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Thread: B I B goes to Barry Island!!!!

  1. #31
    barryislandfan Guest

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    BIR, I agree you just have to look at old Barry Island postcards (I have a few) and see how busy the beach was to know how many people left the camp. The attitude that nobody ever left was stupid. One of the reasons we loved Barry Island as a family was because we could leave the camp and be straight onto the beach and there were no main roads around. It was a beautifully compact holiday resort, in my opinion one of the best small resorts in Britain. Now the camps gone theres nowhere near as many people on the beach or around the town as their once was. I can remember not being able to move on the beach some days. Last time I went it was dead, maybe because it was March! I went in July last year on a warm July Saturday (1st of the summer hols) and thought how quiet it was, and how if the camp had been there and being hte 1st week of the holidays the place would be buzzing. Makes me very sad for the place, its nothing more than a day trip resort now, and thanks to VOG Council always will be.

  2. #32
    barryislandreunion Guest

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    Yes, but a day trip for what? Ok the Beach is very nice thse days, but very little else, even the Pleasure Park seems run down, with very little investment seem to have been made. The shops leave a lot to be desired and I am afraid that even those people going to the beach for the day probably don't spend that much money. If the Gaeity and Regency buildings do go, I think even less people would go to Barry Island, some of this tourism is due to the legacy of the camp, and everyone on this forum always says that when they have visited Barry, there have been people looking wistfully at the remains. Once these buildings have gone, there will be very little else and the last bits of sentimental attachment will have sadly been destroyed. My bet is that (depending on what they end up doing with the rest of the camp) than in the next 10-15 years, whats left will all become housing - even the Pleasure Park will go

  3. #33
    barryislandfan Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by barryislandreunion
    Yes, but a day trip for what? Ok the Beach is very nice thse days, but very little else, even the Pleasure Park seems run down, with very little investment seem to have been made. The shops leave a lot to be desired and I am afraid that even those people going to the beach for the day probably don't spend that much money. If the Gaeity and Regency buildings do go, I think even less people would go to Barry Island, some of this tourism is due to the legacy of the camp, and everyone on this forum always says that when they have visited Barry, there have been people looking wistfully at the remains. Once these buildings have gone, there will be very little else and the last bits of sentimental attachment will have sadly been destroyed. My bet is that (depending on what they end up doing with the rest of the camp) than in the next 10-15 years, whats left will all become housing - even the Pleasure Park will go
    I think most people go for the beach and thats it. It takes me about 90 minutes - 2 hours to get to Barry from Gloucester but too be honest I can only manage around 2 or 3 hours there if that before im really bored and come home, so its not worth the drive or getting the train. I really only go to nose around the old camp and catch up with the place and like you say I probably wont go anywhere near as much once the camp is gone.

    I too see the rest of the camp being turned into housing and probably a bit of parkland too. In 10 years it will be the Barry Island housing estate (that happens to have a beach!).

  4. #34
    tobtella Guest

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    Facinating reading this topic.

    One thing that I always wonder about is how the Butlins did/do for business. This topic goes into length with regard to the various owners/tenants of the Barry site since Butlins departure but what about Butlins departure itself.
    I know they sold off a load of camps at the same time but wasn't Barry Island in a worse state than the others, having been allowed to run down by Butlins?

    The camp was opened in '66 & then sold on (with the other camps) to Rank, who ran the camp longer than Billy.

    The Insurebowls people obviously wanted to develope a long term business & must have projected profits so why did they run (using the legal term) after only 1 year.

    No over business managed to establish the camp as a going concern. Rank had 21 years to try & if they couldn't do it...

    Did this camp ever make money?

  5. #35
    BarryIslandBabe Guest

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    When we visited on Thursday it took us 3 and a half hours (two trains) to get to Barry Island from Crewe. We then had 4 and a half hours to wander about. As it was just me and my sister (she left her kids at home), that was plenty.

    We saw everything we wanted to see, we walked where we wanted to walk, all in that short space of time. Obviously, its really only a day trippers resort now, with the lack of somewhere to stay. That said, there were quite a few families there (it was a sunny day as I mentioned before), despite the fact there isn't a great deal there now (we couldn't even find a newsagents). There were a few shops/outlets that were closed down (when did the outdoor market go??).

    If the buildings do come down I doubt if I would go back, and I am fairly sure I speak for many others. It was the lure of looking up at the Regency and Gaiety that made us want to revisit in the first place.

    It will be a sad day if they are pulled down, but I always say 'you never know'.

    Much luv,

    Julie (Barry Island Babe)

    PS My sister tells me she once saw a TV documentary about Rick Wright, and how he ran off to Spain with one of the Majestic Dancers, and ran a bar out there - anyone else know of this??

  6. #36
    Keith Guest

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    Never realised that the final stages in this camps history was so complicated. Thanks!

