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Warner Holiday Camps

The Warner holiday camp history is a very rich one that has a very strong connection to the Butlin history. The Warner's had started with an honourable person to be on this site, Captain Harry Warner. Retired from the Royal Artillery in 1925, Captain Harry Warner would start his business with a restaurant. 

As his business became successful, Captain Harry Warner would expand into the holiday camp industry with his first one in 1932, Hayling Island.  Billy Butlin had worked with Captain Harry Warner on the camps as Warner's Holiday Camps started to become popular.  Billy Butlin at this stage was very interested and joined the sites. 

Harry Warner and Billy Butlin were great friends as they discussed their camps with each another. When World War two had started, Captain Harry Warner would work alongside Billy Butlin on Filey, AYR and Pwhelli. As with the Butlin's camps, Warner's locations were also used to support the war. Evidence is shown on Warner's camps to have the same design chalet as there was on Butlin's showing another strong connection.

Warner continued to expand as the founder passed away in 1964 at the age of 75. The company continued to go very well with his sons Bill, John and Alen Warner. Growing to the size of eleven camps, the Warner Camps would change ownership in 1982 to the Grand Metropolitan Hotels, who continue to run the camps in a similar way to how the Warners were. The Warner's camps have changed ownership once more as the Rank Organisation holiday division added them next to the Oasis and Butlins. Some were rebranded to the Haven name, some remained Warners and others being sold. 

As with Butlins, in the year 2000, the Rank Organisation would sell its holiday division to Bourne Leisure Limited, these included Oasis, Butlin's, Warners and Haven.  Further details are below of the history of the camps. Today, the Warners name is connected to a chain of hotels under the ownership of Bourne Leisure Limited.

In loving memory of Captain Harry Warner.

When I introduced the Warners to Butlin's Memorabilia, my plan was simple, to make it basic and simple in relation to Butlin's history. It was only when I started to research more into the company that I realised that Warner's holiday camp is extremely rich in history which includes Billy Butlin and Fred Pontin. Researching the information has not been easy however, I was able to find some details that might be helpful. To say thank you, I have placed a reference information centre at the bottom to help you further your research into this amazing company with all the websites that I was able to use to make this page. There are a lot of details below and I do hope you find it to be useful or even spark that memory. I feel extremely honoured to have the Warners camp's on my website and to explain their history as much as I possibly can. You can see so many references to Butlin's and Pontins with Warners, showing the strong connection between each of them. It's truly amazing to be able to make this page for you all.

Small note

None of the companies listed below has approached me to make this page, I offer links to their sites as a means to say thank you for the history and the continued story telling of such an important location. They have no connection to this website or myself, this was solely made for the use of historic education. 

Caister Holiday Camp

Caister Holiday Camp

Caister Camp is one of the oldest camps in the United Kingdom, opening in 1906. Originally opened by John Fletcher Dodd, the camp was called Caister Socialist Holiday Camp. Interestingly, the camp would have tents with campers having to help out with certain chores. As time went by, John Fletcher Dodd would continue to run the camp by 1951. By this time, the camp had chalets and huts with enough room for eight hundred campers. The camp had rules such as lights had to be out by 23.30 and no loud talking after 23.00 hours. 

The campers had to wear badges and wear certain clothes whilst on the campsite. Another rule in place was banning alcohol and babies from the campsite. Sadly, Mr Dodd passed away in 1952 aged 90 with the camp continuing to do well. The rules that Mr Dodd had in place were no longer being exercised by the first year, such as the ban on alcohol. In the 1970s, the campsite would have new owners as Ladbrokes Group had purchased this from the previous owners. 

New accommodation was introduced to the site with new entertainment and bars. It was said that the Prince of Wales would visit the park every year from 1984 to 1992. The camp was then sold to the Warners camps, which later became Haven under the ownership of the Rank Organisation. Today, it remains after 100 years of entertaining campers. 

Under the ownership of Bourne Leisure Limited, the camp is now called "Caister-on-sea holiday park" with the static caravan and deck houses. Interestingly, the deck houses look very similar to the West Lake chalets in Butlins Minehead. Click on the button below to see an article by the Daily Mail showing you photos of the former owner. Click on the button that has "current owners" to see the site today on the Haven website, have a look at the Deck houses and see what you think.

