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There are many stories about Sir Billy Butlin and the amazing Butlins brand that many know about. Today, I am extremely honored to show you the story, an important one I might add, of Major Frank Bond. Honored member Babs (click to see more) had sent me a message to say that Mandy got in touch about her story. Having known about my love for the brand, she asked me to check it out more and put it onto my website.
I got very excited about the possibility of having this story and was thrilled when Mandy joined my group and started to chat with me about her family's history. I had to admit that I so overwhelmed by this and started the plans on how to start this page. Mandy had started to tell me about the stories of her family and the connection they have with the Butlins name. From here, we see one of the most important stories to be told as we see another side of Sir Billy Butlin with Major Frank Bond.
These photos that you see here today are more than likely never been seen before, making this story extremely important.
On a personal note, I can not thank Mandy enough for all the information she had shared with me, it's truly overwhelming.
This page is currently set as "in progress" as information is being supplied in parts, with thanks.
Last update: 24/08/2020
We start the story of Major Frank Bond by looking at the Warners Holiday Camps. With thanks and help from the website, Harwichanddovercourt.co.uk, we get to see some information about Sir Billy Butlin. The best way to show you is using the words shown on the website above, which I am thankful gave me permission to share this with you via their Facebook group
From the website shown above, we learn about the important connection to Sir Billy Butlin at this Warner holiday camp.
"The camp and Lido were officially opened by the Mayor of Harwich Councillor C. Hills, in 1937 in the presence of members and officials of the corporation and a large company of townspeople, who were the guests of the lido for the afternoon. The visitors were entertained to tea at the camp, after which the formal opening took place and was witnessed by the large company of visitors in residence at the camp."
"Mr. W.E. Butlin the famous amusement caterer and the leading spirit behind the Dovercourt lido, was present, together with Captain H.J. Warner, a director of the company promoting the Dovercourt scheme and who has supervised the construction of the camp at Dovercourt. To all desiring a first class holiday, with all the amenities possible. The camp can be recommended with the utmost confidence."
A major turning point in this very important part of Butlin history is when the Harwich and Dovercourt website tells us this "The Mayor declared, complementing Mr. Butlin and Capt. Warner on their enterprise."
Photo credit: Harwichanddovercourt.co.uk with thanks.
The Warners Holiday Camp Ballroom
This photo shows you the Warners Holiday camp ballroom and I've posted it on this story to show you the connection to Butlins. For many visitors to this website, you will see that this looks very similar to the early Butlin's designs. The layout and feeling show you how Sir Billy Butlin had some input on how the room was designed. This also confirms the strong connection between the Warners, Sir Fred Pontin, and Sir Billy Butlin in the early days.
Now some will disagree but there is a strong connection to the layout and how both are connected. The difference between these photos is that the Butlins Minehead on the left was taken is a younger version in comparison to the Warner camp photo. However, the change in the design was very little with minor changes. This is fascinating to see and when I find a better photo in my collection, I will update this to show a stronger connection.
The website just impressed me more as we notice something in the Warners holiday camp that continues to add to the history of the brand we all love. Shown here is a great photo of the original chalet, that Sir Billy Butlin designed. With Sir Billy being friends with Sir Fred Pontin and the Warners, it came as no surprise that there would be similar designs on each camp. This photo is truly magnificent to see and has a strong connection to the history of people who do so much to help so many have a smile on their face.
The heartstrings were pulled when I had seen this photo as you see them wonderful unit being shown once again. I could not help but feel the love feeling of seeing an accommodation unit that was designed by Sir Billy Butlin. This photo has so many feelings and is without a doubt one that makes you remember great memories.
I have included the details above (you can click on the photos to visit the main website) as it's important for the story of Major Frank Bond and Sir Billy Butlin. You can see the connection they have and why it's an important part of Butlin's history.
The photos shown below are of the early years at Dovercourt Bay Holiday Camp. The photos are truly amazing as not only do you get to see a story from the granddaughter of Frank Major Bond but also get to see another side of Sir Billy Butlin, showing you how amazing he truly is. I am excited to share these with you now.
This is a photo of Captain Harry Warner and his wife Dorothy
This photo shows Dorothy Warner sitting in the grounds of the Dovercourt Holiday Camp.
In this photo, we a photo of my Nanna, my Mum and Billy Warner one of Captain Warner’s son’s.
A mind blowing photo for me...wow In the middle is the main man himself, Sir Billy Butlin and his first wife Dorothy.
"The second from the left is Major Frank Bond, my grandpa. Billy Butlin is in the middle at the back and in front of him is Alderman Ward, who was my Godmother, Wendy Ward Spackman. Raven’s Grandfather, Mayor at that time.
Second from the right standing was Billy Butlins first wife Dolly."
This is the reason why the story above is important as you can see via this photo that this is from the Dovercourt Bay Holiday camp. In the middle, shown below, is Sir Billy Butlins. What a great photo this is and one that is extrememly important to the history of Butlins.
"Billy Butlins first wife Dorothy (Dolly) sat in front of him in the white suit, black hat and sunglasses."
