secondary research

This was the Exhibition I went to last year while in blackpool

Mass Photography: Blackpool Through the Camera – review

Maciej Dakowicz

A Saturday Night Out in Blackpool, 2010: ‘like a slap in the face from the present’. Photograph: Maciej Dakowicz

Humphrey Spender and Julian Trevelyan were among the millions of visitors to Blackpool in the summer of 1937. They were not there, though, to partake of the myriad diversions on offer along Blackpool’s fabled Golden Mile, but to observe ordinary Britons at play. Spender, a documentary film-maker, and Trevelyan, a collagist, were part of a team dispatched to Blackpool by the Mass Observation project, a social research organisation set up that year by three young men, which hoped, through its many volunteers, to create, in words, photography and film, “an anthropology of ourselves”.

The Mass Observation team were drawn to Blackpool because it represented an ideal of the English working class at play. As early as 1920, Blackpool was by far the most popular British seaside resort, drawing eight million people annually in the summer months. It had a famous tower, three piers, an extra-long promenade, spectacular illuminations, all manner of amusements – from fortune-tellers to fairground attractions to tattooists – as well as the country’s first Pleasure Beach. It also, crucially, had the railway, which brought the holidaying hordes from the prosperous industrial towns of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

By the late 1950s, Blackpool was attracting an estimated 17 million visitors a year, but, as the Beatles signalled the birth of the modern pop era and swept away the last vestiges of Victorian Britain, Blackpool began its long fall from grace. The decline of traditional industries and the birth of the package tour put paid to Blackpool’s long pre-eminence as Britain’s most popular holiday destination.

This week, the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool is hosting a group photography show entitled Mass Photography: Blackpool Through the Camera. The exhibition’s title, and much of its observational reportage, nods towards Spender and Trevelyan and their fly-on-the wall approach, but it adds up to nothing less than a potted social history of Blackpool though the lens of some of Britain’s greatest documentary photographers, including Bert Hardy, Tony Ray-Jones, Homer Sykes, Chris Steele-Perkins and Martin Parr.

The curator of the exhibition is a German video artist, Nina Könnemann, who previously edited a catalogue about Mass Observation and became intrigued by Spender and Trevelyan’s Blackpool photographs. “What they actually did was walk around a bit like a tourist and photograph and observe what they saw, rather than, say, delving behind the scenes or going a bit deeper,” she says. “Their photographs are literally observational and it made me start looking at similar approaches.” This, then, is Blackpool as an idea and then a brand, a place that changes but somehow stays the same, that grapples with the weight of its own – and England’s – former glory.

Though the show includes some Victorian photographs, its thrust is 20th-century Blackpool. Perhaps the most absorbing set of photographs come from the collection of ephemera amassed by the late Cyril Critchlow, a magician and founder of the “Witches Kitchen”, a museum-cum-theatre where he performed in the years leading up to his death, at the age of 85, in 2008. (He was celebrated in the Blackpool Gazette as “the world’s oldest magician”.) The photographs he collected, or possibly even took, of Blackpool in the 1970s, are extraordinary for their faded colours and sense of the town’s hustle and bustle. “They were a real find,” says Könnemann. “Some are almost like William Eggleston‘s work in their composition.”

I was taken too by local photographer Geoff Buono’s series about the box office on Blackpool’s south pier, all of which were taken from over the shoulder of the ticket seller inside the booth who, one suspects, is a man of infinite patience. Elsewhere, the gaze is more contemplative: the greatly underrated Homer Sykes, who is best known for his often witty images of Britain’s more esoteric folk traditions, catches a glum girl eating ketchup-drenched chips outside a burger stall. She is wearing a hat that says “Sex Appeal” but she exudes that almost tangible sense of stoicism that a British seaside resort on a grey day instils in even the most optimistic souls.

What emerges from most of these images, which Könnemann has chosen not to display chronologically or even thematically, is the sense that Blackpool is a place forever in thrall to its own semi-mythical past. Here, the nostalgic and the brashly new constantly collide, yet there will always be plastic bowler hats and candyfloss on sale as well as somewhere to have your fortune told.

Könnemann’s own video installation, which forms a kind of contemporary coda to the exhibition, plays with Blackpool’s ongoing identity crisis in the form of a film comprising edited footage culled from VHS tapes of the annual illuminations event.

