Pontins

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Pontins Holiday Parks
Pontins
Private Limited Company
IndustryHoliday / Leisure
Founded1946; 73 years ago (1946)
FounderFred Pontin
HeadquartersSt Helier, Jersey, CI (registered office)
Ainsdale, Southport, Merseyside (trading office)
Number of locations
6 holiday parks in UK
Key people
Alex Langsam
ProductsFamily holiday parks
Number of employees
1,049
Websitepontins.com

Pontins is a company operating holiday parks in the UK, founded in 1946 by Fred Pontin. It is currently owned by Britannia Hotels.[1]

Pontins specialises in offering half-board and self-catering holidays featuring regular[clarification needed] entertainment at resorts, or "holiday parks", as they have branded them. Accommodation is usually in the form of chalets (which Pontins calls "apartments").

Company history[edit]

Balloon car 707, seen with an all over advert for Pontin's, at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, 5 August 1990

Fred Pontin opened his first holiday camp in 1946 on the site of a former U.S. army base (built during World War II), at Brean Sands near Weston-super-Mare in Somerset at a cost of £23,000. Pontin formed a syndicate, in which he held 50% control, to own the camp.[2] Within a year he had six camps.[3] Over the years he bought more camps and personally ran them for a year, before selling them to the syndicate.[2] He gradually expanded his empire to thirty sites.[4] The camps were smaller and less expensive than Butlin's holiday camps.[3] Pontin's had Bluecoats to entertain their guests, as opposed to Butlins Redcoats. Among the Bluecoats were Shane Richie, Bobby Davro, Bradley Walsh, Lee Mack and Carol Lee Scott (who later played "Grotbags").[3][5]

In 1978, the company was sold to Coral for £56 million. In 1980, Coral (including Pontins) was taken over by Bass Brewing, who sold Pontins in 1987 to a management buyout team led by Trevor Hemmings.[6] It was sold again in 1989, to Scottish & Newcastle.

Over the next ten years the company closed or sold off a number of sites. In a three-year programme in the mid-1990s, the remaining camps were modernised. By 2000, the company was operating only eight camps, and was sold back to Hemmings. In 2008, the company was sold to Ocean Parcs for £46 million.[7] Wall Park holiday centre was not included in the sale. In January 2009, Pontins announced the closure of its Hemsby holiday centre.[8] Pontins Blackpool in Squires Gate closed in October 2009 and was subsequently demolished after being acquired by property developer Persimmon.[9] Leaving only five parks still operating under the Pontins brand.

Pontins headquarters were relocated to the Southport Holiday Park, at Ainsdale-on-Sea, close to the village of Ainsdale. From the original Hemmings buy-out until then, the headquarters were at Sagar House in the village of Eccleston, Lancashire.

In September 2009, Pontins announced a five-year multi-million investment plan for the remaining five parks. Refurbishment work completed in 2010 included a new half-board restaurant and ice skating rink at the Prestatyn Sands Holiday Park, and a new roller skating rink at the Brean Sands Holiday Park. Including proposals of re-building the Camber Sands and Southport Holiday Parks and doubling the capacity of the Pakefield Holiday Park.

In November 2010, Pontins went into administrative receivership[3] and in January 2011, the company was bought out of receivership by Britannia Hotels.[1] In 2014, the former Pontins resort at Sand Bay was purchased by the group and it became the sixth resort to be operated under the new Pontins brand.

Current resorts[edit]

Location of current Pontins holiday camps

Former and closed resorts[edit]

This is a list of some former Pontins resorts in both Ireland and the United Kingdom that have either closed or been sold off:

In popular culture[edit]

  • The 1973 British film Holiday on the Buses was filmed at and set in the Prestatyn resort. A plaque was erected in 2004 at the main entrance gates (unchanged since the film) to note this event.[12] The same venue hosts professional snooker each year. Prestatyn Sands also hosts the finals for the annual Brass Band Festival[13] historically, the qualifying rounds were held in other Pontins centres.
  • The previous On The Buses film, Mutiny on the Buses (1972), depicted buses carrying adverts with the slogan "Go Pontinental", a chain of holiday villages set up in Continental Europe,[2] implying that Hammer Film Productions had already established a working relationship with Pontins with a view to shooting a future film at one of their resorts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Pontin's holiday firm bought by Britannia Hotel group". BBC News. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Barker, Dennis (4 October 2000). "Obituary: Sir Fred Pontin". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Julia Finch and Jill Treanor (13 November 2010). "Pontin's falls into administration as fond memories fail to save firm". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Pontins to get 'Disney' makeover". BBC News. BBC. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Grotbags actress Carol Lee Scott dies aged 74". BBC News. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  6. ^ Note: Hemmings construction firm had originally built the holiday centre at Southport.
  7. ^ Pontin's bought by former boss; "The Guardian"; 27 March 2008; retrieved 27 March 2008.
  8. ^ Pontin's to close holiday centre; BBC News; 5 January 2009; retrieved 10 February 2009.
  9. ^ "Blackpool holiday camp to close". blackpoolgazette.co.uk.
  10. ^ Property Archived 17 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine; Commercial Search UK.
  11. ^ "Middleton Village officially opened". The Visitor, Morecambe.
  12. ^ "HOLIDAY ON THE BUSES EVENT 2013".
  13. ^ Restaurants Archived 11 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine;

External links[edit]