JOHN HINDE POSTCARDS

When I think of Butlin’s, my mind conjures up images of concrete, the taste of chlorine, screaming children and cheap cruise-line style entertainment of the 80s. However, when I look over the postcards by John Hinde Ltd, I see an altogether different Butlin’s to the one I imagine. Hinde’s postcards depict a Butlin’s saturated in all the beautiful colour of the 60s, the company’s golden period; sleek futuristic monorails, families relaxing, some sleeping, others swimming and taking boat rides – a camp paradise for everyone, all under the British skies.

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Having a great time.
Weather not too bad.
Love Billy
(1984)

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Dear Family,
Just seeking shelter in the chalet while writing this. Packed our dinner and set off for a whole day at the beach this morning. Couldn’t stand the heat for more than two hours. The weather is really great. The kids seem to be enjoying themselves. Had a good time in the Bier Keller last night. Love from all.
Would you tell Ray I couldn’t remember his address. Sorry.
(1975)

Of the ten camps that were dotted around the country, the first opening in 1936 in Skegness, a few still remain. However, as far-flung destinations opened up around the world and air travel became more popular and cheaper, the days when the British had their holidays at home diminished and the majority of the camps went into decline and were closed and three now remain open and still operating under the Butlin’s brand-name.

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Dear Mom + Dad,
We are really enjoying ourselves. The camp has everything. Chalet is smashing. Loads to do and there’s tree’s and flowers everywhere. No tomato’s though Dad! The entertainment is very good. Tried to phone twice but no luck. Hope you’re both alright. See you on the weekend. Lots of love.
P.s. Rain! Rain! Rain!
(1977)

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Tuesday.
Dear Robert,
We arrived here Monday morning just in time for lunch. We are so busy having a lovely time. So much to do. Going home Thursday afternoon. Breakfast 9.15am. We don’t have to get up too early. Just having a coffee and watching old time dancing. Hope you settled down.
Love Mom.
(1969)

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Having a nice time.
Weather is good.
I am feeling on top of the world.
Hope everybody alright.
Beattie
(1975)

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Dear All,
Having a good time.
Weather lovely.
Up to now plenty of fun going on.
xxx
(1976)

John Hinde’s postcards, actually photographed by two German photographers, Elmar Ludwig and Edmund Nägele, and one British photographer, David Noble are now widely, and rightly, considered works of art and prints from the original negatives sold by The Photographers’ Gallery in London command a high price.

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Dear All,
Long drive here but seems to be worth it.
Weather looks good.
Plenty to do.
Letter following.
Love Richard
(1978)

The book, Our True Intent Is All For Your Delight: The John Hinde Butlin’s Photographs, edited by Martin Parr is a book I will most likely purchase to accompany the twelve original postcards that I actually own.

The postcards are truly beautiful and you’ll always find some floating around on ebay, so I highly recommend getting yourself some if collecting is your thing.

I love looking through the postcards and imagining a place that once was, and will most likely never be again, and so I’ve decided to get some Kodachrome film (although the shots in the photographs were taken with Ektachrome) and go to one of the remaining Butlins camps next summer to document how the English holiday at home and if the magic of Hinde’s postcards can still be found, and who knows, maybe I’ll make my own.

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Dear All,
Having a good time. Plenty to do, although the weather has not been too good. The food is first class and plenty of it. Each evening we go to see a show. There is a lot of noise at night which makes sleep difficult at first. I find I get very tired during the day and have not as yet tried the night life, which I believe is very good.
Best wishes to you all.
(1975)

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It rained all the way here yesterday
but we enjoyed the journey down.
Nice and sunny today.
Blood pressure still up
but not seem to worry.

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John,
Having a lovely time.
The weather has been fantastic.
Hope to see you soon.
Alison.

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