“Every year the local shops sell VHS cassettes and, more recently, DVDs, of the same footage with extra material.” She elaborates: “In my installation, there is a sense of this continuous, cyclical loop that suggests this strange thing that is Blackpool time. It really is a place that relies on the past so much even as it tries to reinvent and remarket itself. You sense that same feeling in the photographs, too.”

The most dramatic picture of Blackpool life on display is also the most contemporary, the least nostalgic. Maciej Dakowicz is a Polish photographer best known for his garish, colour photographs of Cardiff at closing time, wherein all human life in extremis is on display. Here, he turns his outsider’s eye on contemporary Blackpool in a single startling image entitled simply A Saturday Night Out in Blackpool, 2010. Freeze-framed in the pink and orange hues of the city’s streetlights, four lads seem lost in some grotesque, alcohol-fuelled mime show that is both disturbing and hilarious. Here, for perhaps the only time in this illuminating show, Blackpool could be any town in Britain today. It is like a slap in the face from the present – Mass Observation with attitude.

Am constantly amazed by the new and innovative ways people find to create art, this is no exception. Bubble gum art wow!


Bubblegum Art – Funny But Amazing Creativity…

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Bubblegum Sculptures:

Chewed bubble gum art by Jason Kronenwald:

Wall Bubble Art

Copyright 2009. Photo Collection . Blogger Template created by Deluxe Templates. WordPress by WebRevolutionary / Dante AraujoVandalism in response to violation of Authenticity of Site?

Postby isabelle brajer on Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:39 pm

In connection with the international climate meeting in Copenhagen, December 7-18, 2009, the Danish artist Jens Galschiot (AIDOH – Art In Defence Of Humanism received permission to temporarily install a sculpture in the water about 5 m from the famous Little Mermaid. It is roughly the same size and is also cast in bronze. It depicts a very fat white woman sitting on the shoulders of a very thin African man, and obviously refers to the rich countries of the world “feeding” off the poor countries. The title of the piece is The Survival of the Fattest .ImageImage


The first time I saw it about two weeks ago, I was a bit upset that someone had violated the “sacred” space of the primary tourist attraction in Denmark, an object that heavily contributes to the Danes’ national and cultural identity. How dare someone infringe on the authenticity of this site! The Little Mermaid is a slightly smaller than life-size statue depicting a character from a story by Hans Christian Anderson, a young mermaid who fell in love with a prince and often came to the edge of the water in hope of seeing her love. Paid for by Carl Jacobsen (Carlsberg Brewery) and created by Edvard Erichsen, the delicate figure has been sitting on a mound of boulders at the waterfront in Copenhagen since 1913. 75% of the visitors to Copenhagen see this statue.

But then I read the information sign, I could see the point of exhibiting these two statues together and I thought it was an effective way to make a statement. It might even catch the eye of some of the visiting officials – if they have time to visit anything in Copenhagen, it will surely be the Little Mermaid. The juxtaposition of the two statues is very provocative.


Three days ago I had a visitor from Poland, whom I dragged down to the waterfront in stormy weather to see the double attraction. The Survival of the Fattest was gone! How could someone have stolen it – it must have weight a half a ton? Well, it was not gone. Someone had toppled it over so that it was no longer visible above the water. This was technically feasible if they had been in a boat and lassoed the statue. Apparently, someone was so upset by this work of art that they resorted to vandalism. One can speculate about the reasons for this action, but I do not think it far-fetched to think that someone responded in a way similar to my own initial reaction.


By chance I happened to walk past this spot this morning, and I saw a crowd of people and a big crane. The artist and his longtime assistant and welder, Kurt Lilliendal Hansen had come to rescue the statue. I watched as Lilliendal Hansen waded into the water (air temp 6 C, cold northwesterly wind) and attached some chains to the base. The crane pulled the sculpture out of the water, and placed it on some foam. It was then lifted up into an upright position, some stabilizing beams were fixed to the base, making it more difficult to topple, and then the statue was deposited back in or close to its original position in the water. The rescue operation (see documentation below), took about 1 hour and was carried out at the artist’s expense. He was constantly interupted during the process by telephone calls – friends, acquaintances, journalists wanted to know what was going on. I couldn’t help overhearing the excitement with which he related the events. I guess he reacted to the vandalism as a provocative rebutal to his own provocation.

