During 1957 the Totland Parish Council, Isle of Wight, minutes record,"Peacetime saw the selling off of Fort Warden for either a holiday camp or light industrial use."   The site was sold in 1957 for the establishment of a holiday camp.  This led to the demolition and alteration to the fabric of the Battery.  All the concrete and brick buildings, along the internal face of the loophole wall, were demolished as was the old engine room by the main gate. The dry ditch around the exterior was in-filled, except to the north of the site. The southern side of the perimeter wall was demolished, including the southern caponier and many of the loopholes were closed with brickwork. 

  The magazines below the 6" gun emplacements were stripped of their fittings, whilst the barbettes themselves were buried beneath made-up ground to create a level platform with landscaped terraces for the construction of the holiday camp chalets.  The northern magazines below the 9.2" gun emplacements were untouched but the southern one was decorated and a subterranean  bowling ally,  and communal showers installed. The barbettes above were roofed over and partially buried below made-up ground the spaces were used for storage, a discotheque and cinema. The searchlight command post was reduced to a single story building and used for storage whilst the new engine room to the north was replaced by a swimming pool.

 Below is an entry taken from the Isle of Wight County Press (19th April 58)


Below is an entry taken from the Isle of Wight County Press (15th Aug 59)




   Above is a photograph of Angela Lilley (circa 1980) at the base of the campsite's flagpole. There are many stories from former campers and staff members regarding the various items of clothing that were hoisted, after hours, and displayed for all to see the following day.


  The site plans below shows the layout of the Fort Warden Holiday Camp and the positioning of the  chalet blocks.  There was approximately 150  units made up of  2, 4 and 6 bedroom self-catering chalets. The total number of chalets means that, at peak holiday periods, there could have been in excess of 450 holiday makers staying at the camp. The chalets at the western end of the camp site followed the boundary with   'One Horse Field'   and were sited in front of what is now Battery Court. apartment block. The large building in front of what is now Victoria Court apartment block was the camp's ballroom  and entertainment centre .

The Fort Warden Holiday Camp plan showing the extent of the campsite and the chalet layout.




Main gate from inside the campsite (1989)


   The folliowing four photographs of the camp's entrance were provided by Clive Lilley who, along with his extended family, spent some great holidays at Fort Warden.





    The Tilbury Family 1988 - Kim, Nicola (5) Paul and Laura (3) Taken at the car park entrance. The supermarket shop is behind the bushes and the laundry is in the distance.


    The following photos were provided by Douglas Woodward (June 1961)









  The photograph below was provided by Carole Archer. It's of Carole and her Mum taken in 1965 on their second visit to the Fort Warden Holiday Camp.  Carole says that it was a brilliant place for her childhood holidays in 1963 and 1965. 



   The photographs below are taken from the Fort Warden Holiday Camp brochure which was provided by Sean Pollard who spent many happy holidays at the campsite.










  The Chalet facilities were recorded in the brochure as follows:  ..............    New "2AB" Chalets for four have one double bedroom, one twin-bedded room, lounge, kitchen with refrigerator and bathroom.      Type "A" Chalets for four have a double bedroom fitted wardrobe and dressing table in the main living room and a two-tier bunk bedroom with fitted wardrobes.   Type "B" Chalets for six have two double bedrooms and one two-tier bunk bedrooms.  Type "C" Chalets for four (1st floor with veranda) have one double bedroom and one two-tier bunk bedrooms.  Type "D" Chalet for four (ground floor) have two double bedrooms.  Type "E" Chalets for four are single storey ground floor with one double bedroom and one twin-bedded room.   Types "A"  and "2AB" have full sized electric cookers.  Types "B" , "C", "D" and "E" Chalets have a full sized gas cookers and they have a hand-basin in each toilet.   Adequate shower and bath facilities are available.  Each Chalet has hot and cold water and its own flush toilet.  All beds are fitted with interior sprung mattresses, Chalets are provided with bed linen, crockery, cutlery and cooking equipment.  Each chalet has an electric razor point. There is a modern Launderette with Washing Machines and Spin Dryer.

  There is no room for Cots in any of the chalet bedrooms with the exception of Type "2AB" Should you wish to to have a cot in the main living room we can arrange to hire one at 10/- per week, including linen.

   The weekly terms were based on the rent of a chalet, whether occupation by one, two, three, four or six persons. It covered most facilities and amenities  and there was no charge for Gas or Electricity.

  The following seven photographs have been provided by Pat Gerber (nee Relf) who now lives in Switzerland.

