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Holiday Camps


From John Bullar’s Guide to the Island in 1823, he reported, “A beautiful lake bordered by fine trees looking across from the bridge, only buildings being seen are Fernhill Farm and Fernhill House.”
Prior to the opening of Lakeside the Millpond was used by villagers for both summer and winter recreation. In summer it was possible to row some distance up the lake towards Havenstreet and in winter when the Millpond was frozen it attracted a lot of people who could skate almost two miles from the road bridge, towards Havenstreet.

The first development at Lakeside was the opening of a “Splendid New Café” and associated car park on 19 June 1937, the Millpond was advertised as having a fleet of canoes, dinghies and punts for hire and one of the largest boating lakes in England. The café was approached through an avenue of trees, 30 feet of land being given to Newport Town Council who promised to make a more spacious entrance. A car park with provision for larger vehicles was created. A cement path edged with herbaceous borders led through trees and over a rustic bridge.

Formal opening of Lakeside 20 August 1938

The facility was opened for last year but facilities have been steadily expanded and it is now ready for the formal opening. A valuable and enterprising addition to the attractions at Lakeside, Wootton, was inaugurated last Saturday, when a spacious swimming pool was opened by the Mayor of Newport (Mr. F. E. Walsh). Since its foundations, some 18 months ago, Lakeside with its pleasant boating lake, cafe, and dance pavilion [later known as the Tahiti Ballroom] has done a great deal to popularise the locality. People visited Lakeside from all parts and spend many happy hours amid delightful surroundings in pleasing and health giving forms of amusement.

The new pool, the largest in the Island, is pleasantly situated near the edge of the boating lake, south east of the cafe. The pool and adjoining clubhouse, measuring 150 feet by 60 feet, with a water area of 105 feet by 35 feet, have been artistically laid out and are in harmony with the quiet country setting, which surrounds Lakeside. The club house is a well appointed building with a balcony, from which a charming view of waterway and surrounding countryside can be obtained, while the pool which is made from coloured concrete and will be illuminated is flanked with terraces from which gala lightts and other attractions can be witnessed. The water varies in depth from 3ft to 9ft 9 inches. At the deep end there are five diving boards, including a diving platform of three heights, the highest being 16ft 6 inches, and a springboard. These boards have been made to comply with the rules of the Amateur Diving Association, so that they may be used for competitive purposes. The pool was completed in 11 weeks and five days. With a special machine 15,000 tons of earth were excavated in five days. Five hundred tons of concrete and 20 tons of steel have been used in the construction, and it holds 150,000 gallons of seawater, which by a special filtration and purification plant is completely “turned over” every 10 hours. It is hoped to arrange water polo matches and a club team has already been formed. Swimming galas will also be arranged, and it is hoped to have a weekly feature in connection with the pool.

There was a large attendance at the opening, which took place in front of the clubhouse. The Mayor of Newport (Mr. F. E. Walsh) was accompanied by Mr. E. H. Ayre, director of Island Estates Ltd., and founder of Lakeside, Mr. C. Healey [another director], Mr. L. H. W. Cornellius [manager] and the following members of the Newport Corporation; Alderman F. E. Whitcher, J.P., and A. E. Harvey J.P., Councillors J. Salter, H. Lower, W. C. Smith, and Capt. J. S. Brown, and Mesdames Harvey, Brown, Whitcher, Lower, Salter and Smith. Mr Ayre said that 17 months ago that this part of Wootton was just a field. Since then they had provided amenities, which had attracted a large number of people, and had made Wootton a popular holiday resort during the summer. He paid tribute to the work of the builders (Messrs. E. Pollard and Co, of London) and the architects (Messrs. Harrison and Gilkes, of Shanklin) and said that the water in the pool was the warmest sea bathing water to be found on the Island. The filtration plant ensured complete purification. Everything had been done with a view to ensuring perfect health and physical fitness in those who used it. He hoped that everyone would take full advantage of the pleasures provided at Lakeside, and spend many happy hours within their grounds.

