By Dennis Hardy, Colin Ward

Goodnight Campers! lines the improvement of the British vacation camp from its origins on the flip of the century and tells the entire tale of a desirable a part of our pop culture.

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Extra resources for Goodnight Campers!: The history of the British holiday camp (Studies in History, Planning, and the Environment)

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At the same time they urged the Baking Society to take it over as a going concern. ’ 27 After the First World War (when the camp was requisitioned for military purposes) improvements were made, and chalets built. It held 400 people and was very popular among Scottish co-op members for decades. The Baking Society was finally merged with the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society and, in turn, in 1973 with the Co-operative Wholesale Society. ’ 28 It has always been one of the principles of the co-operative movement that a certain proportion of trading surpluses should be set aside for education, and it was the education committees of co-operative societies that sought to promote holidays for members.

In 1936 it was enlarged to take 200 campers. 51 Prices scarcely rose from their 1920s level all through the decade. Brown was triumphant, and when the Association’s annual conferences were held at Corton, would silence criticism on other issues, by reminding delegates of their lack of faith in the holiday camp venture when he first mooted it. 52 Was he tempted to give up the hectic life of a union boss and become a full-time camp entrepreneur? ‘I suppose I should,’ he mused, ‘have set to work to do, what could easily have been done and has, in fact, been done by others—the building of a chain of such camps.

A Fellowship brochure in 1932 advertised three seaside holiday camps for parties of boys and girls—at Staithes on the Yorkshire coast, at Conway in North Wales and on the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames Estuary. Together they could accommodate up to 500 children in a week, all in ‘well-built army huts’. It was all very basic, but cheerful and well-organized. ’ Family camps later in the 1930s could boast superior accommodation for those who could afford it. At Kessingland in 1938 a family could be housed in wooden blocks of bedrooms for 43/6d each.

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