  Pat, her parents, uncles, aunts and their children were some of the first families to holiday at Fort Warden in the late fifties early sixties. In those early years the camp-site had limited facilities and Pat remembers that much of the gun enplacement fortifications were still exposed.  There was also an area that was roped off as it was still under the possession of War Department.

  There was a restaurant, a bar, games room, with a snooker table,  but no dance hall, swimming pool or climbing frame.  There was though a children's play area. They loved the chalet and like many other campers always booked the same chalet for the five years that they holidayed there.  Pat still recalls that 'their chalet' (sic) was opposite the main entrance on a slope. Today the facilities then would be classed as basic but it was such a fun filled and luxury holiday especially for a girl who was growing up in Bethnal Green and London's East End.

      Above : Pat and her parents outside "their chalet", ready for the beach.

            Above : Pat and her parents outside "their chalet", ready for dinner.

                                       Above : Family photo .

  Above & below : The extended family in the room next to the games room.


                                        Pat on the beach at Colwell Bay.

  Above : Pat's Dad and her uncle who was returning from the Camp's shop.

  Pete Cotton (1940/1997)  played the guitar and saxophone during the fifties and sixties and  with  Freddie Heath  did backing work for many rock & roll groups.  Some of those groups  included The Tornadoes, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates,  Screaming Lord Sutch and the Thunderbirds who were Billy Fury's supporting group when on tour.   Pete Cotton left the heady rock'n'roll days behind when, in 1963,  he came to the Island as a professional musician and in 1964 he formed part of the Fort Warden Holiday Camp's band.

  The campsite continued to have musical events and regular dances often featuring visited pop groups. Several ex-staff members recall attending dances where Garry Glitter and Joe Brown and the Brovvers where top of the bill.


                        Above :   Fort Warden Holiday Camp postcards                                   


                              Above  -  John Smith and his Mum (Pam)       

     The following four photographs were provided by Sally Ewin (1962)      


The upgraded cliff top fencing ? by Ladbroke''s.(Mid 70''s)

The original cliff top fencing.

   The following two photographs were provided by Dave Dyment.  Dave spent three enjoyable consecutive holidays at the Fort Warden Holiday Camp from 1967 to 1969.  The first year was with his parents and a mate. The second being with his parents, two mates and Dave's aunty and uncle.  For 1969 it was Dave, his parents and three mates plus their friends.

1968 - Barbara Milton, Dave Dyment, Ann Davies, Terry Cunnington, Carol and Margaret Goldsmith either side of Tony Cunnington  

     The following videos were provided by Sue Vincent. Sue says that, as a child, she stayed at Fort Warden during the late 60's early 70's.

 The swimming pool fountain (1969) - Sally Carter, Heather, Dave Dyment, Den Brandom. Sitting - Paul (from Birmingham). Rob Brown and Dave Johson. 

  Raymond Hockley at the age of 7 taken whilst holidaying at the Fort Warden Holiday Camp during the Summer of 1976.  Although, not included in the photograph, adjacent to Ray was the campsite's flagpole which was situated at nearly the highest point of the campsite.  Here the camp's flag was flown which was a yellow flag with black lettering  saying 'Fort Warden Holidays'.  Ray and his family spent many happy holidays (1969 to 1980) at the camp and much of the following information, regarding the Fort Warden Holiday Camp, has been provided by Ray.

  The original owners of the holiday camp were the Maxwell's and they lived in the house at the end of Fort Warden Road.  The owner's house doubled up as the camp's reception centre and from the aerial pictures below you can see that the house and reception was just in front of the loophole wall.  This building has now been demolished with a new house built on the site. However,  the bungalow, that was on the left of the house, is still in situ. To the south of the loophole wall was the site's car park and at the west end of the loophole wall was a gated entrance.  Motor traffic was not permitted to enter through the camp's main gates which made the camp site safe for the children.



                                                                                                                                                                                                 At     At the bottom right of the above aerial photograph is the camp's infilled swimming pool.  The pool was an inverted L shape with the bottom of the L being the shallow end and the top of the vertical  being the deep end.  The pool was covered with a roof which was supported by glass sided walls. The shape of the holiday camp swimming pool mirrors that of the 1891 engine room and some of the underground rooms, below the swimming pool, contained some of the engine room machinery.

The infilled swimming pool - note the retained end wall section ( this was the shallow end ) 

  The two pictures above are of the Holiday Camp's infilled Swimming Pool.  The first picture below shows the retained wall section (with Tim Rogers) prior to the pool being infilled.  The second picture below records how the wall section looked when the campsite was open and the pool was in use. A new house has now been built on the swimming pool site.

