Sussex

Billy Butlin remembered with Bognor Regis blue plaque

Billy Butlin in 1954
Image caption Billy Butlin opened the amusement centre in Bognor Regis in the 1930s

A blue plaque has been unveiled in West Sussex to mark the impact made by holiday camp pioneer Sir Billy Butlin.

Sir Billy, who aimed to provide affordable holidays for families, set up an amusement centre in Bognor Regis in the 1930s and replaced it with a holiday camp in 1961.

His daughter, Jacquie, unveiled the plaque on the Bognor Regis seafront.

"I'm so proud of what my father achieved and that it's still continuing to this day," she said.

Sir Billy, who died at the age of 80 in 1980, opened his first holiday camp in Skegness in 1936 before expanding around the country.

"To have the insight to start a business like Butlin's in your early 30s is amazing," Ms Butlin said.

Image caption The plaque was unveiled by Sir Billy Butlin's daughter Jacquie
Image copyright Bognor Regis Local History Group
Image caption Billy Butlin first opened a recreation shelter in Bognor Regis

The plaque is located on the seafront site where Sir Billy opened his first seaside business in the town.

The venture was called a recreation shelter, which was designed to appeal to bed and breakfast holidaymakers who were not allowed into their accommodation during the daytime.

The business later expanded to include a zoo, with animals including bears and polar bears.

Jeremy Pardy, Butlin's resort director in Bognor Regis, said: "Billy Butlin was all about not standing still.

"He brought the dodgems - the first time to the UK - he brought the first swimming pool with glass walls, he brought lots of things to this country, and innovating was his key."

A total of 10 camps were built, but only three remain open under the Butlin's brand - in Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness.

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