Memories by Gordon Nairn

In 1947 I was living in Highgate. (I was aged 7). We got a taxi to Waterloo, then the train to Havant, then the Hayling Billy. We walked up to Warner’s Southleigh Holiday camp, in St Mary’s Road.

Before we left we packed a trunk with all our holiday gear. The trunk was picked up by the rail company and taken to Waterloo. When we got to the holiday camp our trunk was waiting for us. We used to come down with my two sisters until I was 17.

From the last week of July to the first week of August all the factories closed down and everyone went away. We met up with people from the East End, Birmingham and Coventry on the train and in the holiday camp.

The train was a big part of the holiday because it was so small and quaint.

In 1954 when I was about 14 I used to go to Hayling Station with a hand cart (because my father knew the manager) from the holiday camp to collect people’s luggage. I used to get 3d (old pence) or 6d a time.

In 1955 I stayed for nine weeks in the camp as a waiter, which opened my eyes to life!

Later I came down on my own to the holiday camp with a friend. In those days it was all sand dunes – we hardly saw our parents because we were busy being entertained. We slept overnight on the beach because our parents didn’t have to worry about us.

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