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Filey Holiday Camp Station

Iconic remnant of post war austerity holidays in Britain

East Yorkshire
Red Wheel Site:
Transport Mode(s):

Off Moor Road, Filey, North Yorks YO14 9QQ

YO14 9QQ
Visitor Centre:

About Filey Holiday Camp Station

Filey Holiday Camp was the biggest of Billy Butlin's camps. It extended to some 400 acres on Hunmanby Moor, on the outskirts of Filey, and eventually accommodated nearly 11,000 campers. It operated from 1945 until 1983. It was gradually demolished between 1988 and 2003. The station platforms remain in place on the other side of the A165.

Billy Butlin's inspiration for his holiday camp empire came from an unhappy holiday on Barry Island in his youth, when he had been locked out of his bed and breakfast accommodation all day by his landlady, which was normal practice at the time. Hisfirst Butlins Holiday Camp was opened in 1936 in Skegness;a second camp at Clactonfollowed in1938 and construction of a third began at Filey (1939). With the outbreak of World War II, Filey was completed by Butlin as a military camp for the RAF Regiment (RAF Hunmanby Moor), housing 6,000 military personnel. InMay1945, with the assistance of 400 RAF personnel, the camp was able to partially open to the public, althoughone half of the camp remained in military use until 1946. The neat, ordered, rows of basic accomodation blocks and mess buildings readily betrayed the sites military heritage.

Butlins became popular in post-war Britain with extensive family entertainment and activities available for the equivalent of a week's pay.The site was very close to the mainline, so a dedicated station was constructed in 1947; when it opened,almost all of the holiday makers traveled to the camp byrail but, with the passage of time,an increasing number turned to the car. Eventually,it became uneconomic to keep the station open and the last train ran on Saturday 17 July 1977; the rails had been lifted within a year.

The station was on a short branch line with two 275 m (900 ft) long platforms permitting four trains could be handled at the same time. Campers were transferred from the station via a 'road-train' that ran under the road via a dedicated cast concrete subway. During the heyday of holiday camp rail traffic, trains arrived and departed to towns throughout the country. A Glasgow service was introduced in 1957 and served both the camp station and Scarborough Central, the working being known as the 'Gorbals Express' by station staff . The King's Cross train from the capital had an afternoon arrival time of 13.43 and was the only one to provide restaurant and buffet car facilities.

Although the number of holidaymakers staying at the camp increased significantly from approximately 75,000 in 1955 to 173,000 in 1975 there was no increase in the numbers who travelled there by rail, in fact,the increasingownership of the private car and the advent of continental holidays led to a decision to close the branch at the end of the 1977 holiday season.

The platforms, concourse, exit steps, fencing and even concrete lamp posts remain in situ. The holiday campsite itself is now derelict, with the outline of the enormous monumental lake and swimming pool still visible. The once vital passenger subway has been backfilled and flooded. (See also Filey Station)

By road: Off A165 Moor Road

By train: Filey Station is approx 3 km away

Daniels, Sarah, Remember Filey Butlins: Reliving Eight Decades of History Through the Memories of Former Staff and Holiday Makers, East Riding of Yorkshire Council Arts Development, ISBN-10: 0955291208 (2006)

Endacott, Sylvia & Lewis, Shirley, Butlin's: 75 Years of Fun, The History Press, ISBN-10: 0752458639 (2011)

Fawcett, B., North Eastern Railway Architecture, North Eastern Railway Association, ISBN-10: 1873513488 (2001)

Gray, Fred, Designing the Seaside: Architecture, Society and Nature, Reaktion Books, ISBN-10: 1861892748 (2006)

Hoole, K., Railway Stations of the North East, David & Charles, ISBN-10: 0715385275 (1985)

Kynaston, David, Family Britain, 1951-1957 (Tales of a New Jerusalem), Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN-10: 1408800837 (2010)

Wray, Paul, Butlin's Filey: Thanks for the Memories, Hutton Press, ISBN-10: 1872167349 (1992)

National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR