We visited Gorleston Holiday Camp (later known as Elmhurst Court) from the mid 1960's until 1973.
I was aged about 7 when we first visited Gorleston Super Holiday Camp in about 1965. I remember the excitement of mum and dad packing the car up and leaving very early on a Saturday morning. My dad had a dark blue Ford Zephyr with huge bench seats. My mum, dad and I would sit in the front and we would normally pick up other family members or friends on the way and they would sit in the back. I still remember the smell of the plastic seats and I was often being ill out of the window as a result. The journey from our house in Stockwell, London seemed to go on forever and it always seemed to be on a very hot day. We always stopped off at a roadside cafe. The only thing I can remember about those places was a warm bottle of coke, pinball machines, the sound of a hot jet of steam making the drinks, the smell of coffee and watching the Jukebox in action picking up the 45rpm records and placing them on the turntable.
When we finally arrived I couldn't wait to look around the place to see what had changed and to see my friends from the year before. I only really saw my parents at meal times as I was so occupied with everything going on. What a superb place Gorleston Holiday Camp was. We all have lovely memories of the place. Every day was packed with entertainment whatever the weather. Swimming, Putting, Snooker, Table Tennis, Tennis, Cricket, Football, Bowls, silly games with a very large ball, Donkey Derby, Bingo, Film Shows, Competitions, Campers Show, Dancing, Sports Day including the egg and spoon race, the sack race, the 3 legged race, Tug-of-War (both on the grass and across the pool) rambles down to the beach.....the list goes on and on. Most of the entertainment was arranged by Eddie Olsen who worked extremely hard from early morning to late at night and never seemed to take a day off! Eddie had a great personality and somehow used to remember everyone's name! He had a strong Welsh accent and I believe he was married. Does anyone remember Eddie? What did he do after the camp closed?
The accommodation was very basic to start with, just one room, no bathroom or toilet, metal beds, small sink, wardrobe with a curtain on the front and a small chest of drawers, in fact it most probably hadn't changed since the place was built in the 1930's.Through the years, money was invested and more and more chalets were upgraded or re-built each year. The chalets were cleaned every morning (except Sundays) by local women who were always very friendly and enjoyed a chat. I can still remember the smell of whatever cleaning agent they used. I have smelt it since and it always reminds me of opening that chalet door.
The food was fantastic with three full meals a day and afternoon tea and cakes. How did we manage to eat so much? Mainly Spanish waiters who lived on the camp served all the meals. A gong was sounded, firstly at the front entrance and then at the rear entrance, by a man who just used to appear, to announce that meals were being served. I don't know where he came from or where he went, but he was always on time!
There was entertainment and live music every evening in the Ballroom and the Bar with children's entertainment in the Ballroom every night. A chorus of Goodnight Campers in the Ballroom would round off every evening. Prizes were given out on Friday night for all the competition winners throughout the week by the Managing Director and his wife, Mr. Lin and Mrs. Grace Thrower.
The camp had a strong affiliation with disabled groups and would often have a small group of disabled people and their helpers staying at the camp. Groups would take over the camp for the last two weeks of the season.
I have since visited the site and walked around. The Orbit housing estate now occupies the site after the camp was demolished in about 1974. The only things that can be recognised are the original steps leading down to the site from Bridge Road, which used to have toilets underneath, and the original roadway entrance off the A12. This is now blocked off to traffic but can be accessed by foot. It all seems a very different place now.
Fantastic place! Many many great memories! So long ago!
This letter was received after an appeal in the local newspaper:
As you can see, I now live in Spain, and the Mercury is always about 3 weeks late. The 2nd July has just arrived and I see you are asking for information regarding Gorleston Holiday Camp. My father in law Ralph Moore of E.Moore & Co, local builders, built the camp in the mid 1930's. When it was finished, there was no money for him, so he was paid out with shares, as was George Holmes of Precasters, another local firm. They were both on the board of directors with Douglas Atree, whose father was manager (or owner) of the local cinema, The Coliseum. Humphrey Lynde a local solicitor was also on the board.
My husband designed and built 20 en-suite chalets, the large sports hall and the outdoor swimming pool in the mid sixties.
The army took the camp over during the war. It was a skating rink in the winter months, which was very popular with the Gorleston people.
There was a private path leading from the camp to Gorleston train station. Every Saturday the trains were packed with the Gorleston people.