Isabelle Brajer

















isabelle brajer
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:40 pm

inspirations, other artists and ideas from where ever I find them.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Banksy on the beach

 Anyone living on the south coast cannot have failed to notice the appearance of a Banksy on St Leonards seafront.
The mural depicts a little girl building sandcastles emblazoned with the word Tesco and was first spotted at the beginning of the week.
The image went viral and Banksy fans started debating its authenticity before Banksy himself apparently confirmed it was an original. Quite how, when he is meant to be anonymous is anyone’s guess. For all we know it could have been a random bloke pretending to be him.
Luckily, the local paper spoke to Banksy experts Art Republic, who said ‘Yes’ they thought it was a real one.
In my day job (at aforementioned local paper) I was lucky enough to have a chat with Ben Eine – he of Eine’s Signs and canvasses hanging in the White House.
Busy painting a giant homage to Prince Charles just a stone’s throw away from the Banksy, Eine reacted excitedly to the news.
However, he also put pay to one rumour doing the rounds – that Banksy was in town to celebrate Eine’s 40th birthday.
“I have not seen him for weeks,” he told me. “I thought he was in New York.
“This is great for the town as people will come here to see it. A lot of his street art has been painted or sprayed over or stolen, so there are not loads and loads of examples around.”
 It now seems highly likely that Banksy – far from slipping away from Eine’s birthday bash, actually snuck down to leave the mural as a hidden present to his spray can wielding mate.
The fact Eine is working on his own piece so near to where the Banksy sits surely cannot be a coincidence.
“It could be a case of ‘Happy birthday Ben, have a Banksy’.”
Of course, he could have been fibbing to keep up the mystique, but whatever the reason, the mural has caused quite a stir, and with Hastings set to start its annual Coastal Currents Arts Festival this weekend, the timing could not have been better.
The council has agreed to leave it alone for the time being – but anyone wanting to see it should head down sooner rather than later as St Leonards boasts more than a few spray happy young’uns.
Head to Marine Court (the big building which looks like a ship) and face the sea. Walk down the beach to the right and when you get to a big church, cross over and the Banksy is at the bottom of the steps. No doubt near a gawping crowd.
Eine’s work is a five minute walk away in Norman Road. Walk back up the seafront towards the pier and turn left up London Road.

Diane Arbus’s photography

She snapped it like she saw it

Feb 23rd 2012, 16:36 by V.B. | TORONTO

‘‘DIANE ARBUS: A Printed Retrospective,’’ brings together 75 of Arbus’s photographs for newspapers and magazines, presented in their original layouts. In these yellowing photo-spreads we can see the evolution of her aesthetic. Displayed alongside them are portraits that editors vetoed for being “so condemning,” in the words of Harold Hayes, editor of Esquire from 1963 to 1973. This exhibition makes the case that there was hardly a distinction between Arbus’s commissioned work and her independent artistic projects.

Several of Arbus’s best-known images can be seen among these articles, such as ‘‘Young Brooklyn Family Going for a Sunday Outing, N.Y.C, 1966’’, which originally appeared in a feature for the Sunday Times. The shot is typical Arbus: taken just as the poses of the subjects are starting to sag, their expressions growing strained. With jet-black hair and eyebrows dyed to match, the woman grips her baby and looks impassively to a space beyond the camera. The man stands stiffly and appears lost as he grips his son’s hand. The same article features a contrasting shot on the opposite page of an affluent family sunbathing at their home in Westchester. While less openly unsettling than Arbus’s portraits of circus performers or the disabled, the photograph still has an air of the uncanny. Masquerading as a glossy magazine shot, the picture features fatigue in the husband’s pose and heavy make-up on the wife, captured glancing surreptitiously at the camera. Arbus clearly had little intention of altering her style for journalism.

Arbus’s fascination with the gulf between self-deception and reality is evident in many of the lay-outs. She enjoyed subjects who were painstakingly groomed (old biddies, aspiring socialites, transsexuals), capturing the way they caricatured ideals of feminine beauty at the time. Nowhere is this more glaring than in a 1969 feature for Nova Magazine called “People Who Think They Look Like Other People”: the article photographs ordinary London women who believe they look like Hollywood icons, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Arbus came up with the concept for the feature, and placed ads for the lookalikes in the Times and the Evening Standard. It is easy to see why the idea would appeal to her. Many of the women do bear at least a passing resemblance to these starlets, set within the seedy self-made glamour of their suburban homes.