Northney Warners

Northney Camp

The eldest and first camp to open with the Warner logo and one of a strong story. As I looked into the history of this camp, I could not help but see Sir Billy Butlin. For example, this photo here shows you the outside pool with the iconic fountain. Oh ok...it might not be from Butlin's but the idea of it being there and Billy Butlin having an involvement with the Warner's, well it makes you think, I can see the connection and why the Warner's are so very important towards the history. 

Previously a farm, it was told that one of the former barns was converted into the dining hall for the campers. Wooden chalets were built with a fence around a part of the sea to create a swimming pool. The camp was exciting and many people would come in the excitement of what is on offer. The swimming pool was built and the temporary sea version was converted into a boating lake. 

During World War Two, the camp was used to help support the war and was renamed HMS Northney, with a number attached (For example, Northney I, Northney II, etc...). It was during this time that the camp was extended to accommodate 850 people. As the war comes to an end, the camp returns back to being Warner's holiday camp. 

Sadly, the eldest camp in Warner's camp history had come to an end in 1981 and was closed down. Shortly after, it was demolished with some of this land being a public area with the boating lake remaining today. 

Mill Rythe Holiday Camp

Mill Rythe Holiday Camp

The Milly Rythe Holiday Camp is one of amazing history as you see a large connection to the Butlin name. Click on the button below to see a dedicated page about this camp and its meaning to the Butlin's timeline.

Puckpool Holiday Camp

Puckpool Holiday Camp

The location of this camp goes back to the year 1822 when it was known as Puckpool House, a Swiss-style cottage built by Lewis Wyatt. This cottage remains today and is now a grade-listed building. In 1861, the war department purchased the location to build the HMS Medina.  The site remained as HMS Medina until 1878, when it was sold to Major General Hon. S. J. Gough-Calthorpe.

With many owners from 1923 to 1935, it would be sold once more to the Seaton Holiday Camp (Devon) Ltd, a part of the Warner's holiday camps a the time. In 1972, the Puckpool Holiday Camp was selected for a movie named "That'll be the day", with Ringo Starr and David Essex (click on the button below to get your copy from eBay). Puckpool Holiday Camp merged with its sister camp, St. Clare Castle in the 1980s to form its new name, Warner's Harcourt Sands (See below).

The photo shown is from my collection and is the only item that I currently have for this amazing location. You can clearly see the strong connection to the Butlin's history timeline with the icon chalets showing off their pure beauty to all. 

St Clare Holiday Camp

St Clare Holiday Camp

The location for this camp also has a rich history when it was known as St Clare Castle. Research shows that Queen Victoria has visited the castle several times.  In 1862, history recorded that Princess Alice and Prince Louis had also honeymooned at this very location. It was after World War two, that we see historic changes in this area. The estate was purchased by the Warner holiday camps which would start to run the site as a holiday camp. 

As with Puckpool Holiday camp, St Clare's camp would merge with each other to form the Harcourt Sands, which is shown further below.


Harcourt Sands

With Puckpool Holiday Camp and St Clare Holiday Camp now merged as one camp in the 80s to form a new name, Harcourt Sands. It would continue until it was sold to the Rank organisation under its holiday division. Now known as Haven, Harcourt Sands, the site would continue until it was sold to Renowned Holidays. Sadly, the history of these two historic sites came to an end in 2006, when the gates closed and the camp was to be no more. However, there are plans to develop the former site into new homes, see below to see further information. 

Seaton camp

Seaton Holiday Camp

The Seaton holiday camp location has an important part of the Butlins timeline as it plays an important part towards Butlin's Holiday Camps. As the camp was being built, Billy Butlin would help with the design and camp progress. The idea of this camp was so very strong that Billy Butlin would employ the people who helped build the camp to come to Skegness and help with his project there. 

As with all the other camps, when World War two started, the camp would be used to help with the troops. The Seaton camp hosts the Polish and Spanish armed forces. In the 1960s, another company opened a camp next door called Blue Waters Holiday Village. The camps would work alongside each another wanting to get that customer through their door. 

This was until the 1980s when the Warners would purchase the Blue Waters Holiday village amp site. Merging the camps together, the site was given a new name, now known as Lyme Bay. 