In declaring the pool open, the Mayor congratulated Mr. Ayre upon his admirable enterprise and said the pool would be a delightful addition to Lakeside. They already had already one of the largest boating lakes in the South of England, and now a swimming pool was an accomplished fact, the attraction of this delightful spot would be a considerable enhanced.

Several bathers leaped into the water as the Mayor declared the pool open, and four ladies of the “After Dinner” company from Shanklin Pier swam in the pool and were afterwards presented with a boxes of chocolates by the Mayor. Tommy Trinder, the comedian of the show, was unable to attend owing to his being in London making gramophone records, but he sent a telegram wishing the venture every success. Mr. H. Terry Wood was thanked for allowing members of the company to attend the opening. The guests were entertained to tea afterwards.

Work has already commenced on two hard tennis courts and an 18-hole putting course. Additional canoes of silver spruce and mahogany, with the knees of oak from the estate, have been added, and the length of the slipway has been doubled. The boating fees will be reduced this year.

Scholars Entertained

The school children had a rare wartime treat on Wednesday when they were given a party at Lakeside by a famous Highland regiment. There was a procession from the school headed by the bagpipes and the regimental mascot the St Bernard dog, ‘Wallace’. Each child was attended by a soldier at tea and afterwards there was a programme of popular films.

After the Second World War the ownership of Lakeside passed to Lakeside Estates based in London. The licensee of the clubhouse at that time was a Mr William Sidney Coghlan who in 1952 bought the facility. A condition of the licence was that all intoxicating liquor to be purchased with food.

Donald Campbell’s Bluebird.

In the Spring of 1953 Donald Campbell tested a radio-controlled prototype model of the jet-driven hydroplane Bluebird. The model was designed by Kenneth and Lewis Norris, engineers of Burgess Hill, Sussex. Reported in the Isle of Wight County Press of 4 February 1956 when Sir Donald Campbell was recounting lightts leading up to that day he said “The scale model, powered with a hydrogen peroxide rocket, smashed itself to smithereens one morning when it ran ashore at 80 mph. The crash and explosion of gas from the rocket so startled an elderly carthorse in the next field, he interrupted his breakfast with a burst of speed which would have won him The Derby.”

As also reported in the article Mr. W. A. Crago, superintendent of tank tests for Saunders Roe confirmed that the lake of water near Osborne was in fact Lakeside, Wootton, on the wide expanse of water above the bridge, an ideal place very few people knew what was actually going on as the operations were carried out in secret and at dawn.

From 1955 the licensees of Lakeside Cafe were
Date Person
June 1955 W. F. White
1957 Joseph Morland
1961 Fredrick Riley

Fredrick Riley purchased the licence who in turn sold it to Commander Fulljames of Wootton Grange, New Road, Wootton. The campsite was then renamed Lakeside Inn. There were a number wooden chalets for hire on the site and the campsite was well used.

The licensees for the following years...
Date Person
1965 Edward and Jean Lanaghen
1966 Frank and Majorie Haigh
1968/9 Trevor and Marqurite Davies
1971 Alilla and Deanne Engin
1972 Reginald and Laura Wilson
1973/4 Robert Seager
1975/6 Peter Lislie

In 1976 Patrick G. Fulljames renamed it Lakeside Country Club, an advertisement of the day offered the following amenities
Campers and Chalet dwellers are automatically members of the Country Club and the amenities we offer include:-
* A full sized fresh water swimming pool.
* Children’s play area’
* Licensed Club house adjoining the pool.
* Hard surfaced tennis courts
* Television room.
* Boating on the lake.
All amenities are included in the tariff except for boating, when a small hourly charge is made.
Tennis rackets and balls may be hired if required.
Bar snacks are served at the Club house.