‘‘I’m very little drawn to photographing people who are known or subjects that are known,” Arbus explained in the introduction to her book ‘‘An Aperture Monograph’’. “The minute they get public I become terribly blank about them.’’ When Arbus did take on a “known” subject, there had to be some twist to suit her style. She photographed Mae West, but only when the actress was 71, living in a fenced-off mansion in Santa Monica with pet monkeys and a butler, dolled-up in the image of her younger, pin-up self. She shot a portrait of Brenda Frazier, ‘‘The Girl of the Year 1938’’, but only when the former debutante was 44, with a failed marriage and several psychiatric hospitalisations behind her.

Critics have accused Arbus of creating work that is pessimistic and ghoulish, cold and voyeuristic. In her 1973 essay ‘‘Freak Show’’, Susan Sontag condemned Arbus’s preoccupation with ‘victims, the unfortunate, the dispossessed—but without the compassionate purpose that such a project is expected to serve.” Though Arbus’s defenders say she took time to earn the trust and care for her subjects, I did perceive an element of exploitation in the photographs Arbus took in the year before her suicide in 1971—many of which were shot in mental institutions. Still, it is wrong to claim that her work was fixated solely on “the unfortunate”. One of the most memorable images of this exhibition is an obscure photograph of Miss Storme de Laverie, a dashing drag king, which had been rejected by Harper’s Bazaar in 1961. The portrait is dignified and the subject is unselfconscious, handsome, exuding a defiant confidence as she looks frankly into the camera in her tailored suit. Sometimes Arbus’s work allowed the “freaks” a place for expressing themselves, one they couldn’t find elsewhere. This is what ‘‘A Printed Retrospective’’ celebrates.  

‘‘Pierre Leguillon features Diane Arbus: A Printed Retrospective, 1960-1971’’ is showing at the Mercer Union Gallery in Toronto until March 10th

Read more: “The torment behind the camera” (Sep 2011)

greatly influenced by her powerful, personal vision. It was great to chat with another student of Lisette Model, Larry Fink, at graduate school in New Haven years ago.


I love this caption below, it say’s it all . Rather like those moment when you wander into a gallery and look at the art and think w.t.f.? I don’t believe there is a person on the planet that has not thought this at some point in their lives.Sometimes it is what it is just because. Click on the picture for link.

CI couldn't stop laughing!

Yes Humor does belong in art, how would we survive a degree course without it?

My district!

american social commentary art money war dollar bill surrealist painting

shawn barber tattoo painting body art portrait

By Regine
on September 20, 2009 5:58 AM
Somehow related:
Recent articles:

Bring me home, please

The Jeu de Paume in Paris is hosting an exhilarating show featuring the personal collection of Martin Parr along with some of his own series of photographs.Parrworld. The Collection of Martin Parr mixes the everyday absurdities the photographer sees in every aspect of our society with a wonderful taste for contemporary photography and an unusual empathy for the scenes and people he portrayed in “The Guardian Cities Project.”

Martin Parr, image from a project documenting the beach culture of South America

Parr is admired all over the world for his ‘subjective documentary approach’ but thatdoesn’t mean that everyone is ready to swoon for his satire. However, the Parrworldexhibition shows a side of the photographer that might win over some of the detractors who accuse him of being heartless, superficial and cynical. For once in an exhibition dedicated to the photographer, the ludicrous side of consumer culture, mass tourism, family and British way of living that his work illustrates is taking second stage. There’s a lot of farce in the knickknack he’s been amassing for decades but there’s also a real respect for the subjects he snaps in The Gardian’s series and his collection of prints from British and international photographers can hardly be regarded as casual and inconsequential. I’ll actually dedicate another post to those. But let’s start with the objects, books and postcards Parr collects.

Parr started to compile postcards thirty years ago. His collection includes studio portraits, tasteless vacation postcards and curiosities, such as ‘boring postcards’ depicting motorways, prefabricated buildings and interiors of airplanes. He is particularly keen on collecting the garish postcards made between the 1950s and 1970s by John Hinde studio.