The photograph on the Home page which looks as if from a holiday brochure provided me with a view I haven't had for many a year. In the forties my father was a gardener next door to the camp and you can just glimpse a little of the garden. I don't know if you will be able to recall but to the east of the camp was a very large garden (no house, the owner lived above one of the shops in town) A later owner built the house surrounded on Bridge Road by a high privet hedge (still there) and large wooden entrance gates, also still there. I spent many a happy hour in that garden, having it to myself except Thursday when the owner came with his wife on their half day. I did get a temporary ban when he caught me fishing in the goldfish pond! There were fruit trees of every description and the soft fruits in a large bird proof cage. It was a Garden of Eden to a child during the war.
Grace Thrower, widow of Managing Director, Lin Thrower, was interviewed as part of the 'Way We Were' series for Anglia TV. This is what she said regarding the closure of Gorleston Super Holiday Camp:
'The camp was sold and we couldn't get permission from the new owners to have it stay as a holiday camp. They wanted to sell the land, so that was it. Everything was sold in 1974 and that was the end of it as it were and the whole thing was just pulled down.'
Grace Thrower January 2004
We have since heard that Grace Thrower passed away in May 2005. Our sincere condolences to her family.
I wrote to Grace Thrower, widow of Lin Thrower in December 2004 and her daughter kindly replied to me with the following letter:
Mother was delighted to hear from you and also to have a chat with Dennis (Dennis Durrant - Gorleston Heritage). How her fame is spreading following her television appearance! We have also had a look at the website which we found most interesting and it's certainly good to know that someone still remembers the 'old place' and has such fond memories. I worked for my father in the early sixties in the office and enjoyed my time there. My place was taken by Linda who remained at the camp until it closed. By the way, can I just correct one error which often occurs - my father's name was Lin not Len.
The Entertainments Manager in the late 1960's and early 1970's was Eddie Olsen who I believe still lives in Gorleston and I will try to find his address. Sadly many of the regular staff are no longer with us - Bob Denton who was bar manager and responsible for the pile of pennies each year; Bob Moore who was head waiter and also took part in the Sunday concert and who is pictured on your website in top hat at the Donkey Derby! These are just two of many who have passed away.
The original bar was in the old house known as Elmhurst - this was opened sometime during the fifties as prior to that there was no alcohol on the premises! My parents took over in 1951 and before that the camp was run by father and son, Charles and Stan Haigh, who started it all off in 1936.
We don't have much information on what happened during the war although I did come across a web site (www.cofepow.org.uk/pages/armedforces_r_norfolk.html) which refers to the 4th Battalion - Royal Norfolk regiment which billeted there for a time and received a visit from the King! The camp was also used as emergency accommodation during the east coast floods of 1953 when many people in Great Yarmouth were left temporarily homeless.
I think that is about all I can think of at present, but Mother will obviously have more information and many memories to pass on. We will try to sort out some photos which may be of interest.
Hello my name is Catherine Cook and my dad Brian Goodfellow worked at the camp as a singer. His photo is in the postcard section. As we only live just outside the gates I spent most of my summers in the pool. I currently work at cliff park school and pass the estate every day. And every day I think of it as it was. My mam must have some photos of the camp and Peter Collins who is in the photo is still alive and lives in Norwich. I'll ask him to get in touch with you or forward your e-mail. It was lovely to see the pictures and made my mums day. I loved that pool and learnt to swim there.
Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton-On-Sea, Norfolk, is the longest established and last remaining family owned holiday centre in the country. In February 2005, I wrote to Brian Potter, Chairman of the company, to get his memories of Gorleston:
I read the Peggotty column in the Great Yarmouth Mercury. I have not got anything to add of interest to the memory bank of Gorleston's yesteryears, only to say that the article did re-kindle happy memories re my own skating there.
Of course my parents and in-laws, the Bishops at Seacroft (see note below), were very friendly with the Throwers and of course this was the era of the smaller individual operators and whilst Lin possibly had a very small shareholding he was in effect the General Manager as opposed to the Proprietor. The proprietors were a mixture of local businessmen and the only one I vaguely recall my father mentioning was Ralph Moore from E.Moore & Sons, the builders, who like Lin is long gone.
Regarding our own,(history) yes this really ought to be done as Grandfather had wrote the Family Chronicles, in Old English Script writing, now of course a long lost art. My late father much like me today has done little to carry the story forward and being now the longest established and last remaining family owned holiday centre in the country. When you think of the era and heyday how many others there were, I suppose its an achievement not to have succumbed to the route of all others namely the housing estate or the ubiquitous caravan park conversions away from the traditional centres that were more in abundance at the time.
Potters website can be found at www.pottersholidays.com
Memorabilia on Potters can be found at www.butlinsmemories.com/19/id61.htm
Memorabilia on Seacroft can be found at www.butlinsmemories.com/19/id60.htm
Hi, I lived quite close to the Holiday camp in the 60's and used to look forward to the Trade Show that they held there every year. I remember one year the RAF had an aircraft on on display and everyone queued up to sit in the cockpit. Also the Canadian government had a stand to try and get people to emigrate. Great Memories, I like your web site, it should include the great Yarmouth roller skating rink as well, I am sure it would get a lot of memories from people I know, as I spent a lot of time there growing up when George Thompson was the professional.
