Newlands Holiday Camp

Taken 1966

Jacksons Photo Service Ltd

Looks like the entrance to the camp looking towards what is now Canvey Heights with Small Gains on the right on the other side of the wall.

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  • This is how I remember it at this date . We moved our van here in 1964? as Jack King was offering the lowest ground rents at the time . In the foreground is the new pumping station to take the flow of grey water from the new chalets being constructed in the field SW of Georges Bingo Hall and Arcade . The 3 toilet blocks serviced the caravans . The central block housed clothes washing facilities later a launderette . We were given plot D2 opposite Georges and the first toilet block . The car I believe was Dennis Kings kit car which he owned just prior to buying the light metallic blue E-type Jaguar. The Estate Manager Mr Collins had a dark red Mercedes Benz 190 which is probably in the drive beside the reception . His family were housed in the building behind the main reception on the left . The boats were also stored there. This is out of season , no boats alongside the jetty . Susan Kings horses were kept on the strip of grass between the lakes opposite their large chalet bungalow which can be seen just to the right of the lampost by the car .Their was a mini supermarket next to that . The horses were moved from their to the far East of the camp which became the ‘ horses field ‘ to build a new road through eventually . This photo may be just before the setting out of the swimming pool next to the club , opposite the King’s family home .I think this is the time when Brian Hills took over from the previous entertainment manager Harry (?) a much older guy . I am not sure whether Brian was initially housed in the large caravan , 5 th on the right as Brian later bought a house nearby . This may have been occupied by his younger brother Les and his young wife as it was later moved next row along to ours in D2 . When they moved into more suitable accommodation we bought it . Joan King ,bless her , had power laid on to our replacement van ,a 4 berth Pemberton Star at roughly the same time , by Trevor the site warden who had one of the new chalets being built . My mum was a talented seamstress and made clothes for Joan and the kids , she copied the latest London fashions . We all got on very well . My mum often worked behind the bar during the holidays .It looks like the swing park and paddling pool had not been built at this stage as it should be visible between the left lamp post and edge of the photo . The green in front of the lakes was used for little competitions and Geoff and I often paired up for egg throwing and other things . We all played football ,so Brian organised team games up next to the horses field , which was full of ruts and dips that filled with water during bad whether. If you can play on this ground you can play on anything . Les assisted .This was the start of Kings Football Team that was eventually entered into the Thames Valley League. Many players were Islanders , but my brother Stuart and I soon became accepted as token Islanders as we spent so much time there . Most weekends , holidays , even Christmas ! Geoff played in goal , I played in defence , others included Tony ( Larry) Leeming , Steven Yeo (Yo-Yo) , Tony Nash , Steven Morris ( Brian’s adopted son ) . Apart from Geoff , I was the youngest but we were big and fit for our age . When the under 13s team was created Geoff played for both and I still played for the under 15s as although eligible , I could only play the fixtures that were set up for the senior team as we traveled together as a family from London. The site expanded rapidly , requiring a large new wood store to be built for constructing Chalet units . It’s not visible and was built on the corner of the road opposite the chalets backing onto the lake and the sea wall . It was taller than the chalets . At this time each of the toilet blocks housed fire fighting equipment in the tank rooms above mainly consisting of ex WD foot pumps and buckets . Trevor also used the Austin Champ as an ersatz fire engine painted red . Apart from the ritual burning of our first old hardboard van around this time , I recall only 1 fire in a caravan on our field with no one injured in all the time we were there , many years ! The club itself was decorated in a fishing theme with nets and lobster pots hanging from the ceiling in the bar area . The dance area was more traditional club style . Jack had built the African Bar with a colour TV to watch the Football , but this was replaced with the kids disco which was originally a make shift area off the main dance area behind folding doors . Really a toddlers play area . As older kids we often helped out there . It was around this time too , that Radio Newlands was created that kept the holiday makers informed of what was going on . Brian ran this too , and was responsible for the many top acts that played there . Troggs , Herman’s Hermits an endless list ! They also had Malcolm Roberts on a Sunday afternoon , no not THE singing star but me ! Geoff and I would learn the latest songs by Beatles , the Stones etc , but he was too shy to get up and sing ,so I did it ! The organist and drummer didn’t know how to play them , so they followed me as best as they could ! It must have sounded terrible ! I did get Geoff up to do a duet with me , that popular waltz piece by Esther and Abbey Offerim- ‘Darling go Home’ , as I sung the main part , I think I may have been wearing one of Geoffs sisters hair pieces ! If I didn’t sing , I would do some crazy dancing on the dance floor if no one was dancing.I get the impression that the holiday makers really enjoyed it as they laughed and cheered after my performances ! After helping clearing up when the club closed , we had to leave through the back door through the crate store . This is where the PA for the camp was and the music requests kept . I could not resist the temptation to drop mine on the top . A favourite was Fire by Arthur Brown . A perfect number for the adults with hangovers first thing in the morning ! A nod to Brian Bibby and Ron Leeming ( Tony’s Dad) who were the doormen at the club , now sadly long gone . I don’t remember any trouble at the club the family atmosphere created made sure everyone had a good time .