Limbo! Limbo! Postcard. Collection Martin Parr. © John Hinde Ltd

Collection Martin Parr

The amazing heap of objects the curators and Parr arranged thematically in the exhibition space includes souvenirs from the Soviet ‘Sputnik era’, original posters and leaflets from the 1984 UK miners strike, commemorative china from Maggie Thatcher’s reign, Spice Girls’ biscuits and chocolates, a prayer mat featuring the Twin Towers, Saddam Hussein’s clocks and watches and some new Barack Obama ephemera. They might be as weird as you get but the objects selected in this wunderkammer represent events that have shaped our collective memory because of their presence in the media.

PARRWORLD OBJECTS. 2008. Tray with photo print. Martin Parr Collection.

Saddam Hussein Wrist watch. Martin Parr Collection.

This collection of quirky, tacky and curious objects intimately ties Parr up with those sublimely ridiculous people he portrays in his photo series. Parr was already a world-famous artist. Now he is also an eccentric Englishman who collects the kitschiest objects he can get his hands on.

Image via BALTIC where Parrworld opens in October

Parr’s unique collection of national and international books on photography covers the history of photography books, from icons in book art to publications by obscure publishing houses. Featured in Parr and Garry Badger’s publication of their two volumes of ‘The Photobook – A History’, these books have become collector’s items.

But Parrworld is also showcasing some of Parr’s own work. Several rooms are filled with prints from ‘Luxury’. This brand new series depicts wealth in the western world, or rather the way the affluent proudly show off their new-found fortune. The photographer has selected locations where the international jet-set is comfortable splashing out its wealth: the Millionaires’ Fair in Moscow, the Basel Art Fair in Miami, the Dubai Art Fair, Munich’s Oktoberfest, the Chantilly racetracks and the Motor Show in Beijing.

This focus on the international upper class completes Parr’s earlier projects on the working and middle classes. The photographer wrote: Traditionally the portrayal of poverty has been the domain of the “concerned photographer”, but I photograph wealth in the same spirit. When the new emerging middle classes demand and receive the luxury goods that so many of us take for granted, it will put considerable pressure on the world’s resources. We are seeing the first manifestations of this: soaring oil prices brought on in part by exceptional demand from China and India; food prices escalating as crops are diverted into biofuels.

Martin Parr, USA. Hollywood. Attendees at a charity function, 2000. From the series “Luxury”. © Martin Parr, Magnum Photos / Kamel Mennour

Martin Parr, Ascot. 2003. © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

My favourite part of the show was Parr’s photographs of 10 UK cities, commissioned by the newspaper for The Guardian Cities Project. The photographs, published in special pull-out sections of the newspaper, reveal a real tenderness and an empathy with their subjects which one isn’t used to witness in Parr’s other projects.

Martin Parr, Brighton: David Sawyers, member of the Brighton sea swimming club, some of whose members swim in the sea all year round. David is disabled and loves his swimming, where he can experience total freedom both physically and mentally

Martin Parr, Cambridge. H Gee Electrical Shop, Mill Road. This wonderful shop is run by Priscilla oldstein and her son Philip. As well as all the electrical components you could possibly want, you also have BBC Radio 4 on full volume, and of course, a leisurely chat with the proprietors

Martin Parr, Edinburgh: Scotmid supermarket, Leith. This independent Scottish co-operative has 130 food stores and is one of the country’s biggest employers

Parrworld – the Collection of Martin Parr runs until 27 September 2009 at the Jeu de Paume in Paris.

Previously: Martin Parr retrospective: from fish & chips to mass tourismParty of the day and All-Inclusive. A Tourist World.

Today I have been looking at ideas with which to incorporate written word into my work. I have been looking at David Shrigley and his stories, they are highly amusing. I need to be able to use this sort of idea to convey my caustic opinion on matters of the seaside.Namely how it has become ruined ( my opinion ) and how, value is applied to such things as property and postcode.As well as digging around for a hook with which to reel in my curious viewer,I am looking at dynamic understated images. By this I mean, something that is recognized quickly , something that connects the Beach Hut to the message. My thoughts are,” by using graffiti I may be able to fuse the iconic with the ironic”.