My grandad worked at the camp during the 50s, he was known as the Local Mario Lanza real name Joe Martin, I wonder if you have anything with his name or picture on it, this would be of great interest as not much has survived of his link with the camp, he also worked at the Brittania Pier every Sunday night during the winter.
Appreciate your time
I was prompted by the programme Wakey Wakey Campers which began tonight to search for anything on Gorleston and it was a delight to find your site. I visited with my parents for several years in the mid 60's and it was the highlight of my year. We went for the same couple of weeks in August and met several regulars. I remember the first year or so we went to Gorleston station and walked back up the path, but in later years Dr Beeching had passed through and we had to go to Yarmouth. One year however I remember my parents wanted a change so we had one week at Gorleston and the second week at Gunton Hall - hated it there although I'm sure it can't have offered anything very different! The first year or so my elder brother and sister also came; later years just my parents and I (probably from ages 12-17 or so in my case). I particularly remember the entertainment staff Charles and Molly (Mollie?) who I used to help with setting up the sports equipment, selling bingo tickets and the like - they even gave me the nickname Buster which stuck for some years; but I can't say I recall Eddie Olsen. Also I remember the restaurant manager Bob - we have a Donkey Derby photo just like the one on the website although of course with my parents in it. And as a group of youngsters who were regulars we got to know some of the kitchen staff - probably their quarters were strictly off limits ! - one nicknamed Chipmunk I remember presumably for the nature of his task! Also the owners who were lovely people and remembered you from one year to the next - don't recall their names but I'm sure my Mum would. We were avid competition entrants - tennis, darts, putting, bowls, table tennis (don't think I was allowed on the snooker tables). My parents won the occasional prize - Mum still has some of the little trophies and probably a table cloth or two - prize giving on Friday nights after choosing in the camp shop.
Many years later I visited Norwich for a wedding and visited Gorleston the next day - I was mortified to find the camp replaced by housing. I felt as if someone had stolen part of my life! Not sure if we had children by then, but I somehow always thought I would take them there.
I thought I would just drop you a line to say that I found your site today and enjoyed a quick trawl through. I myself have been running a web site related to Mundesley Holiday Camp further up the coast towards cromer. a much smaller camp but the memories of your visitors seem very similar to mine.
My site has been up for about 2 years and is currently undergoing a major revamp and will be opening again at the end of September. It is amazing how when you start these things they take off in unexpected directions. I was particularly jealous of your pictures from the building process.
I have been surprised by the number of staff that have contacted me I wonder if you find the same. I have even managed to find a camper who attended in the first year of opening 1934 (the internet is a wonderful thing) and have made contact with the father of my first holiday romance (I think I was about 7)
I hope you have similar success with your site. Unlike Gorleston, Mundesley is still open but we are no longer welcome as our group of about 60-100 have children and in many cases grand children and the current owners are catering only for the over 70 although they maintain it is over 50's. We have therefore had to move to another camp.
Anyway I just thought that I ought to write to congratulate you and to thank you for making me feel less weird. I will of course add a link to the revamped site as I am sure that many of my visitors will be interested and some may have even been there. I hope that you feel that you can do the same.
We have received an e-mail from a resident on the Orbit Housing Estate, which is built on the site of Gorleston Holiday Camp. Any more residents have any memories?
I would just like to comment on how great your site is. I have lived on the Orbit Housing Estate where the camp was situated for 21 years. I have been looking for ages for images and stories of the camp. I am also trying to find information about the railway tracks that used to run near by as well if you have any info.
CT Orbit Housing Estate Resident
I was in Gorleston for a funeral recently and saw the exhibition at the Keevil Arms in Church Road. I took Jackie Clover's e-mail address but forgot to add it to my address book! I tried to send her scans of several post cards I have with various views inside and outside - my grandfather did washing up there for a while in the 1950's after leaving the sea, hence my interest. I have been collecting GoS postcards for many years and have over 200. I have sent you some cards that you do not already have on your website. The multi view was posted in 1958. My grandfather never talked about his work, he just washed up manually - no machines then! He was in his 60's and cycled there from Stradbroke Road and was very tired when he got home. I was at school and only there for a few weeks in the summer holidays.
Many thanks to Angela for sending us the postcards, which appear on the postcards page.
Well I worked there during the seasons of 1972 and 1973 as an assistant cook and I have fond memories of the numerous people that I encountered. Sadly most of their names have been forgotten with the tides of time.
