Film ID: YFA 2157 Video of YFA_2157 Cayton Nalgo Holiday Camp 1950 CAYTON NALGO HOLIDAY CAMP 1950 Visitor TabsDescription This film is about a holiday to the National Association of Local Government Officers (NALGO) holiday camp in Cayton. It provides a good example of a group holiday in the 1950s and includes events at the camp including races and the crowning of the Cayton King and Queen. Titles: ‘Middlesbrough & District Amateur Motion Picture Club.’ ‘Rank Arthur’s Productions present the sign of a good holiday… or back to those happy Cayton days.’ The NALGO flag is flying. The film opens with two children standing by the sign for ‘NALGO Holiday Centre’. The children are then on the beach looking through binoculars, and their mother is sitting nearby. They then ride on a swing. A group of adults are playing rounders on the beach, and this is followed by some children racing, first the girls then the boys, with the winners posing for the camera. The children participate in various other races including an egg and spoon race, running backwards, arm-and-arm in pairs and ‘piggy backs.’ The film shows the winners at the end of each race. Next the adults take part some races as well. Back on the beach the children play and dig in the sand making sandcastles for a competition. The adults go onto compete in a tug-of-war, other adult games, and more races. A small child is shown holding a pebble. Intertitle: ‘We chose our eminent personalities, Mr and Mrs Cayton.’ In a field all the men are lined up on one side and all the women on the other. The men proceed to parade, one at a time, in front of some women judges sitting at desks. A young couple emerge to be crowned Cayton Queen and King. Back on the beach children and some adults paddle in the sea, whilst some women sit on deck chairs having tea and cake. There is a brief scene of men playing bowls, women playing netball, and men playing basketball. This is followed a shot of the ankles of a group of women lined up on the beach and men displaying their chests. A bit more film of the beach is followed by holidaymakers going back to their chalets. Intertitle: ‘We went to see the boats at Scarborough’. There are shots of the Hispaniola, a large tall ship with rigging, and other pleasure crafts in Scarborough Harbour. There are more general views of fun on the beach and games in the park. Everyone is fully clothed throughout the film; it looks chilly. Intertitle: ‘We had a show but as the camera couldn’t see the chorus . . . here they are’ In a line and holding up their skirts, women dancers perform a can-can dance on a stage. The women then pose outside for the camera, and there is a photograph of them displaying their backsides. The film then switches briefly to the night-time and a bonfire, before returning to the day time and children in fancy dress. Intertitle: ‘Other events were missed through lack of film . . . but two events we did not miss: Skipper and Sporty’ Two men pose for the camera. The film then returns to the NALGO flag which was flying at the beginning. The End Context This film was made by amateur filmmaker John Nunn. He and his family were regular holidaymakers at the NALGO camp at Cayton in the late 1940s and 1950s. John made numerous films during the 1950s, 60s and 70s of family life, his interest in the railway and of local events. He also made some 200 VHS video tapes recording village life in Masham during the 1980s and 1990s. After the success of a similar camp at Croyde Bay in Devon the property for the camp at Cayton was purchased by NALGO from a Mr Thompson Trimmer in 1932. Then at a cost of £25,000, 124 wooden bungalows were built to accommodate over 250 visitors, along with a dining hall with waiter service, a rest room, a recreation room for playing cards and billiards, tennis courts, bowling greens, a theatre for indoor shows and a children's play area. From here it was just a short walk to the beach which had a sun terrace, beach house and small shop. It opened in July 1933, predating Billy Butlin’s camp at Filey which opened in 1939 – for more on this and holiday camps see the Context for Butlins Filey (1975), also on YFA Online(Learning). At that time it was considered a very modern camp boasting ‘waterproof’ chalets. During the Second World War it became a home for evacuated children from Middlesbrough. At the time of the film it was overseen by a Mr Bainbridge, a member of the NALGO National Executive Committee. His son Frank recounts that they regularly went on holiday there from the late 1940s to 1959 and that the strongest drink on offer was Vimto! One of the earliest visitors were the family of poet and Hull University Librarian Philip Larkin, who stayed three weeks at a cost of £2 5s a week each (perhaps ½ price for Philip who may have been just under 12) – his time here is possibly evoked in his 1969 poem To the Sea. Philip Larkin’s father Sydney was an accountant, but, as a well-known Nazi sympathiser, an unlikely trade unionist. Yet this was a trade union campsite. Trade union holiday camps might be a thing of the past, but it wasn’t always so; in fact they were pioneers in organising leisure activities for their members. The