Butlins at Barry Island

3 February 2021 ·

Butlins 1966

The inspiration for a holiday camp on Barry Island came from a holiday memory, where as a child Billy Butlin had been locked out of his B&B all day. He decided to build his last holiday camp at Nells Point. Planning permission was granted in 1965 and work began in the winter. The camp opened on 18th June 1966.

Barry Island Butlins had all the usual Butlins activities including the Redcoats, funfair, Radio Butlin, dining halls, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a boating lake, tennis courts , amusements, theatre, restaurants and bars and the ballroom. The chairlift opened in 1967.

There were eight hundred very basic 1960’s chalets that consisted of wooden panels and flat roofs.

Barry Island Butlins was incredibly popular until the 1980s. Billy Butlin announced on 29th October 1986 that the camp would be closing after the Christmas period. The camp closed on 31st December 1986.

Majestic Holidays bought the camp and reopened on 23rd May 1987. It was now called Majestic Barry Island. Majestic holidays had the intentions of demolishing the camp and rebuilding but this did not happen. Instead the camp was given a complete refurbishment including the swimming pools. The Redcoats remained at Majestic’s until 1889, then becoming known as the Bluecoats in 1991 after Butlins threatened legal action over the use of the name.

The chalets had become a big issue by now though, with maintenance needed for the flat roofs and wooden panelling. This was even written as a clause into the booking conditions, limiting action to 20% of the cost of the holiday. There were many complaints, and the BBC programme That’s Life! investigated the camp. The programme aired in January 1989, and the report said: “Its Barry Awful, Its Barry hell”. The presenter stated at the end of the programme, that if anyone was holidaying at Barry Island, to send them a postcard. By the end of the summer 1989, That’s Life! had received eight thousand postcards all praising the camp and only forty cards with a complaint. Majestic Holidays owner Rick Wright, sued and received £500,000 damages.

In 1996, there were more maintenance problems following storm damage, and the Vale of Glamorgan Council threatened to refuse granting an entertainments licence unless remedial work was undertaken on the camp. The camp continued to trade throughout the summer, but closed it’s gates for good on 7th November 1996.

The camp was demolished and a housing estate and carpark is now on the site.

In category:Barry Island
Next Post

Barry Island Beach and Promenade

The Island was purchased in 1856 by Francis Crawshay. He was an Ironmonger from Merthyr. Francis built the Marine Hotel, which was renamed Friars Point House at a later date. He also made arrangements for visitors to be brought to…
Read
Previous Post

Councils and Arms

Due to the rapid growth of the docks and Barry, the population grew dramatically. In 1881, there were five hundred people recorded as living in Barry, but by 1911 the census reveals that there were thirty three thousand, seven hundred…
Read
Random Post

Ship Wreck on Barry Island

In 1926 the S.S. Valsesia came to Barry laden down with Italian coal. There was a strike on at the time to stop mine owners reducing pay and increasing shifts from seven to eight hours. Miners were involved, together with…
Read
Random Post

Gas, Electricity and Water

The Barry and Cadoxton Gas and Water Company 1886, provided the gas for street lighting and houses and there was a plentiful supply of fresh water.  In August 1890, gas lamps were in use on many of the roads in…
Read
Random Post

Healthcare

With the growth of the town, it soon became apparent that a Medical Officer for Barry was desperately needed. There was one appointed on a part time basis, but he already had his own practice and as the town grew,…
Read
Random Post

Fire Service

In the later part of the 1800's, the police were responsible for fire fighting. Shand Mason of London, supplied three sets of fire extinguishing and escape appliances in 1890. They included thirty feet ladders at a cost of £150, and…
Read
Vale People First | Charity Number: 1124013 | Company Number: 6486521
Help us to fund the continued development of this project by visiting our fundraising page