Alfie worked in the Veg room slicing and dicing and hell he could throw a mean knife, he used to live in Church road, and in later years I would often see him standing at his door as I walked home from the Tower Ballroom in the very early hours.
There was a couple who worked as gardeners, she was slim lithe and quite muscular with very long dark hair *quiver* but not very talkative. Her partner/spouse was a good 10 years older and heck did he have an ice cold stare if he caught anyone looking at his wife/partner.
The swimming pool attendant, whose name I think was Bill was well passed retirement age, though quite fit for his age, confided in me that he was 70 and that was in 1972.
The Chef was another Bill, Irish, and quite fond of Guinness as I recall. The assistant Chef, another Bill, once asked me "why do girls like men with long hair and is it because they are Lesbian?", my answer cannot be repeated here!
Charlie was the pastry chef a nimble and friendly guy who lived on Kennedy Avenue and even in 1972 was in his very late 70's.
For me as a full bloodied teenager 1972 was a very good year though I'll leave you to guess why and all I can say is that in spite of the 1940's style of entertainment in 1972-73 I've really missed Elmhurst Court and even after the Orbit was built I used to try to guess where places had been.
Though I no longer live in the area having moved to Berkshire I sometimes muse about times passed and the friends that I once knew.
Amazed to see a website of Gorleston Holiday Camp
I worked there as a waiter in the summer of 1968 and remember turning 18 in July of that year while I was there.
Recognised one of the faces in one of the first groups shown (wearing a top hat) as being the dining manager at the time (can't think of his name)
There was an entertainment manager whose name I think was Eddie (welshman)
Only worked there for the one season but it was certainly an experience. Quite demanding work with up to 36 people at each meal with the occasional additional requirement to serve the 'baby's afternoon tea meal (boiled eggs, with bread soldiers with the crusts cut off)
As well as Spanish waiters there were a number of Londoners when I was there. Two that stuck in my mind were George and John who used to sing as a duo as an added attraction for the guests in the bar room which was located near the swimming pool.
Lived on camp and shared a room for a short time with another waiter who I kept in touch with for a while but can now only remember his first name Paul.
We had the same meals as the guests and were of excellent quality.
I received a basic wage of £7 per week, but routinely received £10-15 in tips, which was surprising considering I was probably the worst waiter ever. Fortunately the guests were extremely tolerant and understanding.
I have a number of photos but at they are in coloured slide form, so I will have to get them digitalised to send them.
I still have a postcard I sent my parents living at RAF Coltishall showing the four photos of the main building, ballroom. swimming pool and dining room.
After the holiday camp I worked for Woolworths in Norwich and later the Norwich Motor Company before emigrating to Australia in 1970.
As with the camp neither are in existence now, (at least they weren't in the same locations on a visit in 2004)
Now live in Brisbane Queensland with the memories
Regards Jim Joyner
Can't believe I just came across your web site. My Mum, Dad and I holidayed many times at Gorleston Super Holiday Camp in the early 1960s, my Dad always used to sing and dance on stage whenever we stayed there, his name was George Summersby. I'm sure we do have some photos but sadly my Dad passed away two years ago, so I may have to do some delving. Your pictures brought back fantastic memories from my childhood and I certainly recognise the camp. I am also looking at your pictures very intently just in case. If I do find anything, I may actually have some postcards, would you be interested? I'm not sure why I decided to type "Gorleston Super Holiday Camp" into Google yesterday, of all days, probably boredom in the office, on a hot summer afternoon in London but I'm glad I did, as it brought back many happy memories. I'm always searching for something nostalgic and I can only remember really happy times at the camp, I guess it would have been in the early 1960s, I was born in 1960 and I know I was quite young but I have to ask my Mum if she can remember. I've never been back since those days and was interested (and sad) but not surprised that it is now a housing estate, I think I'd like to remember the camp as it was. We spent many holidays at various camps, Torbay Chalets in Devon, Southdean in Sussex, Gunton Hall in Norfolk and a number of others but the one that has always stuck in my mind the most was Gorleston and I recognised so much from your pictures. I would have loved Dad to have seen the site, he certainly could have helped you a lot with your research, he was a very good amateur song and dance man and my parents almost moved to the Gorleston area in the 1960s, so he could do more work at the camp but it never happened, unfortunately.
I will certainly try to find my postcards, I know we have loads of photos but it's a question of finding them at Mum's. I'll definitely be in touch again once I've had a chance to look.
Good Luck with your site and thanks again for putting it together.
Update Aug '08: Angela has now very kindly sent in the photographs and postcards which can be found in the relevant sections.