Blue Water Holiday Villiage

Blue Waters Holiday Village

Owned by Ladbrooks, the camp would open next door to the Warner's Holiday camp in Seaton.  The site was purchased by Warner's and would merge with the Seaton camp to form the new name of Lyme Bay Holiday Village. 

Lyme Bay

Lyme Bay Holiday Village. 

With a new name, both Seaton and Blue Waters Holiday Village now worked together to offer their customers the best break options. As with the plans of the Rank Organisation, the site would change the name back to Haven Lyme Bay. What is strange is that research shows that the site where the Blue Water Holiday village was based, closed sooner than Warner's size. This means that the site was downsized, which is strange to come across. Blue Waters holiday village part was demolished in 2008 as the Warner side continued until it was closed and demolished in 2009. 

Today, this location, rich with history including the location that helped Sir Billy Butlin want to start his camps even more, is represented by a Tesco supermarket. I have placed a button that takes you to a website that has further photos of this important location. Called "Past Remains in South West Britain" has certainly helped me with the research. The owner of that site has not asked me to add a link, however, I believe it will be one of great interest to those who visit mine. Image credit is to Google Earth. 

Dovercourt Bay

Dovercourt Bay

A very important story of Dovercourt Bay, at one stage, nearly consider the second Butlins before Clacton was opened. Dovercourt Bay is a location very close to my heart as you see the strong link between Butlin's and the Warners. The important story of Major Frank Bond is also a must-read and a large part of the Butlin's timeline. A dedicated page has been added to the website, showing you further details about this very important location.

Minster - Isle of Sheppey

Minster - Isle of Sheppey

The Warners camp in Minster opened in the 1950s and was designed to hold 700 hundred people to enjoy a holiday.  Research has shown that the camp was successful with Crazy Golf, swimming and entertainment in the ballroom.  The band called "The Eric Delaney Band" had been a resident with his signature song, Midnight in Moscow, being the moment that you got dancing. 

In a shocking move, the camp was closed down and many did not understand the reason why. This was until 1983 when a businessman named Mike Irwin purchased the location and renamed it to Irwin Park. All detail areas that had Warner's name was removed and the park had changed into selling the chalets as permanent homes. The image is from Google Earth. 

Southleigh Hayling Island

Southleigh Holiday Villiage

This camp has a history dating back to 1924 when W.J. Brown (General Secretary of Civil Service for the Clerical Association).  As the association did not get involved with the camps financially, he would raise money to build the camps and run them as civil service camps.  However, in 1946, the camps would be sold to Warner's holiday camps. 

The camp would immediately lose its civil service name and be renamed Warners Southleigh. In the '60s, the camp was given a redevelopment making it bigger to fit 700 customers.  Sadly, this camp timeline had come to an end as in the 80s, it was closed down and demolished. Today, it's a housing estate. 

Woodside Bay

Woodside Bay

In 1963, the Warner Sons would purchase Woodside house and the bay in the surrounding area.  Planning permission was submitted for a new holiday camp at this very location that could take up to 650 campers. Woodside House, which has a history dating back to the 1850s, was demolished and replaced with a reception, bars, shop, swimming pool and ballroom.  

In 1965m Warner's wanted to expand the camp and purchased the camp next to them named Underwood from Mrs Davies Evans. This camp had woodlands and would make a perfect extension to the Warner's camp. Permission was granted for a footbridge to be added over a public pathway to connect the two camps together. The camp would now increase the amount of campers to 950 with 250 staff. 

However, in 1975, there were complaints and there was a lot of negative feedback being issued by customers as the way the camps were built had started to show. The complaints were about dissatisfaction with how they were being maintained. To try and solve the issue, the Warners themself would arrive to try and resolve the issues that were being highlighted by the customers.

In 1981, the story of this location under the name of Warners had come to an as they sold this site to the Grand Metropolitan.  The new owners had tried to get the camp back to its former glory however, after one year, it would close its gates. The camp closes and has a great deal of vandalism to it causing it to get into disrepair. 19 years later and the site remains as it was with much of the former site looking nothing like it did in the years before. 

