FOR people of a certain age, holidays in Clacton mean only one thing - trips to Butlin’s.

The popular camp opened in June 1938 and enjoyed huge success during its heyday in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

The camp, owned by Billy Butlin, initially provided accommodation for 1,000 holidaymakers.

Although only 400 arrived for the first week, the camp was fully booked for most of the season and further building was already underway to provide a further 500 places.

By the end of the first year, the Gazette reported that the camp had been a “greater success than ever imagined”, both in terms of the camp itself and its acceptance in the town.

Following the closure of the camp to holidaymakers for the season, Mr Butlin decided to open its doors to Clacton residents on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

This was a service to the public which continued until well after the Second World War.

Butlin’s provided a host of entertainment for the whole family, from its swimming pool, shops and ballroom to bowling green, open air roller-skating and miniature railway.

Another highlight was the pleasure park, which included many thrilling rides such as swing boats, dodgems and a big wheel, in addition to freak shows and speciality acts.

While Butlin’s is still going strong elsewhere, sadly the Clacton camp closed in 1983.

It was a hammer-blow for the town and the end of an era - but the memories will live on.

  • n Do you remember the Butlin’s in Clacton?

If so, comment below.