Zoom in photo
In this photo you can see one a key moment where Sir Billy Butlin, looking very young, is amongst this amazing group of people. In front of him, is his first wife Dorothy, also knowkn as Dolly, wearing the sun glasses and black hat on.
Dovercourt and the Warner’s camp , which was situated on Low Road, I have kept this interesting in this paper cutting “ More fun than Hi De Hi” written by Rex Bale, who in 1938 came to Dovercourt to help out the entertainment manager whilst waiting for his own camp (Seaton) to open. That manager was the one and only Bill Owen! Compo from Last of the Summer Wine!
This is Billy’s first wife Dolly with Grandpa showing her a plant or something beaautiful from the garden in one of the camps. I’m not sure which camp it is.
Just minding blowing as I am lost for words at this photo...
Grandpa is on the right but I’m not sure who the other two are. This was a part of the Dovercourt and Harwich Festival where they were advertising the Butlins chalets and the new proposed camps. So this must have been after Dovercourt, Skegness, Seaton and Northney camps and before Clacton and Ryde in 1938.
Another picture of the proposed chalets for the new camps. Dorothy Warner top left and I think that could be Cappy Bond, then Captain Harry Warner. Major Frank Bond slightly visible behind the ladies on the left.
Here are some photos of the keep fit sessions out of my Grampa’s album.
Cherrie Butlin at Broom Hall, Pwllhelli in town
A slightly older Cherrie Butlin
Another photo of Cherrie Butlin with my Nanas dog
Lord Brown, my Mum, Lady Brown and my Nana all at Broom Hall, Pwllheli
My Nana and Lady Brown
Grandpa, my Mum, Mary Bond, Basil Brown, Peggy Bond.
Michael Brown out shooting with my Mums Brother Bobby Bond and Maxi with one of the dogs
The connection to the Butlins story and Bond Family
As Mandy continues to send more information about Butlin's story, I get to learn new areas that I was not known to me before. Sir Billy Butlin story increases with the amazing connection the Bond family and how they helped towards the Butlins name. The photo above is from Mandy's personal album and shows the Broom Hall house, which is now a grade listed building, you can find that information here.
As shown here, further research had shown the connection to Sir Billy on the website www.geograph.org.uk. Here is what the website states about Sir Billy Butlin.
""In 1946 the Broomhall estate was purchased by Billy Butlin who was in the process of converting HMS Glendower into the Pwllheli Butlins holiday camp. A keen aviator, Butlin purchased additional land from the adjoining Rhedynog Ganol farm to enlarge the airstrip and provide two runways North-South (2150ft long) and East-West (1,800'). Flights were provided for Butlin campers, few of whom had flown before. Cambrian Airways began a commercial service from the airfield to Cardiff and Dublin using Rapide aircraft. The Dublin-Broom Hall fare was £8.25p.
Following a fatal accident involving an Auster, activity at Broom Hall came to an end in the mid-1960s and the main hangar was demolished. The land was then sold back to Rhedynog Isaf and is now used for sheep rearing."
Mandy's memories: Broom Hall, a 300 or so estate with farmyard and a separate Piggery that Billy bought and sent my Grandparents up there in 1947 to live. Nana ran the House and organised functions for when Billy visited along with guests that he brought up from London some of which I remember between the late 1950’s and late 1960’s. David Coleman, Billy de Wolfe, Jack Warner, Morris Parsons, Hughie Green who, incedentally was Billy’s own pilot. There was an airfield on part of the farm where they used to land the plane. It was also used for pleasure flights from the camp at one time.
Here are Billy’s guests, Butlin Directors and Grandpa on the right. The farm was made into a separate company called Broom Hall Enterprises. My mums brother ran the farm and The Piggery. Whilst Nana did most of the entertaining she did have staff working in the house for her and there were quite a lot of other staff ie.Groundsman and gardeners, Gamekeeper, Stockmen, Pigerry men and more!
My Uncle Bobby bred Chickens on a very large scale which were then sold to the camp already dressed and portioned to feed the campers in return all the swill from the camp kitchens came back to the farm to feed the pigs. It was a massive going concern!
All the ducks that were on the lakes at the camp were bred by my Uncle.
After the War my Uncle Bobby suffered a mental breakdown due to the time he spent as the skipper of an Air Sea Rescue Launch! He was awarded the MBE .... And that’s another story! Billy gave him a job up at Filey on the farm there before coming to Pwllheli where he settled down.
For as long as I can remember Grandpa was always travelling around the camps. One time I do remember whilst the Bognor camp was being built , Gramps had been there for quite a few days and Mum, Dad, Nana and myself went on holiday and we called in to see him. It was a disgustingly wet and muddy building site! I was only about 3 but one thing I do remember to this day was being told "We were going to see Grandpa at Butlins" and all I kept asking for was an ice cream because that is what I got when going to the camp in Pwllheli. I couldn’t understand why there was nowhere selling ice cream!!
Going for a well deserved holiday
Nanna and Grandpa on holiday in Cannes Uncle Billy and Nora.
My Grandpa sat in the gardens as he was sent out by Billy to oversee the running of Butlin’s in the Bahamas!
This postcard is from plastichrome by colourpicture, Boston 15, Mass. New York Office. View of the pool and patio looking toward the dining hall
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