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Warners holiday camp in Sheerness memories

By KentOnline reporter

The clocks have gone back, the nights draw in and there is a distinct nip in the air. Is it surprising we long for summer?

These pictures of Warners holiday camp and the chalet maids who worked there are a nostalgic reminder of sunshine in the 1970s.

These days the chalets off Minster Broadway are permanent homes (for 10 months of the year) and are all that remain of a camp which flourished for more than 20 years.

Warners in Minster Broadway in the 1970s (5299533)
Warners in Minster Broadway in the 1970s (5299533)

The stories of its popularity are legion, not least for the opportunities available to non-campers.

Locals found work as chalet maids, nursery maids, entertainers, photographers, cooks, dance instructors, waiters and groundsmen.

Possibly most enterprising were the school children who became happy porters for the arrivals and departures.

Warners in Minster Broadway in the 1970s (5299537)
Warners in Minster Broadway in the 1970s (5299537)

Visitors who arrived by coach and train were happy to hand over their luggage to eager teenagers who waited with a variety of wheeled trolleys, prams and push carts. They could be sure of generous tips.

Do you remember the hordes of people descending on Sheerness at the beginning and end of the holiday?

The majority were bound for or leaving Warners but crowded double deckers were heading to and from camps at the eastern end of the Island. The air fairly crackled with excitement.

Warners in Minster Broadway in the 1970s (5299541)
Warners in Minster Broadway in the 1970s (5299541)

Warners on Sheppey was the nearest for visitors from South East London. About 50 miles from home and the promise of an away-from-it-all week or fortnight most definitely appealed.

Apart from the camp facilities there were three cinemas (four including the Ace in Queenborough), repertory and bands at the Pavilion, fishing trips and pleasure boat sails around the harbour and the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery.

The latter was an added scary thrill as commentators relished telling of explosives still on board.

At Warners, there was swimming, crazy golf and entertainment in a magnificent ballroom.

The Eric Delaney band was resident for many years, and his Midnight in Moscow signature tune was the signal to pull on the dancing shoes.

The youngsters were kept amused with daily races and competitions which included everything from beautiful babies to handsome princes and princesses.

It was a shock when the camp closed - not least to the local labour force.

In 1983, all references to Warners were removed and the name changed to Irwin Park when businessman Mike Irwin sold the chalets as permanent homes and fought for many years to get all-year resident occupation.

What memories do these pictures evoke? We think the pictures were taken in 1971 and include Gladys Foreman, Eileen Simpson, Edna Oast and Margaret Demaire.

We'd like to know the names of the others together with your memores of Warners in Minster from the 1950s onwards.

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