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Licensed bar 1966 -
Courtesy of Butlins Archive Department
  Three generations Selling Ice Cream
By Jennifer Hodgson

Three generations of Sandra Hall’s family worked at the Butlins Filey Camp. Her Grandmother began the dynasty, living locally in the village of Reighton and selling her home made toffee apples and candy floss from a stand during the summer season. Later, she became the manageress of the Lyon’s Maid franchise and brought in her various family members to lend a hand. Sandra, alongside her mother and cousin worked at the Sundae Bar, serving up Knickerbockerglories, Walnut Sundaes and Coke Floats in tall glasses. They even had a resident pet, an enormous spider living in a box of walnuts imported from India, who was fed daily and given the name, ‘Little George’, by her Grandmother. From the summers she spent working in Filey during the late sixties, she still remembers the exact recipe for that most indulgent of ice creams: the Knickerbockerglory. Three kinds of ice cream, fruit, raspberry sauce and cream were topped with a cherry and a wafer, and all for an extravagant three and sixpence. These ice creams, much loved by holidaymakers, were just one of the indulgences offered on a Butlins holiday during the prudent post war era. As a measure of this, Sandra’s Grandmother would return from work with candyfloss sugar, eaten as sweets by her grandchildren.

As a member of staff, Sandra was granted an entertainment pass, where such opulence continued in the glitzy dresses of ballroom week, when she would collect the sequins from the dance floor after the couples had danced their last waltz of the evening. Such extravagances were less during the last week of the season as Sandra remembers the Christian Crusade week. She recalls when the usual festivities - dances, films, music and bars - were reduced in favour of religious services and Bible reading, with bars and dancehalls converted into churches.

West Riding Week brought holidaymakers from towns such as Huddersfield, Halifax, Dewsbury and the city of Leeds when factories were closed for the week. These visitors were amongst the best tippers; including bonuses, Sandra would earn around ten pounds per week during the summer season, a wage she did not top when, in 1971 she left school and began her first full time job, leaving the ice-cream summer season behind.

Interviewed By Sylvia Wilson



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