We received this e-mail from one of the Spanish waiters who worked in the camp in the 1967 season called Juan Bautista Rodriguez Casal.
I am one of the Spanish waiters working in the Camp during the summer of 1967. I had a surprise when I found the site bringing to me old memories of the great time I spent in the Camp in my working holidays. If you are interested in photos I uploaded some of them you can download from. I am in touch with Jesus Vilas Neira (First one from the left with his right hand up in the fancy dress photo) and he, I think, went to the Camp the next year, 1968, and probably he has many photos and stories to relate, but he, actually is in France (He is always travelling, you know) and hope to meet him next month, when I'll tell him about you. I have got some other photos but I thought they are not interesting for you. In any case I'll upload then to my gallery.
Juan’s photos appear in the Waiters section
I attach photo files from the 1948 holiday my family enjoyed at Gorleston Super Holiday Camp. Hope the attached are of some interest and that they will be added to the GSHC archive.
The photos are over 61 years old and I am happy if these views of the camp e,t,c. are of interest to anyone else outside of my family, i.e. I would rather share them now, than they become anonymous or lost forever later.
I shall be visiting my family in January and can ask surviving family members from the 1948 holiday if they have any special recollections of the holiday, - which I can then pass on to you. What I can tell you for now is that the holiday was attended by my mother's parents and their 8 offspring, plus several of their friends from their workplaces (factories) or their neighbourhood in Leicester. There were also two cousins. My father, his mother, brother and sister and one friend also attended; making a total of around 20 persons aged between 4 and 47. They all looked very happy on most of the shots, so presumably they all enjoyed the weeks holiday together.
I wonder if anyone can confirm whether or not numbers 074 and 075 are Gorleston or Great Yarmouth, it would help me a lot. . I don't think these were taken during the 1948 holiday as the young lady on the right in these 2 shots does not appear in any of the 1948 set
I lived in South Lowestoft 1979 - 1983. I like the North Sea coast and the sea breezes, (up to gale force). You can imagine, - as Leicester is as far from the sea as it is possible to get in England.
Martin Joseph Wain - December 2009
Many thanks to Martin for sending the photos. They now appear in a new section named ‘1948 Holiday’ on the Index
I was just sorting some old family photos of my late mum & dad and found some photos of their holiday at Gorleston. I could not remember where it was, but as one of the photos had a beauty contest winner saying "Miss Elmhurst Court", I Googled it and found your site. Lo and behold - the same place. I then remembered Mum & Dad going to Gorleston and it all fell into place.
I have attached some photos which I am quite happy for you to use if you wish. My mum (Marjorie Jacques) is the disabled lady and my Dad (George Jacques) is the chubby chap with a yellow shirt (sitting to the left behind the beauty queen presentation.
I think the year was around 1970 but the "Elmhurst" sash may date it. Let me know if you can confirm the date.
I also have some old super 8 movie film (no sound) which I had converted to DVD. Until now I did not realise it was of this holiday camp.
If you are interested, I could email you the video file or send a DVD. Let me know if interested.
I think it's great that you are keeping memories alive. I'm working on a similar family project relating to my late mothers disability.
Photos are attached. Let me know if you need anything else.
I am in France, but thanks to the magic of email that's no barrier.
The photos he sent us are now in the photo section of this website. The amazing thing is that I appear in one of his family’s photos.(Photo is the one taken at the Donkey Derby betting tables, I am the boy on the left of the photo at the age of about 10) I don’t know the family and they don’t know me, it was about 40+ years ago and there were hundreds of people there and it happened to be the same week as my family were staying there. I don’t know what the odds are on that one, but they must be pretty high. I wrote to him and mentioned this bizarre coincidence and received the following reply:
It is just amazing. Here we are miles apart, both interested in our past history and I come across a photo with my Dad and you in it. What a small world we live in. From what you say you must be about 7 years younger than me so we will have shared some of the same types of holidays. I retired early and now live in central France.
I have often looked at the photo with my dad in the hat and wondered who the boy was - now I know.
In the picture outside the main entrance, my mum is the lady with the leg caliper. Do you remember seeing her? Her disability does make her stand out a bit. Mind you, so does my Dad - he was always getting involved - the life and soul of the party. It's sad he died in 2006. Mum died in 1996 at the age of 76. Not a bad age for a polio victim. Still, they led active lives.
I was not on this holiday, which was I believe the only time they went to this place. I was 19 in 1970 and holidayed separately from my parents that year. From 1963 to 1966 we frequented another holiday camp called "California Lakeside Holiday Camp" near Wokingham in Berkshire. It was, as the name suggests, by a lake, so there was lots to do. I have a myriad of photos from there. That is also now closed. Maybe I should start a website to attract past holidaymakers who went there. Have you been there?