When I think about it, the seaside through its natural appeal has been the hapless victim of its own demise.Like many things on this earth, popularity becomes counterproductive, not from a consumerist point of view perhaps, but definitely as far as the product is concerned. In this case the seaside space. Unspoiled landscapes becoming tat central, I always have the image of Blackpool in mind when I think of this. I do apologize to any one that holidays there or that has a fondness for the place. For me it is the finest example,of all that is wrong with today’s resorts.

I am looking at an Artist called Boo Ritson, this work is so compelling. When first you see these models, you can expect to believe that they are very well made, if a little vibrantly painted, mannequin’s . this is not the case. They are in fact painted people! The strange way that visual language is used here, is of interest to me, the fact that the people look rather like plastic toys. It is quite hard for me to explain what they make me feel. It may be the cut off point where the real becomes paint?Two different concepts married together.Ritson has twenty minutes in which to paint her subjects and photograph them before the paint is washed off. She works quickly, creating her models of the American dream to exist for moments only. Ritson uses the subject for the canvas,she say “It has been my practice to define a story that would hold a series of characters,” The people she uses as subjects become the canvas themselves, “the costumes and people then become the canvas have colours, poses and situations that reflect their roles and create a framework for me to explore the process of painting in a manageable way. The more decisions I can make before I get to the very fast and chaotic part when I paint and document it before it dries, the better.” Ritson chooses her sitters to fit a criteria based on height bone structure and many other factors that will allow her to mold them through paint, to transform them into the title that she has chosen. Painting on the bodies and clothing, the sitter becomes a sculpture, not one of marble or stone but almost iced like a fondant cake, thick vibrant of dripping paint. i believe they look almost edible, like iced pastries.

I am painting as well as building in clay, I do not like to limit myself to one material. There seems to be so many thing’s that can be utilized and I never know when I will respond to some such item, found material or other. Keeping my creative options open.Other artists that I have looked at are  Escabar Marisol,Ged Quinand Nancy and Ed Kleinhotlz .All of whom add an injection of wry humour and irony to their work. ,

Marisol ( once described as one of the beautiful people during the 1960’s ) uses many mediums with which to work, sculpting in wood, or assembling from found items to painting on well know painting,s , and therefore changing the interpretation, with dry humour. His work as been echoed by the Well known graffiti artist Banksy with is iconoclastic transformations of paintings such as Claude Monet’s Water lilies, Here discarded supermarket trolleys are seen in the water, like a scene from a Manchester canal.Yes it is humorous, and yes it has a more serious undertone, He entitles this show me the Monet.

I have enjoyed looking through the memories pages, of web site such as this Butlin’s one below.It is a place rich with nostalgic and happy conversation. I did visit this one at Barry island in S. Wales but I was very Young and only just remember it. I have bought a book however which features page after page of wonderful photographs. Each depicting different views from the many resorts that Butlin’s had during the 1960’s.

Butlins Memories |Home |Forum |World View Ayr |Barry Island |Bognor Regis |Clacton |Filey |Minehead |Mosney |Pwllheli |Skegness

Barry Island

Barry Sections Barry – Your Memories |Barry Postcards |Barry Photos |Barry Maps |Barry Entertainment Guides |Multimap Aerial View

This was the last of the Butlin’s camp to be built and was also the smallest, occupying some 45 acres of hilly land on what was known as Nell’s Point, a local landmark in the South Wales town of Barry Island. Plans were submitted and building took place during the winter months of 1965 ready for the camp to open the following year. The construction prompted a wave of local anger, Nell’s Point was a popular recreation area and a number of footpaths and roads would be lost if the scheme went ahead. The council, realising the benefits of attracting the camp, went ahead and granted a 90 year lease on the land.

The camp settled down to a popular existence and boasted all the usual Butlin’s entertainment. Over 800 chalets were built and the camp could accommodate close to 5000 people. A chairlift opened in 1967 and provided a useful transport link up the hill. The site also boasted “the biggest bar in Europe”, the Beachcomber Bar – unfortunately destroyed by fire only a couple of years after opening.

The camp managed to avoid the first batch of closures and in July 1986 Butlin’s announced that the camp would be retained and upgraded. They were quoted as saying “All the centres will eventually be upgraded. We have no idea how much will be spent at Barry but there are plans to go ahead there next year, ready for the 1988/89 season”. It therefore came as a major shock when, only three months later, Butlin’s announced that the camp was no longer included in their plans and was to close.