    Newlands ( Kings) was like a town within a town during this period and the King’s always did their best to lay on something for the owners , whether it be great free entertainment , Fireworks displays or the free Christmas Parties for the kids . Joan’s early death shocked us all .

    It was a great period for Newlands and for Canvey Island itself as I know the camp was responsible for many Londoners to uproot and move their. A big Hi to Lorraine and Beverley Windsor who relocated there with mum Maureen from Harlesden in London . Good wasn’t it !

    I hope this note a few memories .

    By Malcolm Roberts (07/12/2018)
  • Initially the first team was Newlands Sports run by Brian Hill but eventually an older team was created by Les Hill.Their first season was 1967/68 in the Thames Valley League and was a major success with the team beating Falcon Boys of Southend in the Whymead under 13s Knock Out Trophy.Newlands were 3-0 up into the second half with Kieth Shirley scoring the first 2 goals and Barry Hewitt the 3rd. Falcons pulled back 2 but Newlands finished strong.The trophy was presented by John Baber of Southend United.The team was Ian Draisy in goal.Defence Tony Nash,Peter Wellman.Midfield Steven Morris,David Fox, Kevin Merrick and Colin Gowen.Forwards ,Stuart Roberts,Kieth Shirley,Jeffery Burder and Barry Hewitt. With Geoff King standing in as  substitute.  Tony Leeming who could not make it from his home in Tottenham as he would have most certainly joined the forwards in exchange for a smaller midfield line up. (source and photos from Canvey News, May 10th 1968.On file at the National Newspaper archives.)From there two under 14s teams were formed for the following season.Three strong players in the form of TonyLeeming,Stuart Roberts and Peter Wellman were set up with the addition of newcomer Steve Yeo to spearhead the newly created Kings Sports.After a short season with Billy Ward in goal Davey Dunne joined Kings from Mornington boys as goal.The new team consisted of Davey Dunne,Peter Wellman and Colin Jones in defence.Midfield was Stevy Kew, Steve Yeo, Geoff Dingle. Peter Collins, David Dean.Fowards were Stuart Roberts,Tony Leeming and Steve Fordham.Geoff King , in real terms ,was 4 years  to young for the under 14s but finished off as goaly for Kings when David Dunne left. He was promoted ahead of his years from the under 13s.Malcolm Roberts played in the under 13s but rarely made the journey from his home in Dagenham. On one weekend however he did play for the under 14s team on a Saturday when they were players down with flu and then played again on the Sunday ,scoring a goal against Hullbridge United.Tony Leeming had by then moved to his new home on Canvey Island but Stuart Roberts travelled regularly from his home every weekend to play for Kings and Kindly accommodated by his good friends father, Ron Leeming.Leeming and Roberts would share the the goal scoring and at the end of Kings first season Leeming narrowly pipped Roberts for top scorer at the team awards but Roberts went home with the shield of Team Player.In the following two years Newlands and Kings recombined and went on to win many trophies.One season Roberts banged in 5 in one game. and Leeming follows the following week with 5 of his own.The team had success abroad in International Boys Club tournaments the best of which was an invitation tournament in Majorca in 1971. Les Potten scored the equaliser against Porto Christo in the semi final and Robets headed in the winner. The final ,was against La Salle who were the boys team tho Majorcas top professional team and was played at the In terminational Stadium withe several thousand spectators.Roberts was on the bench first half and we were down 2-0 at half time.Roberts joined in after half time and made both the goals for Captain Alan Aitken which put the game into a penalty shoot out of 4 penalties per team as after extra time the start of the mens match was being delayed. Yeo,Potten and Roberts were selected to take a penalty with Alan Aitkin to take the first. La Salle put theres away and Alan replied.Yeo had an unnerving hack at the grass but fortunately the keeper dived the wrong way and it trickled over the line.Their last penalty was saved brilliantly by the very young Geoff King leaving Roberts the unenviable task of shooting for the winner.It was 2 winners in 2 games for him.The team returned to their Hotel with the cup they keep and which was nearly burnt clean of all its silver plate with all the Bacardi and Coke that was drunk from it. The squad was Geoff King,Ian Draisy,Kevin Merrick,Kenny Divine,Lol Trevyllian,Ray Deakin, Nick Pooley,Les Potten,Steven Morris,Alan Aitken,Stuart Roberts,Tony Leeming and Steve Yeo