Unfortunately, although mum kept diaries from 1939 to 1993, they were minimal entries and there don't seem to be any from the seventies so I can’t confirm the dates. Maybe your parents will remember which year it was.
I will sort out the film for you and hopefully it will successfully email. If not, I can produce a DVD and post it. I need to sort out the clips from this holiday as all the films from that period were transferred onto the same DVD and I haven't had a chance yet to sort it.
It is possible that they went back the following year because I think (and I'm not sure) that there are two film clips showing the day where they have the races and someone turns up in a car pretending to be royalty - a mock Royal Ascot. I think from memory there are two different people doing the same think so it may be two years films. I'll check and send you what I've got. Unfortunately, my dad was a bit shaky on the film and my mum did a lot of it while he was playing the fool, so don't expect Stephen Spielberg. They knew how to have a laugh then. I suppose now they couldn't do all that for Health & Safety reasons.
I just checked my photo gallery and they went to Belgium in 1969 and apart from Gorleston I can't find photos for 1968. 1970 and 1972.
We have just heard the very sad news of the death of Eddie Olsen, Entertainments Manager at Gorleston Holiday Camp / Elmhurst Court from the mid 1960's to its closure in 1973. The following notice appeared in the local papers in Bexhill and Great Yarmouth:
Olsen Eddie Peacefully on 28th August 2009. Beloved husband of Rosemarie. Service at St. Michael's Church, Bexhill, 2pm 9th September, followed by Cremation at Eastbourne at 3.15pm. Flowers welcome. Donations if preferred payable to Alzheimers, c/o Mummery Funeral Directors.
Eddie was a true character who had the knack of remembering everyone's names from year to year and worked tirelessly from early morning to late at night throughout the season. Our sincere condolences to his family.
I hope you may be able to help me with a bit of Gorleston Holiday Camp history.
I am looking into the life of a man named David Cecil Thomas whose son-in-law Clifford Lincoln MC (married to his daughter Frances) was killed in Normandy in 1944.
Clifford's daughter has told me that he (David Thomas) bought either the Gorleston Gold Club . . or maybe it was the Links - at some time before the war and set up a holiday camp in the area for middle class families. That's all she knows.
Is there anything in your knowledge of what I know as Gorleston Holiday Camp (I used to go there to man the RNLI stand at the Gorleston Chamber of Commerce exhibitions in the 1960s) that links this David Thomas to its beginnings?
Or, if you have any idea of the other places (like Hopton) did he have an association with one of them instead?
Hope you can help . . thanks
Bergh Apton War Memorial Committee
I was reading your article whilst trying find some info regarding dexter roller skates, i spent my childhood and early youth in the forties and fifties roller skating at the Granby Halls situated in my hometown of Leicester, you are quite right about the atmosphere being superior to ice skating, something that i tried but it was never for me, there was always something about the maple floor and the noise of the skaters, pity about the dust though, I became a competitive speed skater for eleven years but had to move to Birmingham to pursue the sport as there was too many complaints about the dust as we had to coat the shiny surface with dental plaster of paris in order to obtain grip, it was a hobby that was to take me to most rinks throughout the country but i never managed to skate at Gorleston which is strange because most of my holidays in the fifties were usually at Grt yarmouth when we used to camp at north denes, visits to Gorleston were common and i remember the guinness clock that always drew a crowd and the pleasure flights that i could never afford. the reason that i was researching dexter skates is because they were popular with the speed skaters at that time, the other option was Beadle which i think were made in north london by Eric beadle who i remember being quite a character and could always be found demonstrating his skates at Alexander palace. the present generation of speed skaters use inline skates, tights and protective gear and it seems to me that are trying to copy the ice skaters so I'm not too sure what thats all about.,I had my first skates when i was nine years old (1949) and they had steel wheels and a key to clip them onto the front of the shoe the rear was held on by an ankle strap, I see that you mentioned hamaco skates, these seemed to be the standard skates at the time and i seem to remember the laminated ply wheels, and yes i do remember the enormous white toe stop , I found the photos of your skaters interesting they are very reminiscent of the times, happy days anyway and its always nice to remember how things used to be in the pre computer era, sorry that this article is more about skates than Gorleston but hopefully you might find it of interest, i have attached a photo taken in 1967 at alexander palace during a training session with yours truly at the front, using Dexter skates of course. many thanks for your time.
My father died last year aged 92. It seems that he visited the holiday camp in 1939. I don't know if this was a one-off visit or one of several but I have a collection of some 25 or so photographs, in good condition, depicting various groups of friends who I guess my father palled up with. The images are taken around the chalets some with in open-topped car.
