you can add some more background information about them please do leave a comment for us.
Butlin's Badge

This colourful badge was issued in Filey in 1955. During the camp's life, from 1939 to 1983, Filey was the only Butlin's in Yorkshire. These holidays were very different with entertainment for both families in the day and for adults at night. The all-in cost enabled children to use the swimming pool and rides as often as they liked. For the parents, it meant a break from non-stop parenting and endless cooking and washing-up.

Holiday camps after the Second World War were just another aspect of Prime Minister Macmillan's "you have never had it so good" society. For many families, this was the fist time that you had an affordable holiday where you were not kicked out for most of the day as had been the case in boarding houses (a very real consideration in the British climate).

Butlin's, Pontin's and Warner's cannily developed a number of camps along the coast which brought together the recent legislation on paid holidays and the availability of old army bases no longer needed after 1945. Many families developed a strong preference for one or other site and returned year after year. As whole factories or pits closed for the same time, it was possible to renew friendships with staff and fellow campers. To a great extent, you holidayed with the people you worked with the rest of the year.

Fond memories come in different forms:
  • "Good morning campers, breakfast is now being served in the Ocean Lounge!"
  • The humiliation at the knobbly knees competition.
  • Fun flirting and the dream of romance on the dance floor...
  • The donkey derby.
  • The chair lifts.
  • The stamp on you hand if you went out of the camp.
  • The threatened lock out if you were not back by ten!
 Enjoy your summer holiday.....

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