There were plans for the site, such as a hotel and much more however, they never happened. It was in 2010 that the site was sold with all former holiday camp buildings removed. Today, it has been given a new lease of life as its now called Woodside Coastal Retreat. There are two options available for you to review below, the one with "Not touched for 20 years" shows you photos of the former camp in disrepair. The second one will take you to the current owners of the site and what it offers.

Devon Country Club

Devon Coast Country Club

Opening after World War Two, the camp was to offer the campers another option for their break. The camp would be a full board break owned by the Ladbrokes Holidays. In 1990, the camp would change ownership to become Warners Camp. The camp was to have immediate changes under the Warners logo as it became an adult-exclusive camp.  However, the camp would only represent the Warner's name for a couple of years until it was sold to Shearing  Coach Holidays Ltd.

Unfortunately, the camp was not doing well and by the year 1994, would be closed down. Planning permission was put in place for a housing development, which was granted. Below is a link to a persons collection showing you what the Devon Coast Country Club had once looked like. You can see the clear link to Butlins and Pontins in these photos. 

Sussex Coast Country Club

Sussex Coast holiday centre

The history of this camp starts in 1922 when it was owned by Sir Walter Blount. On a former aircraft factory site in Middleton, the camp would be called New City Holiday Camp. The hangers were converted into a dancing hall, dining hall and indoor tennis courts. After World War two, the name of the camp would change with new owners, such as Southdean, The South Coast Country Club, Sussex Coast Country Club and then onto his final name, Sussex Coast Holiday Centre. 

The camp was owned by the Dean family for some time, who had a strong connection to Sir Fred Pontin. The camp would not stay under the same ownership for long as it was converted into Warner's camp and then into its final owner, Shearings. As with the Devon Coast camp, it was closed down in the 90s and planning permission was granted to have a housing estate built, which remains there to this date. 


Coronation Holiday Camp - Now Lake side

Opening in 1937, this camp was originally called the Coronation Holiday camp to mark the accession of King George VI. As with the other camps, this one was used during World War Two and was named another HMS Northney. In the 1980s, the camp was renamed Lakeside Holiday Centre and at a later stage, named Lakeside. The Warners camp remains there to this very date with chalets included and can be found by clicking on  the button below. 

Duporth Park

Corton Coastal Village

The location of this camp was a part of the Colman estate, which makes the famous Colmans mustard. Known as the Corton Hut Public House, it was built in 1924 with Mrs George as the first licensee. By 1929, the ownership would change hands to Charles Stokes and then Mrs R Cribbens in the '30s. The Warners had purchased the Hut from Mr and Mrs Jones, the owners during this time of history, in 1946.

Today, the Hut remains in Warner's Corton Coastal Village and has bars with restaurants within. The site is amazing to see and with help from Google Maps, you can see more photos below showing an extremely strong link to Butlin's, Sir Billy Butlins and the Warners camps. 

Amazing strong historic connection with Billy Butlin and the Warners

All images are credit to Google Maps, I do not own any of these
Warners Camp - Corton
Strong connection to the original Butlin's chalet design
Warners Camp - Corton
A similar design to the Lakeside Butlins chalets
Warners Camp - Corton
Similar design to the single decker's in Butlin's
Warners Camp - Corton
Warners Camp - Corton
Very similar to the double-decker accommodation at Butlins
Warners Camp - Corton
Very similar to the double-decker accommodation at Butlins
Gunton Hall Resort

Gunton Hall Holiday Village

The Gunton Hall, now a grade-listed two building, was built by Sir William Harboard and designed by Matthew Brettingham in 1742. The area was known as the Gunton estate and was owned by the Harboard family. The grounds would see many changes with a mansion being built, an extension to the land and so much more rich history.  As the land continued to change so did its reputation as it was ranked one of the greatest estates in the country in the mid-19th century, which at this time covered 17000 acres of land. 

Warners Gunton Hall Holiday Village is built on part of these grounds with the main reception playing a major part in the history of the Gunton Estate history. Further information can be found below in the reference section. You can also visit the Warners website to see more. 

Norton Grange

Norton GrangeVilliage

This location was formerly known as Norton Lodge and dates back to 1760, owned by Admiral Graham Hammond.  The lodge and land remained in the family until 1901 when it became the Norton Chalet Hotel, owned by the Yelland Family.  The location would also be used during World War Two and was given the name HMS Manatee for use in training officers of landing craft. In 1966, the ownership would change one more time to Warner's, where it remains to this date. 

