You may have seen some celebrities every Thursday, show casing pictures of them in delightful outfits from the 90’s (chokers anyone?) or maybe your friends posting embarrassing childhood pictures you hoped would never surface (why oh why Mum!).
Ever wondered what it was for? It’s all in the aid of Throw-Back Thursday!
It’s a chance for people to share some photos from a time long ago and this got us thinking here at Haven Holidays, thinking of the good ole’ days and how much history some of out parks actually have. We wanted to start our ‘throw-backs’ and thought we’d start with the oldest park that we own.. Caister! With a degree in History Johnny was prepared to dig deep into Caister’s past!
Be prepared, it has rather unexpected beginnings…
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!
That’s not all, there was 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.
Alongside this there was no gambling, no improper language and if you were a baby under 2 years old then you were not even allowed in the park!
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. I wonder how popular all these rules would be today?
1930’s and 1940’s
Throughout the 1930s everyone had to wear a Camp Badge and if you wanted a quick dip in the sea well you would have had to wear a regulation camp bathing suit.
However, the largest dance hall for miles was built in 1932, and it was large enough to accommodate 600 couples on the dance floor. Everything changed at the park for a while in the early 1940s because everything was taken over by the military in order to house Italian prisoners of war!
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 managed to introduce new and up to date accommodation, a range of bars and entertainment such as Des O’Connor, Ronnie Corbett and Roy Hudd.
Of course we cannot forget the Ladbroke Blue Coats, the brochure stated, ‘They’re hand picked. They’re smart. They’re eager to please!’
Alongside them were a huge range of activities such as concerts; bingo, water polo, ping pong, football, late-night movies and cabaret.
1980’s – 90’s
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!
At the turn of the millennium we see Bourne Leisure acquire Caister Holiday Park. It was a far cry from the three tents of the original park, for example, 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…