Sheffielders on  Holiday — Suzanne Bingham — 20th July 2015.

Suzanne took us on a jour­ney depict­ing the his­tory of leis­ure through­out the ages.

In 1760  there were very few meth­ods of trans­port for the public apart from stage coaches.  The coach from Sheffield to London would take three days ! People worked 6 days a week only having Sunday off which meant church for many, and the only hol­i­days were Christmas Day and Easter Monday.

With the arrival of trains, Thomas Cook intro­duced the first pack­age hol­i­day in 1841. It con­sisted of a trip from Leicester to Loughborough by train, includ­ing food, and ended in a Temperance Rally (what a fun day out !!!)

Bank Holidays were intro­duced in 1871 so Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Easter Monday, Whit Monday and the first Monday in August were all des­ig­nated hol­i­days. New Year’s Day was added in 1974 and May Day in 1978.

Sheffielders, in the middle of the 1800s, had days out at local amen­it­ies such as Birley Spa (built in 1843 by Earl Manvers) which didn’t prove prof­it­able and so was closed in 1895. Sheffield parks provided days out along with a day out at the General Cemetery (dead good place to visit !)

The early 1900s saw the begin­ning  of trips into the coun­tryside first by horse drawn vehicles, and later by chara­bancs. Many work­ing groups organ­ised “Works Outings” with day trips to the sea side etc. My father, as a young man  in the 1920s, drove chara­bancs of folk out on trips. He said it was a night­mare as, apart from stop­ping at pubs en route there and back, he also had to fix the vehicle  if it broke down, and pull a hood over the pas­sen­gers  if it rained ! He often didn’t get home until the early hours of the next morn­ing.

In the 1930s hol­i­days with pay came into force, so people could afford to go away and stay longer. The boom was pro­moted by lots of “Railway “ posters (which are col­lect­ors’  items today).

Bed and Breakfast accom­mod­a­tion was avail­able at all hol­i­day towns, and in 1936 Billy Butlin opened his first Holiday Camp at Skegness, fol­lowed by one at Clacton in 1938.

In 1950 works weeks (Wakes Weeks) came into being whereby the factor­ies of indus­trial towns closed down and all the staff went on hol­i­day .Delight was taken in send­ing home Donald McGill’s saucey post cards! (the poor guy was jailed for selling  sug­gest­ive cards !!)

1960 saw more people becom­ing car owners and motor­ways were built.  This enabled many folk to arrange their own hol­i­days, tour­ing much of Britain and also pro­duced a rise in camp­ing and cara­van hol­i­days.

Sheffield United Tours star­ted trips to the con­tin­ent, stop­ping overnight at Folkstone and then on to Ostend. Not a lot of money could be taken out of the coun­try until the cur­rency restric­tion ban was lifted in 1963.

The 60’s and 70’s saw  the rise of for­eign hol­i­days with cheap  flights by  Freddie Laker, and also wit­nessed the decline in local hol­i­day resorts.

Package tours these days abound with lots of travel com­pan­ies offer­ing pack­age deals world wide (many for spe­cial interest hol­i­days, cul­tural ‚adven­ture and voca­tional along with a host of cruises. The world is now our oyster (if you have the cash!) and many thanks to Suzanne for a lively light hearted present­a­tion.