I also have an excellent group photograph taken outside the main entrance. It's in pristine condition
I should be pleased the photographs to you if you think you can make use of them and maybe if some of the images are mounted on the website - someone might recognise themselves?
We have now received these photos. There is a group photo outside the main entrance taken in 1939 in the ‘Memorabilia’ section. There are also several other photos taken at Seacroft Holiday Camp that appear in the ‘Other Holiday Camp’ section.
I do not know your interest in this resort. Do you have access to records from the years during which Gorelston operated?
My geneology research has lead me to Gorelston. My grandfather died there at age 73 in 1954. His death certificate indicates that he was a steward at the camp.
If you have records and are willing to provide any information regarding George Frederick Robert Gooderham, I would be very appreciative. On the other hand, if nothing can be shared, perhaps you would be good enough to advise me. The search for this illusive ancestor has been long. I am attempting to piece together his life from 1921 to his death in 1954.
From the Gorelston website, I found it curiously coincidental that the premises was used during WW II as a training facility. My grandfather was in the Royal Field Artillery, stationed in India, China during the Boxer Revolution and returned to active duty during WW I in France and Flanders. Perhaps he went to Gorelston first during its use for training and stayed on after.
Catherine (Gooderham) Donaldson
Unfortunately, we do not have any records of this nature, but if anyone can help Catherine in her search, please contact us and we will pass on the information.
We only went to Gorleston camp once. The whole family about a dozen of us would pack-up and head off in a convoy of cars for a holiday together, either to a camp or on several occasions, B & B in Caister. It was a task trying to stay together throughout the journey and formed part of the holiday. By the time we had stopped for several cuppa's en-route or waited for someone to catch-up, journey hours.
Other camps visited were Golden Sands Country Club, St Mary's bay, Kent. And Maddiesons.
First camp we visited. 1958-60 era. My parents, now in their 80's may have photos. Seem to remember photo of Dad's 1938 Vauxhall 10, parked in camp with luggage on roof rack.
Pool was freezing, unheated. Dymchurch-Romney-Hythe light railway runs along the rear and used to stop at the camp station to pick-up passengers for trips. Railway's still in operation.
Camp demolished but remains can be seen on Google Satellite.
To see more, search St Mary's Bay, Kent, find Dunstall Lane and follow North alongside river away from beach to dead end. This was original entrance to camp. Zoom in and follow railway line to left. You will see foundations of chalets, old bowling green scar and then scan back right towards old camp entrance at top of Dunstall lane and you can just make out the kidney shaped swimming pool area almost hidden in the trees as shown above. All very interesting.
Memories: Fell in love with Jean our waitress around the age of 9. In the evening, she used to join us in the ballroom and sit at our table and put me on her knee. Remember finishing off evening in ballroom with everyone singing Sloop John B. and "Goodnight Campers", see you in the morning etc etc. Also remember Dad pinching all the cheese left on the tables in the dining room as he walked out after dinner and taking my first ever shower in the communal toilets.
I holidayed in 1968 with my family and mate Trev, at 'Corton Beach Holiday Camp', Norfolk. Sorry, no photos, we were too busy. Trev & I managed to have a few holiday romances, for the want of a better description, that week. If I remember correctly, we spent most afternoons playing our guitars on the cliff top, (good bird puller). Evenings were either spent at The Pleasure Beach, Great Yarmouth or parked up with a couple of girls in my Standard 10 which was a bit of a squeeze. Mmmm, good holiday that one.
This was followed in 1969 by a family holiday at 'Riviera Lido Holiday Club' which was situated at Nyetimber near Bognor Regis. Link below will take you to Riviera Lido Facebook page where I've posted some black & white photos circa 1969 which may be of interest together with other photos ex-campers have also posted.
Postcard link below:
Like Gorleston, Riviera Lido is also now a housing estate. This was the last time I went to a Holiday Camp for a vacation other than visiting Butlin's Skegness on a day pass some years ago..
Another interest is Middleton Tower Holiday Camp Built in ' 39 and closed in ' 94 after being owned by Pontin's and renamed S.S. Berengia the camp buildings still exists although now derelict. This one has an interesting history. Searching on Google brings up all sorts of facts including it having been fitted with a Cunnard ship's funnel.
All very sad to see these monuments of relaxation and enjoyment fall by the wayside after they've given so much pleasure to so many people.
Keep up the good work re your website which is excellent,
Barbara & Roy Badrick
I have just come across your web site and was wondering if you are still adding more information to it.
The reason I ask is that but for the Gorleston Holiday Camp I would not be here since my Mum and Dad met there in 1947. My Mum was a waitress and my Dad was a camper. My mother found a some photos from her time there, as an example the attached is a copy of the group photo taken in the week my Dad was there.