    By one of eleven (21/12/2018)
  • Hi Stuart ,
    I wrote the piece as an overview for Newlands at that date , not as an appraisal of your goal scoring ability . You make it sound organised ! It was anyone who turned up on the Horses Field to play the weekend in the potholes and horse muck at first .
    Yes I remember the 1968 season well. We actually lived on Canvey Island in the caravan , you were at Furtherwick Park , I went to William Reid with Geoff before he transferred school to Leigh Beck . The 68 season didn’t get off too well as during August it rained through until September flooding the low lying areas of the Island including pitches . I went back to William Reid in September term in my swimming trunks as we had to wade to get off the camp .
    That was my busiest weekend playing football I believe , according to you . As we played Leigh Rangers at Belfairs I think ( I missed a penalty , sent the keeper the wrong way and rolled it in but the pitch was on the side of a hill and it clipped the wrong side of the post . Still got a slagging off you guys ) . The Hulbridge goal was a blinder , Geoff rolled the ball to me ( traditional right back in those days ) and and I charged down the pitch and scored . I think we beat them 5-1 and you guys scored enough goals already. Played Concorde Rangers at Canveys pitch near the sea front . Some team in Basildon we beat ( Jack actually drove the wrong way up the A127 coming back ! Luckily not too much traffic on a Sunday back then) , some team I can’t remember in Central Park in Dagenham ( which I thought was odd as we lived there ) and we had spectators too ( Fred and Henry ). I’ve no idea how many matches I played and don’t actually care .
    I know all the guys you mention of course ( except Colin Jones) as they were all friends ( until Nicky Pooley ‘ disappeared ‘ ……! ) and remember you getting dropped in favour of Mo , when selection was made on Friday nights in the club on ocassions . Kenny Devine remained a good mate of mine into the 80s and Nashy of course , and I spent a lot of time with Tony Leeming during those early days and his dad would often rustle up a steak and chips for us at their place in Clinton Drive . Its how it was , we all knocked around with each other . There was a weird sideline to this . You or one of the other older local lads would tell me that some local kid had ” offered me out ” for a fight , name the venue , normally the ‘ Seafront ‘ , hoardes of pushbikes would follow me getting a crossy and the opponent wouldn’t be there ! A kid called Kenny Blomm was supposedly one such character ! That was the darker side of being a young well liked teen on Canvey back then .
    Couldn’t name one player in the U13s though except Geoff. Mo ( Steven Morris) was probably the weakest player in the side but Brian’s ward , which is probably why you had to sit out games .
    Geoff asked me to go to Mexico with him in 1970 for the World Cup finals , but I turned the offer down . He never offered anyone else . Graham had asked me to go to Italy to look after Miles and Jackie and nothing to pay for that year . Geoff was over the moon showing off Emlyn Hughes No 10 shirt to me when he got back !
    There wasn’t enough money for both of us to go to Majorca in 1971 as it was a semi sponsored deal and I was already playing football , Rugby and swimming for the school as well as working at the Dagenham WM Club after you left school , so Mum paid for your part . I used to compete in the galas at Newlands new pool and win medals for swimming and diving , but I never got to go to Ostend or Blankenburg or any of the Channel hop football tournaments either., as Mum simply couldn’t afford both of us , so I dropped out . Eventually , I stopped going unless the caravans needed decorating or something sorting out , and I think both the caravans were sold in 1975/6 , but you continued to go to Canvey . I saw Geoff King play rugby for Sir John Cass school at St . Peters in Dagenham when he asked me after a brief visit . I did bump into Pete Wellman and his Dad , Reg , later in the 70s at Dagenham Football Club a few times when Pete was playing for them and saw his Dad in the clubhouse .

    By Malcolm Roberts (21/12/2022)

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