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Squires Gate Holiday Camp, Blackpool 1950s

Squires Gate Holiday Camp, Blackpool 1950s

Old Color Images

Regular price $25.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $25.00 USD
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The Holiday Camp Archive at Old Color Images
  • Available as a quality print
  • Image has been digitally cleaned and restored
  • 80lb/200 gsm premium matte paper
  • FREE worldwide delivery 
12" x 8" prints (A4) will be sent flat but all other sizes will be sent rolled in a tube.

We can also supply this image in a wide variety of other formats including canvas prints, poster board, wood framed prints and aluminum. In addition we can also print the image on a wide variety of clothing and household items. Please don't hesitate to contact us.

Brief history of Blackpool

The brainchild of Herbert Pye this site started in the 1920s as a camping ground with tents and by the 1930s these had been replaced by over a thousand wooden chalets. In 1939 a new dining hall, bar, 'grand piazza' and outdoor swimming pool were built. Pye had spent some years living in California and the architecture and interior designs were very much in that west coast American/Spanish style.

During the war it was taken over by the Navy and renamed HMS Prithibian. 

It was sold to Pontins in 1961 for £375,000 and Fred Pontin later remarked it was the best investment he'd ever made. The 38 acre site was soon rebuilt with new chalets arranged in one or two-storey blocks. As it was a full board site all meals were included and were taken in the huge new communal dining room. Chalet rooms were hotel-style, consisting of a bedroom and bathroom and not much else. They didn't even have TVs until the 1990s. The original Squires Gate entertainment building and swimming pool were both retained, and the pool was later enclosed inside a new building.

The camp was located at the end of the runway at Blackpool Airport and in 1972 the inevitable happened when a small Hansa jet plane overshot the runway and smashed into the camp demolishing a bunch of chalets and causing a huge fireball. Miraculously nobody on the ground was inured but 7 people on the plane sadly lost their lives

During the late-1970s more new chalets were built bringing the total up to 749. In the early-1980s a new reception building was constructed along with a sports and recreation hall featuring a snooker room, coffee bar, sauna, gym and hot tub. By this time the camp could accommodate 2,500 people.

No other major investment took place and by the 2000s the camp was looking a bit rundown although it was still hugely popular. In common with other Pontin camps at Hemsby & Wall Park speculation was rife that it was all a deliberate attempt at justifying closure so the land could be sold for more lucrative housing. There's probably some truth in this considering the freehold of the land was owned by Trevor Hemmings, an early protege of Fred Pontin. Hemmings' construction company had built many of the camps for Pontins in the 1960s and 1970s and he later went on to own the company and became a successful property developer. Even when he sold the company he retained ownership of some of the camps freeholds, along with the rights to run the amusement arcades in each of the camps through his Crown Leisure business.

The closure was announced in September 2009 with the loss of 70 full time jobs. By 2013 the demolition was complete and construction of a new housing estate was well underway. Where was the camp located? Search out Ashworth Road or Stubblefield Drive.

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