The first ever Butlin’s opened at Skegness in Lincolnshire in 1936 and it immediately became a huge success. Even during the first season the capacity had to be increased from 500 to 2,000 people. Eleven years before Billy Butlin had opened a set of fairground stalls at Barry Island in Wales. Indeed he opened the first ever dodgem cars here in 1928 and had an exclusive licence to import them. While in Barry, however, Billy noticed that landladies at seaside resorts would push families out of the lodging house during the day. He started to nurture the idea of a holiday camp similar to the one he used to attend when he lived in Canada as a child.
During World War II, the Skegness Butlins became a Naval training base (known as HMS Royal Arthur) but reverted back to a holiday camp in 1946. It is still open today as one of three remaining Butlins resorts. Over 400,000 visitors now attend every year. One of the original 1936 chalet accommodation units is still present and is now a grade II listed building.