first real revolution in allowing holidays for working class people was the coming of railways. From the 1840s onwards Friendly Societies organised excursions to the seaside. Another big breakthrough came with the 1851 Great Exhibition in London which gave rise to the ‘package holiday’, although not called a ‘holiday’ at that time. The desire of working class people to visit the Great Exhibition was very high. Susan Barton reports on a Huddersfield labourer who took an overnight train to London at a cost of 5s, spent nothing other than the entrance fee of 1s, and returned that night ready for work the next day (see Susan Barton, p 65, References). Although the first holiday camp was the Cunningham Camp for men on the Isle of Man, opening in 1894, the more purpose built Caister Camp, which started in 1906, wasn’t far behind. This emerged out of the socialist leaning Clarion Clubs of Robert Blatchford, developing out of the Clarion newspaper in 1891. Called by its founder, John Fletcher Dodd – a member of the Independent Labour Party and of the Clarion Cycle Club – the "Caister Socialist Holiday Camp", it attracted leading left-wingers from the Labour Party, including George Bernard Shaw, Kier Hardy and Herbert Morrison. Both trade unions and the Co-operative movement were quick to follow suit to provide holiday places for their members. Among the early pioneers were the Roseland Summer Camp at Rothesay in Scotland, opening in 1911; the Coventry Cooperative camp at Voryd in Rhyl; and the Civil Service holiday camps, at Corton in 1924 and a second one at Hayling Island in 1930. Both of these were realised through the personal efforts of William Brown, the General Secretary of the Civil Service Clerical Association. The Co-operative Holiday Association (CHA), formally constituted in 1897, had 14,000 members by 1911 and thirteen holiday centres in 1913, as well as guest houses on the continent. These early worker’s holiday organisations often had a strong Christian influence – see also the Context for C.P.A.S. Camp At Slaidburn. NALGO was certainly a leader in this movement, already having a holiday cottage in Wales in 1912, and opening a camp at Croyde Bay in Devon in 1931, followed soon after by the much larger site at Cayton Bay near Scarborough. These really took off after the Second World War when the Holidays with Pay Act of 1938 made its real impact. Already the Act – which trade unions had long been fighting for – had boosted the number entitled to holidays from 3 million to 11 million in the year immediately after being passed. However, civil servants were already entitled to paid leave well before this time, thanks to an agreement made by the Whitley Council in 1920, granting twenty four working days for the lowest grades, and up to fifty eight for the highest. Yet NALGO didn’t start out as a trade union; anything but. It originated with the Liverpool Municipal Officers' Guild founded by Herbert Blain, later to become Sir Herbert Blain, the Principal Agent of the Conservative Party during the 1926 General Strike. Even after the Liverpool Municipal Officers' Guild joined with two other similar organisations to form NALGO in 1905, it still distanced itself from any association with trade unions. Its members at that time, mainly Chief Officers and senior professionals, didn’t see themselves in that way. But the Liverpool Municipal Officers' Guild already had a large travel agency, chartering steamers for 2,000 people every year to Lludandudno. Right from the outset though Blain saw that among its chief aims was, 'to provide means for social intercourse amongst its members and for their improvement, advancement and recreation.’ After the First World War pressure from its ever increasing membership led it finally to become a trade union in 1920, and apply to join the Trades Union Congress in 1921 – which was not agreed to until 1964! It grew rapidly after the Second World War, becoming one of the largest trade unions, and in 1952 changed its name to the National and (formerly ‘Association of’) Local Government Officers Association – retaining its acronym. Even then it did not adopt a strike clause in its constitution until 1961. In 1993 it joined forces with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) and the Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE) to create Unison. The camp at Cayton was eventually sold to another camp operator in 1976 for £100,000, and is now a small estate of bungalows known as Knipe Point. However, the camp at Croyde Bay is still being run by the successor to NALGO, Unison. References Susan Barton, Working Class Organisations and Tourism, Manchester University Press, 2005. Alan Burton, The British Consumer Co-operative Movement and Film, 1890s-1960s, Manchester University Press, 2005. British Holiday Camps: A Brief History Holiday Camps Ralph’s NALGO Postcard Site As well as having some old pictures, this also has a brief history of the camp. NALGO History NALGO, Richard Maybin Further Information Alec Spoor, White Collar Union, Heinemann, London, 1967. Colin Ward and Dennis Hardy, Goodnight campers! The history of the British holiday camp, Mansell, London, 1986.