H is for Holiday Camp

Holiday Camps as we know them first came into existence at the beginning of the 20th century.  One of the earliest opened at Caister on Sea in Norfolk in 1906. Visiting this camp inspired Herbert Potter and his brother Arthur to open a similar holiday camp at nearby Hemsby.  In 1924 the Hemsby Camp was sold and the brothers opened a new holiday camp at Hopton-on-Sea, Suffolk.  Ten years later Herbert transferred this camp to his married daughter Rosa Groom and the camp later became known as “Groom’s Holiday Camp”. Herbert purchased a large site closer to the beach and opened another camp there which was named “Hopton Beach Holiday Camp”.  By the mid-1930s there were no less than five holiday camps at Hopton.  Hopton Beach Camp continues today; it is still owned by the Potter family and is known as “Potters Resort”.

Early in 1930 Howard C Barrett of Pakefield Hall, Suffolk opened a holiday camp on land belonging to the Hall.  There were the usual wooden chalets, a dining and dance halls, free tennis, bathing, putting, whist drives and concerts.  All this together with four meals a day cost £2.10 per week.

Golden Sand was another Hopton Holiday Camp.  It opened in 1933 and by 1936 was catering for 5,381 visitors over the summer.  During the Second World War the camp was requisitioned and initially housed evacuees before being taken over by the military in 1940. Post war the camp was returned to the original owners and remained open until c1987.  Lowestoft Record Office holds a collection relating to the camp – ref 977.

These local holiday camps pre-dated those made famous by Billy Butlin who did not open his first camp until 1936.