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Holiday Camps

Wootton Holiday Camp 1937-1975

This is the correct name for the place that many of the older villagers call 'Rafters'; the site was sold to London Borough Council in 1975 to allow a housing development for their retired employees and is now known as Church Close.

The camp started life in 1937 with the first owners being listed as the Piggott Bros. & Co. Ltd., however very little is known about this period.

During 1939-45 war it would appear that the camp was requisitioned by the army and it is known that the 11th (Royal Militia Island of Jersey) Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment formed 28 June 1940 by expansion of Jersey Coy. in 50th Btn upon volunteering for overseas service. All 11 officers and 193 other ranks left the Island of Jersey in the potato ship S.S. Hodder.

The battalion headquarters were in a house called Meadow Croft, which was on the corner of the High Street and Palmers Road facing Harwoods Garage.

Later the American 'Seabees' were stationed in the camp [one assumes prior to 'D' day].

In 1951 Roy Holland became the proprietor and an extract from a publication by Doreen Gazey entitled "Church and Parish", gives a description of a Harvest Supper that took place at the camp in November 1959. "It records that 140 guests consumed 65 1/2 lbs pork, 17 pheasants, 5 gallons each of cider and beer, in addition to apple pies, cheese, trifles, minerals and teas, this was followed by a social and a dance. Numbers attending over the years rising to in 1967 a maximum of 160 people at five shillings per head'. Children's parties were also held at the camp.

In 1961 the camp was bought by Gerry Cave a Canadian who operated the site until its closure in 1975.

In the 1960/70s Wootton Horticultural Society held their annual shows there.

Picture of Wootton Holiday Camp
Wootton Holiday Camp - John Cooper
Picture of Wootton Holiday Camp
Wootton Holiday Camp

Comments

  • Paul Prior wrote:
    on the 26th July, 2010

    Reminiscences of Holidays at Wootton Holiday Camp in the Late 1960’s

    "My first visit to the camp at Wootton was in 1966 the same year that England won the world cup; I came with my parents and brother. We came several times again and our holidays usually lasted for two weeks.

    The camp was very easy going and the owner Jerry Cave made everyone welcome, I wonder where Gerry is now can anyone let me know? I spent most of my holiday on the beach, or on the Millpond at Lakeside; my favourite pastime being to paddle my canoe as far as possible up the stream feeding Millpond, which I now known is called Blackbridge Brook and my parents would tell my off for being missing to long. Once when the stream was in full flow after heavy rains I paddled so far that that the canoe grounded on the bottom. I got out and found a farmer who was carrying a shotgun and asked him where I was, to which his reply was, France. After a pause and seeing my puzzle look, he said Havenstreet, and suggested that I should get back to my parents who would be worried.

    Another time I paddled the canoe up Wootton Creek hoping to reach Woodside Bay, but by the time I got level with Lisle Court a passing boat advised me turn round and head back as the tide was turning.

    The family often walked down to café at Woodside and we would go swimming and fishing for crabs off the jetty. When my younger brother got back to the camp he always went to feed Gerry Cave’s donkey, which was called Paddy.

    The evenings would either be spent at Rafters or the Lakeside Club, we drunk Hubby Bubbly and we had the plain crisps with the salt in a little blue bag. On one holiday at the camp I was playing the “one armed bandit” and won the jackpot, sixpences were all over the floor, I think I won £4.00.

    While on holiday at Rafter in July 1968 I was allowed to stay up late to watch the first moon landing, I last visited Wootton in 1978 and called in at Lakeside Inn. It has always been my ambition that when I retire, Wootton will be the place I come to, so if one day you see a man walking down the High Street with a canoe and a smile on his face that will be me."

This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:17:20

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