Festive gems from the Butlin Beaver Club
Butlin’s, founded by Sir William E. (Billy) Butlin in 1936, have commissioned HAT to manage, catalogue and activate the Butlin’s Heritage Collection which contains a wealth of material relating to over 80 years of providing fun-filled British seaside holidays for families. Bourne Leisure, owners of the Butlin’s company, use their archives to support brand marketing and as inspiration for resort redesign and new product development.
The collection features a charming selection of Beaver Club memorabilia. Billy Butlin created this special club for young holidaymakers under the age of 12 in 1951 and it was widely acknowledged to be a stroke of marketing genius. Members had their own initiation ceremony, badge, membership card, code of conduct and Butlin Beaver song. On each resort there were Beaver Lodges for club meetings and a special programme of entertainment and activities was provided. Some of our own employees were members of the Butlin Beaver Club in their younger days.
During the off season youngsters were reminded of happy holidays via Christmas cards and small gifts and there was an annual reunion at the Royal Albert Hall. The cards in the collection include gems such as ‘Bashful’ the Beaver (1950s) promoting a special Butlin Beaver music programme on Radio Luxembourg, a 1960s sleigh riding Santa beaver and colourful 1970s designs, the latter apparently influenced by the psychedelic imagery of the period.
Examples of Beaver Club Christmas cards from the 1950s-70s:
Butlin’s Beaver Club membership card with rules, 1955
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