I would be happy to send you copies of the other photos together with some of my Mum’s recollections of the time she was there.
They never went back to Gorleston Holiday Camp, but they did spend their honeymoon in Gorleston itself.
Malcolm has since sent us photographs and his mother’s memories. These appear in a new section, ‘1947 Romance at GSHC’ on the left of the page.
In reminiscent conversation over the last week or so I recalled that when a 7-year-old I was evacuated to the 'Golden Sands' at Hopton-on-Sea on 01 September 1939 (three days prior outbreak of WWII).
Having suffered Polio at 4 years in 1936 and following an immediate spell in the Old Westminster Hospital at Parliament Square (site now The Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre) I was transferred to St. Vincent's Orthopaedic Hospital, Eastcote, Nr. Pinner, Middlesex. This was a wide expanse 'open-air' Childrens Hospital for those suffering from Osteomyelitis (now defunct), Anterior Poliomyelitis (Polio) and Orthopaedic T.B.
I believe I must have been temporarily allowed home in '39 for I was 'placed' in an unkempt disabled Children's School at Knotts Green Road, Leyton, London E.10 from where we were evacuated to Hopton-on-Sea as stated.
I do recall travelling by a London Transport double-decker omnibus, and had a label attached to my jumper with a National Identification numerical TXJT/301/21 and had been given two like size cardboard boxes on string that were placed over my head - one holding gas mask and the other a sandwich an a half-pint bottle of milk.
I can only remember the establishment as being of an unknown number of wooden chalets, and we were not so established there for very long as I was told by Parents many years later the we had to be 'transferred' to a safer locality as 'the authorities thought that IF the enemy was coming, they would be landing in that proximity' -
Whilst not being aware of the month and date such move was made, it was to Weymouth in Dorset to yet another pre-war holiday camp establishment - a 'Snowcem' type building known as 'The Riviera' - but, that is another era aspect story.
Do you have any knowledge or access to those 1939 'Golden Sands' historical records - or know of anyone who may have ?
Obviously, I gained your e-mail address from the 'Golden Sands' Gorleston Holiday Camp Website.
First of all, may I say what a most interesting website you have!
Way back in the mid-1960s, a very good friend of mine (with whom I worked at the time) left the Company in order to go to Gorleston, where as far as I remember, he told me that he was going to be the Camp Photographer.
Back in those days, both he and I worked at a Press and Commercial Photographic Agency in Farringdon Road, London EC1 - namely Fox Photos, although after I'd spent one year there, I moved to a different Company, even though we kept in touch for a very long time afterwards.
Several years later (possibly 1966) he told me that he was leaving Fox Photos, as he had obtained a job at the Gorleston Holiday Camp as the Camp Photographer. I do have a sort of recollection of trying to talk him out of leaving London to come up to Norfolk, but his mind was dead set on his going, so eventually he left (with his parents I seem to recollect), and I don't remember whether we did or didn't have contact after his move, as by the next year (1967) I too was on the move, but in my case, down to South Wales, where I have now lived since that year.
Strangely, although I have never visited Gorleston Holiday Camp, its name has remained with me since 1966-67, as I have always wondered what happened to my friend and how he got on in life, both at the Camp and afterwards (having noted on your site that the Camp closed in the 1970s, I assume that he must have moved to pastures new either then or before).
This message therefore is to ask whether you would or might know whether employment records for those who worked at the Gorleston Holiday Camp survived, and if they have, whether you would know where they are - or might have been - deposited?
Of course, I've just realised that I haven't said anything about the person I'm trying to find, nor about myself, so here goes.
My friend's name was Peter Thompson, and he generally was known as 'Jet' (never found out why!) and sometimes as Pete.
Peter lived at Couldson, Surrey, and I lived at Wallington, Surrey. Peter had a big love of photography even outside the normal working day; a love of photography which we shared.
Indeed, although way back then we were probably aged about 16 (17 at the most) we used to style ourselves as Algar-Thompson Photos, and regularly went to photograph Football matches (usually Crystal Palace) where we had Fox Photos Press Passes and where we enjoyed the benefits afforded the Press in those days. We also took photographs on behalf of friends and their contacts, and may well have expanded, other than Peter having moved away.
I do have a photograph or two of Peter Thompson as he looked back in the 1960s, but recently I had to send a photo of myself (taken within the same 1960s period) to someone else I once knew, as he didn't recognise me from a 2012 image. On that basis, others' seeing Peter in the 1960s might well not recognise him today, and vice versa!
Well, I think that I'll finish here and see what happens, reply-wise, but once again, thanks for having a great website.
(John C Algar)