Still, under Warner's name, the location no longer has a hotel however it does have chalets. More information can be found by clicking on the button below. Image is credit to Google Maps.

References Details

The research into the Warners is not an easy one however, with the help from other websites, I was able to further extend the information given to you on this page. The links below are a form of thank you for the information that they have and for an extra location for you to find out that extra detail. Click on the name of the website to view more details about that particular website and any photos they might of placed on their site.

Gunton Hall 
Historic England - This website shows the information about Gunton Hall listed building
Parks& Gardens -  Further research into the grounds of being a part of the Harbord Family from 1676
Google Maps - For further research and use a screenshot of the resort entrance.

Past Remains in South-West Britain  - An excellent website showing some brilliant information about Seaton with photos
Seaton Town Council  - Further research showing the connection to Sir Billy Butlin. 

Lyme Bay
Past Remains in South-West Britain - An excellent website showing some brilliant information about Seaton with photos

Seaside History - Showing you information about more than one camp, including Caister Holiday Camp
Daily Mail  - An amazing article about the camp with some great photos showing the former glory of the site.
Glen on Flickr - An amazing person who really goes into depth with the details about the camps

Wootton Bridge Historical - Amazing details and information about the former Warners Camp
Glen on Flickr - An amazing person who really goes into depth with the details about the camps 

Seaside History - Showing you information about more than one camp, including Northney Holiday Camp
Glen on Flickr - An amazing person who really goes into depth with the details about the camps

Glen on Flickr - An amazing person who really goes into depth with the details about the camps

Glen on Flickr - An amazing person who really goes into depth with the details about the camps
Historic England - Showing the Puckpool House as a grade-listed building
Ryde Architecture - Interesting further research into Puckpool location.

St Clares
Glen on Flickr - An amazing person who really goes into depth with the details about the camps
Wightpedia - Amazing information about St Clare Castle and Warners camp

Harcourt Sands
Glen on Flickr - An amazing person who really goes into depth with the details about the camps
Google Earth - Used to show the camp from a birds eye view.

Devon Coast
Glen on Flickr - An amazing person who really goes into depth with the details about the camps
Western on Flickr- Showing you some amazing photos of the former Warners camp.

Sussex Coast
Glen on Flickr - An amazing person who really goes into depth with the details about the camps

Kent Online - A very good article showing you details about the camp with photos.
Google Earth   - Used to show the camp from a birds eye view.

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Who and What is Butlin's Memorabilia Website

Mark Banks owns and created this website to show his collection of Butlin's memorabilia items. It was created during my spare time at work and is a hobby of mine and has since grown into a site that offers a chance for others to smile. This website is NOT the official website for Butlin's and is NOT the official archive of Butlin's at any stage. The website has expanded to show stories, with permission from that person, of a moment in Butlin's from people who are either a customer or former staff. This website is in loving memory of all that had come to this amazing company and to Sir William Butlin, the founder.  This website also has information about research regarding Butlin's history with information obtained from the research I made, which is not official. 

Butlins Memorabilia extra areas

This website is made and maintained by me, Mark Banks, as a fan site to celebrate the amazing Butlins name as it has such a large meaning to me.  Below is additional information about the website and answers to questions that you might be thinking of (hopefully I have covered them all, if not, get in touch)

Learn more about the Butlins Memorabilia website by clicking on these words

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The Untold Stories of Butlin's

The website has expanded to now include an area called "Untold Stories of Butlin's". These stories have been added to the site by a member of my group who has shared their moment at Butlin's. These stories are not from the official company and are from the person it represent, as shown on the page. The stories shared are from that person's memory and show the magic of Butlin's on how it creates that special moment. 

If you are not official, who is Mark?

Butlin's Memorabilia is NOT the official website for Butlins. This site is also NOT the official website for the archive of Butlin's. The owners of Butlin's, Butlin's company, and Butlins.com have NOT approached me to design this site. They have no involvement with the development of the website or with the information that is shown. I am extremely thankful that they allow me to continue showing you their company's rich history. 

The number one website for Butlins is always, www.butlins.com where you see all the information about booking a break.

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