    Does anyone know anything th about a 'That's Life' feature on the Barry Island Resort in the early days, that supposedly showed it in a bad light with glass in the pool etc - that was a said to be a stitch-up, as there was a great deal of jealousy by *organisation(s)?* that it was being run successfully?

    Keith

  7. #37
    gaietybarryboy Guest

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    Keith- I've heard of the program, it was produced after the resort featured in a guide book as the worst in Britain.

    Tobtella- Yes, the camp did make money at one time, and the poor state the camp was in when Butlins left wasn't their fault technically. The chalets were built in a new way, with flat roofs and wooden panelling, which in not a good combination right next to the sea. The chalets were destined to rot away, but at the time, it hadn't been tried so nobody could predict what would happen.

    BIR- It's interesting you should say about the pleasure park dissapearing, quite a few people who I tell (bore) about the island say it will go soon. Mabey BI will jut become a yuppy's seaside commuter home into Cardiff/Bristol

  8. #38
    barryislandreunion Guest

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    Tobtella - the camp was highly profitable post Butlins. I believe part of the reason for the sell off by Rank was lack of space to expand, anyone care to comment??

    As for the post-Butlins era, the camp made plenty of money, but apart from the initial make-over, nothing or very little was ever actually re-invested. Insurebowls did a runner for two reasons

    1. After paying hundreds of thousands to put on all the Big Name Cabarets, plus a probable 6-figure sum to franchise the camp from RW, they did not make money in 1996, as I said before - they ran with debts to various suppliers that again ran into six figures, even though each director remained very wealthy.

    2. The council voiced concerns over some of the structural stability, and told Insurebowls that unless improvements were made then they would be reluctant to renew the PEL. Insurebowls believed that Rick Wright should pay as he was effectively the landlord, RW thought the opposite. The cost of repairs was too high for Insurebowls given the profitability of the 96 season, so they 'did one' (to use the technical term) knowing that legally they were not personally liable for the mountain of debt.

    BIB - never heard that one about RW before, I hope someone can elaborate. I do know he spent most of the year in Australia.

    Keith - as GBB, I have heard of this program but not totally aware of the content.

    As for the pleasure park - very little money appears to be spent on this aswell, although without the spend of 3000 holidaymakers every week, s this really a surprise? I do think, sadly, that the land is worth more now to a property developer, once the Waterfront is finished, they will all turn their attention to this site.??

  9. #39
    barryislandfan Guest

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    OK well I hope I can help on the TV programmes thing. The Thats Life report went out in January 1989. The previous summer Thats Life recieved a numbe rof complaints about the camp so they went to investigate. Doc Cox (you know the very talented journalist!) went on to the camp and shock horror - saw some litter and a few black bags, he then said to a camper "Hi-De-Hi" and the camper replied "Ho-De-Bloody-Ho". With all this evidence Thats Life ripped Barry Island to bits, singing a great song about the camp to the tune of "I do Like To Be Beside The Seaside" entitled "It's Barry Awful, Its Barry Hell". Hilarious! At the end of the report Esther said "If your off to BArry Island this summer, send us a postcard".

    Ricke Wright was a clever businessman and had thousands of postage paid postcards printed up and the summer of 89 we all send Esther a postcard saying we were having a great time. In the autumn of 89 the Thats Life team did an on air apology as they had around 40 complaints but around 8000 postcards saying the camp was great. Rick Wright sued and I think got an out of court settlement.

    The programme about Rick Wright was on BBC 2. It did feature him in Spain and he was with a Majestic dancer. It was mostly about Cardiff football club but it did mention his interests in Hyper Value too, it was pretty good but I cant remember it that well now for content etc.

    As for the camp itself Billy Butlin owned it from 1966 - 1972, Rank 1972-1986 and the Rick Wright 1986 - 1996 (with insurebowl involved too). As GBB says the main problem with Barry Island was the modern design of the chalets. Barry Island survived the 1st camp closures in 1982/83 and Rank promised Barry Island would have money invested in it in 1986, however the announced its closure later that year. I think the flat roof design of the chalets was the reason Rank didnt want to invest in the site. I always liked the chalets at Barry but considering the camps position was on an often windy rock flat roof chalets were a mistake. I also think Rank thought the camp was just too small for long term investment and would rather sell it on (they got ?6,000,000 for it I believe) than spend money on it. Had they kept it I believe it would still be open today but would be a Haven by now.

    It wasnt in great shape by the time Majestic re-opened in 1987, the chalets were a bit tatty as were some of the main buildings. Despite some investment in a new pool and re-cladding there was little or no investment where it was needed the most, accomodation! As I said I loved Barry Island but even I was getting annoyed with how the place was being run towards the end. Although the ice cream parlour near the entrance to the Boulevard was always ran very well

  10. #40
    barryislandfan Guest

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    One more thing. Sorry to be morbid but Did Rick Wright die of a heart attack a few years ago? I am sure I read it in The Western Mail. I might be wrong but if anyone knows let me know!

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