Our first holidays after the War

By Betty Rose

The only holidays we had during the War were along the banks of the River Severn at Bewdley staying in wooden huts with no running water or sanitation but we had wonderful times in the fields alongside the river.

Then in June of 1947 my Auntie Win and Uncle Tom and my cousins Pauline and Malcolm, who lived at the bottom of Worlds End Lane, asked my Parents if they would like to join a party they were getting up to go to Caister Holiday Camp in Norfolk. We would be travelling by coach and the cost would be £2-2s-0d - an adult per week with three meals per day including a cooked breakfast dinner tea and supper. You needed to book early to be sure of a wooden hut with two bedsteads a chest of drawers and a washstand otherwise it was back to basics in a four-man bell tent.

No children under 2 were permitted to the camp and the camp attracted about 300 holidaymakers per week. Guests were expected to wear the camp badge, which cost 2d. The owner of the camp was Mr John Fletcher Dodd and every Sunday afternoon he entertained campers to Sunday tea on the lawn when he greeted everyone.

Sport was high on the agenda with holidaymakers divided into two teams The Lions and The Bears. Facilities included five tennis courts, a putting green, a bowling green and a billiard room. Entertainment was organised by committees elected by the campers. Bicycles for two were very popular for riding around the camp.

bikes-small

The Camp was right on the Beach and this was wonderful for us children to go in the sea for the first time and play games on the beach and enter bathing competitions and football matches.

In our hut we had bunk beds for us children and I remember getting out one morning forgetting I was in the top bunk- it was a long way down????

Mr Dodd opened the Camp in 1906 then alcohol was banned no talking was allowed after l p.m. and the highlight of the week was a Sunday afternoon lecture on the labour movement. He passed the day-to-day running of the Camp to his two sons but he kept an eye on things up until his death aged 90.

In the 1970s it was sold to Haven Holidays but now it has comfortable self catered holiday homes with DVD players in the lounges and well-equipped kitchens and constant hot water showers and central heating a far cry from those early days.

When Mr Dodd purchased the six acres of land in 1906 he put up a few bell tents and invited some of his friends to sleep on straw and share communal cold water from a standpipe but seaside holidays became so popular that more tents were added and then the camp evolved.

Prices for a self-catering break now start at around say £150+ per person?

caister-small
Caister Camp Group Photograph in 1947

I wonder if they have such a marvellous time as we did in those early days of our childhood and experience of holidays.

Edís comment- Thank you Betty for sharing those memories with us all Ė Iíll bet they evoked a few of our members thoughts as well.

Click here to go back to the Oracle page.