A buyer was found in the form of Majestic Holidays who announced plans for a new £15 million holiday complex. Although the project never came to fruition, the site did reopen and life continued pretty much the same. Investment was kept to a minimum and many of the shops and retail outlets were franchised out to local business people. Complaints about the accommodation led to a clause being inserted in the booking contract which said that visitors could only sue for 20% of the cost of their holiday! A major overhaul of the indoor and outdoor pools took place during the early 90s and the buildings were reclad to give them a new fresh look.

The last season for Barry was 1996. Problems with renewing the entertainment licence, along with low bookings and storm damage inflicted during October of that year, finally closed the site for good. The camp lay empty and vandalised. Various ideas and schemes were thrown around, there was even a proposal to turn it into a prison! The council, already being the landowners, eventually purchased the camp for £2.25 million and proposed redevelopment as “a recreational facility, open space and an area of varied housing development”. Many of the old structures and chalets were torn down although some buildings, including the Regency and the Gaiety, were retained. The outdoor pool even opened up again for a brief spell before closing down. The remaining buildings and swimming pools were left disused and falling into disrepair. A new housing development resulted in over 250 homes being built on the rest of the site (again after much local opposition) and the remainder was landscaped and left for recreational purposes. More recently, in 2005, the remaining buildings were demolished and the site was finally cleared.

Additional information can be found in our section ‘Barry – A personal account’

If you have any further information or images of the Barry Island camp then please e-mail

No beach day out is complete without the customary sand castle. Click this link to see some of the worlds most fantastic examples of sand sculpture.


Site logo Today I  revisited the museum page of Donald Mc. Gill and looked at a selection of his famous or even infamous bawdy post cards. They are now what I would describe as quintessentially British. Here MC.Gill has depicted characters such as the bed and breakfast land lady as a tarter, where would he have gleamed this information? I believe he was as interested in people and their behavior whilst on holiday as me.

The beautiful thing about the Double Entendre is that it is designed to pass over the head of those who cannot see the alternative meaning, consequently Donald’s cards appear to depict perfectly innocent situations, and also the text that accompanies them is equally innocent and often is a known phrase, however there are hidden meanings to be found if you already know to what is being alluded.

Consequently, we believe children will find nothing offensive in this museum. There are interactive displays will amuse them and they can clamber into the 1954 Constance delivery van or spot the 3 dimensional items amongst the postcards on the ceiling.

Also if they are shorter than the entrance turn-styles we will only ask a penny for the entrance admission.

This museum pays homage to Donald McGill, who spent his life creating original artworks for the then thriving postcard industry.
Donald created over 12,000 postcards from 1904 till his death in 1962.You will find that Donald’s Cards will depict anything and everyone, his watchful eye never missed a humorous situation as he witnessed the years as they rolled through the 20th century. His artwork covers: Two World Wars; Suffragettes; Lovers; Matrimony; Motoring; Evolution etc. etc.

The ceiling has adhered to it over 2,500 of Donald’s designs in chronological order, and amongst this mass of two dimensional items, you will find several cards which we have made three dimensional.

Detail of the ceiling showing two cards that we have made into three dimensional objects.

The museum will also focus on the trials and tribulations that Donald experienced in the 1950’s, as he was prosecuted under the 1857 Obscenity Act for producing some cards deemed unsuitable for the public to see.

Donald’s delightful IT Girl, who surprisingly was happily seen on British streets in the 1930’s and 1940’s but fell foul of the law in the 1950’s.

It was Donald’s use of the Double Entendre or Double Meaning that the courts disapproved of, despite being a tradition of the music halls and comics of the day. It is also interesting to note that a lot of the disapproved cards Donald had made, he had made earlier versions of in the 1920’s and 1930’s without any complaint.

The museum has 1000’s of cards on display and also interactive displays are in evidence. A large collection of original artwork will also be on display including very early work from 1907-1914.

One thought on “secondary research

  1. My Auntie jennifer used to take us to the outdoor swimming pool at Barry island, I am not sure if it was the one in Butlins. She used to really embarrass us by shading her face with a pair of knickers while she sunbathed!

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