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Middleton Tower holiday camp, Sun lounge | by trainsandstuff
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Middleton Tower holiday camp, Sun lounge

This 65 acre camp was opened in 1939 by Harry Kamiya, a successful Blackpool businessman who owned a number of amusement concessions around the country. He had grand visions to build a large camp to accommodate 3,000 people to rival Butlins but the war intervened and his full plans were never realized. After being requisitined for wartime use the camp was handed back and in 1949 be built the 'SS Berengaria' a huge 2000-seat theater built in the style of an ocean liner.

 

It was acquired by Pontins in 1964 and all the old wooden chalets (later described by Fred Pontin as being built from old packing cases) were soon tore down and replaced by 900 new units arranged in traditional Pontin two-storey blocks. As it was a full board camp all meals were included and were taken in the huge new 3,000 seat communal dining hall. Chalets were 'hotel style' and lacked any kitchen or lounge facilities. The old outdoor swimming pool was enclosed inside a new building.

 

In 1975 the Berengaria was transformed into a club with tables and chairs replacing the old theatre seating....supposedly as a way to increase alcohol sales. The following year the venue was used to host the annual televised Miss Great Britain finale.

 

The camp closed at the end of 1994 the site was sold the following year to Creston Land & Estates who had plans to refurbish and reopen it again. Unfortunately this came to nothing and shortly afterwards planning permission was granted to turn the site into a Category C medium security prison. Due to strong local opposition this never came to fruition either.

 

In 2001 permission was granted to build the country's largest retirement community on the site with 650 homes, a mixture of houses and apartments. Demolition finally started in 2005 but the project collapsed into receivership after only 55 homes had been built. Currently no further development has taken place.

 

The only remnants still standing are the old 17th Century Grade II listed farmhouse and adjoining barn. The farmhouse was used as a pub during the holiday camp era and the barn saw various uses over the years which included a nightclub, staff bar and storage. Also the distinctive large circular pond which used to stand next to the Berengaria seems to have survived for the time being.

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Taken on April 30, 2016