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History of Caister…

Are you ready for a bit of a history lesson? We want to educate you on the background of one of the oldest Holiday parks in the UK, Caister-on-Sea Holiday Park.

In 2017 we are  the proud owner of Caister but let us take you back, way back to 1906…
Caister is now of the most popular parks for owners. What with Great Yarmouth on your doorstop and direct access to a beautiful golden beach.

Interestingly enough these were two of the reasons people would visit the park despite the unusual rules (we’ll get onto that…).

1906

The park began in 1906 as John Fletcher Dodd’s Socialist Holiday Camp and only consisted of three bell tents. It promoted socialist ideals by offering holidays to the working men of East London. This park saw the start of the British seaside movement where people of all class travelled to the seaside for a well deserved break. However the park was very different from the way it is today…

Firstly, alcohol was banned; there was no relaxing in the sun with a beer at this park! There was also a no talking rule put into effect every day after 11pm and your weekly highlight would be a Sunday afternoon lecture on the Labour movement.

If you were a baby under 2 years old then you were not even allowed in the park. Of course this is not the case now – who would the Seaside Squad have to play with?

Not only this but you would sleep on straw each night and in the morning you would have a communal shower with no hot running water.

But what about food? Meal times were set in stone, you would be summoned by the sound of bugle and woe-betide anyone who was late.

However, the fantastic position the park had on the beach proved to be very popular and the number of tents began to grow.

A Double Hut at Caister during 1930's

A Double Hut at Caister during 1930’s

1930s and 1940s

Throughout the 1930s everyone had to wear a Camp Badge. Fancy a quick dip in the sea?You better have packed your regulation camp bathing suit.

During the 30’s the largest dance hall for miles was built  and it was large enough to accommodate 600 couples on the dance floor.

However during the 40’s there wasn’t any dancing at this park as in the early 1940s  everything was taken over by the military in order to house Italian prisoners of war.

Some of the activities that was offered in the past!

Some of the activities that was offered in the past!

1950s – 70s

This is the time we start to see the park really getting into the swing of things! We see the proper family fun starting in the 50s. The ban on beer was lifted and not long afterwards the park was sold to the local Caister Group. Then in the 1970s the leisure giant Ladbrokes took over, the brochure called Caister ‘a real swinging place’!

They  introduce new and up to date accommodation, a range of bars and entertainment such as Des O’Connor, Ronnie Corbett and Roy Hudd.

Alongside them were a huge range of activities such as concerts; bingo, water polo, ping pong, football, late-night movies and cabaret.

The Prince of Wales paying us a visit

The Prince of Wales paying us a visit.

1980s – 90s

We have also had royalty visit the Caister Park! For almost a decade in the 80s and 90s our camp hosted an event every single spring to support the Prince’s Trust, this meant that every year Prince Charles would come and visit the park.

2000s
As we entered the millennium  Bourne Leisure take over Caister Holiday Park. It was a far cry from the three tents of the original park –  Prestige accommodation featured DVD players in the lounge, well-equipped kitchens, constant hot water and even central heating. From then on the park has continued to go from strength to strength.

Then and now…

 caister 1934

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We really hope you have enjoyed finding out more about our lovely Caister Holiday Park! It has been super interesting researching the history and images that this 108 year old park has to offer.

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