These high quality and appealing bungalows each sleep six people – two single and two double beds, one of which is a bed settee. Every chalet has a separate flush toilet, bathroom with bath or shower, hot and cold water and a kitchenette. They are fully equipped with crockery, cutlery, cooking equipment, refrigerator, blankets and pillows. Linen is not provided but may be hired at a reasonable charge.


The camping ground, flanked by woodlands and fields, slopes gently down to the lake. There is a block of flush toilets with washing facilities and hot showers. Fresh eggs, milk, bread, foodstuffs of all kinds, toilet requisites, etc, may be obtained from the camp shop.
If you are staying elsewhere on the Island we offer
Daily Membership £1 Adult; 50p Child
Weekly Membership £2 Adult; £1 Child
However holiday trends were changing, there were less people visiting and the camp closed around 1980.

In 1988 the now deserted complex of 15 acres was purchased by Leading Leisure. There is a record of the land being bought from Richard Hugh Willis Fleming and others by Lakeside Investment Company Ltd. on the 29 March 1988. Included with the conveyance was the following covenants –“Subject to such rights whether of use or passage across the foreshore or in respect of the water of the pond where otherwise affecting the property hereby conveyed as may exist (if at all) in favour of the Crown of the public or adjoining owners.” This being in relation to the Freehold land shown edged with red in the plan of the Title of the Mill Pond, Wootton Bridge.

1. Not at any time to erect or place or permit or suffer to be erected or placed any building or structure of any kind or description whatsoever except jetties or similar structures facilitating boating activities on the property hereby conveyed or any part thereof.
2. Not to use the property hereby conveyed or any part thereof for any use or purpose other than as a Mill Pond or stretch of water for use for leisure or similar activities and not to do or permit or suffer to be done any act or thing which would detract from or destroy the appearance and enjoyment of the property hereby conveyed as a natural sea water tidal pond.
3. Not to use the property hereby conveyed or any part thereof for any purpose which shall be or become a nuisance or annoyance or cause damage to the adjoining land of the vendors now or formerly forming part of the Fleming Estates in the Isle of Wight.
In November 1988 Leisure Entertainment Ltd of Southampton made a proposed new development. In 1990 outline planning was given for 60 holiday lodges and leisure related activities.
The site again changed hands in 1991 when it was bought by Wembley PLC. and the original complex was demolished. A modern all wood restaurant was built and renamed the “Boathouse”, however the venture was not a success and the facility closed and was boarded up.
A further outline planning application was again submitted for the holiday lodges and leisure activities in 1993 On 10 May 2000 the land and buildings were sold to Godshill Park Development for £393,625. In August 2001 an application for the re-development of the site TCP/18086/A, was submitted to Isle of Wight Council, for a 3 star 60-bedroom hotel and conference centre with use of the millpond for associated leisure activities, conditional approval was granted. In 2006 an amended proposal was laid before the Planning Department of the Isle of Wight Council to change to 56 bed 4 star. Work commenced on site clearance in May 2007. Construction of the new hotel and conference centre starting in the autumn of 2007 with works to be completed by the spring of 2008.

Other input from various County Press articles.
Letters to the Editor IoW CP 1 October 2004
“Back in 1968 Roger Boxall, Phil Whittington and I (Tim Muncaster), ably supported by Steve Pavey on coffee duty, spurred on by the late, great Tom Taylor (who’s suggestion of a tablespoon full of English mustard each to keep us awake was graciously declined), played for 48 hours at Lakeside Country Club, Wootton.
We were pupils at Carisbrooke grammar and the lightt was organised to support the efforts of Mike Ledger at the Halland Hotel, Seaview, to raise money for a kidney machine for the Island.
All the equipment was loaned by Watkins Electric Music, who provided the sound system for the IW pop festivals and Charlie Watkins contributed £50. I think we made about £200 in all, which was a lot in those days. We made the ITV news and I think the CP. Sadly, neither Lakeside, the Hallard nor dear old Tom are with us any longer”.

Source: Isle of Wight County Press, 20 August 1938

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:38

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