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.