      Tim Rogers           


                                                       Kim Tilbury''s daughter Nicola in the pool (late 80''s)       

Four staff members ''passing the time'' in the camp''s swimming pool. They are wearing the Ladbroke''s uniform. Taken during the 1988 season.

     Warner's Brochure 1991 Season.


                                                                                  John Smith 1966


  To the east of the camp's swimming pool was a large three tier blue fountain.  On hot days families would sunbathe on the grass surrounding the pool and sometimes sit in the fountain to cool down.  To the east of the fountain was a pathway and steps that took the campers down to Colwell Bay.

  Mrs Maxwell ran the holiday camp and was ably assisted by a Mr Reg R Flewin  who had previously captained Portsmouth Football Club to two division one title wins in 1948/1949 & 1949/1950. Later Reg managed both Stockport & Bournemouth Football clubs  before moving, in 1967, to the Fort Warden Holiday Camp where he was the sports and entertainment manager for many years


 Above : 'Pompey Captain Reg Flewin receives the Championship Trophy on April 29th 1949 with Field Marshall Montgomery looking on.


                             Reg Flewin   -   28 November 1920 - 25th May 2008  


                  Kim Hochley with the Southampton footballer Ron Davies - 1973/74  Ron Davies and other footballers regularly attended the Fort Warden Holiday Camp as guests of Reg Flewin.


   Bev Handley and her family had some great holidays at Fort Warden. The photos immediately below are of Bev and her Mum (Pat). Bev's family were often joined by their uncle's family her cousin being Angela Wooldridge.











             Above : Pat with her 'Glamorous Grandmother' certificate.






       Angela's dad sketched the following wonderful and evocative views of the Fort Warden Holiday Camp and surrounding area.


Holiday chalet''s types ''C & D'' - Type ''C'' for four (1st floor with verandah) had one double bedroom and two bunk beds. Type ''D'' ground floor with two double beds. 


  The photograph below shows the last paddle steamer to call at the
Totland Bay pier. It was the Embassy during September 1966 on a trip from Bournemouth. Note the Fort Warden Holiday Camp chalets above the pier.


The ''extended'' Hockley family.

Tracey Hockley

  Ray with his sister and Mum in front of their chalet.  In the initial years, of their campsite stays in the 1960's the chalets were only sparsely equipped. There was no bath and the toilet was outside on the veranda of the chalet.  There was a small electric cooker but no fridge.  The milk was bought daily from the camp's shop and stored in a bucket of cold water.  At two intervals between the rows of chalets were steps leading down to an underground set of concrete communal showers.

  At the western end of the flagpole hill there was a small playground with swings, a roundabout and a see-saw.  On the western lower middle tier of the chalets blocks there was a subterranean 9 pin bowling alley and a cinema.

  Near to the western end of the loophole wall  there  was an amusement arcade with pinball penny skill machines and a jukebox.  Adjacent  to this area was a small restaurant cafe and attached to the cafe was a billiard hall with three full-size snooker tables.  East from here was the site's laundry room.

  Opposite the amusement arcade was the camp's ballroom which had a large wooden floor for dancing.  To the south of the dance floor was a stage which was surrounded by a raised floor where the campers could sit to watch the dancing or later a cabaret show whilst having a drink.  Behind the seated area was the bar and adjacent to the bar was another cafe and a few amusements.  The Camp's ballroom's Master of Ceremonies was a Mr Mervyn Cole who held that position for many years.

  The following two photographs were taken from the hill where the camp's flagpole stood.  The view is over the western end of the campsite where the top row of the chalets overlooked Totland Bay and the pier.  At the time of the campsite none of the gun emplacements were exposed.  The camp-site's hill and raised seaward areas were built on top of the concrete gun emplacements.  The soil making up the hill has now been removed as part of the recent Fort Warden Heights housing/apartment development.   

  In the above picture the little wall to the left was to stop campers falling onto the laundry room and the handrail identifies a set of steps down to the lower southeast tier of chalets.  The ivy covered building in the centre of the picture was the billiard room and the second clump of ivy covers the bar and restaurant.  The large curved roofed building, in the distance, was the ballroom and entertainment centre.


You Tube Video showing campers enjoying their time at Fort Warden.(You may have to click on the text at the top to see the video)

  The You Tube video below was taken by Ray Hockley from a point adjacent to where the Campsite Flagpole was sited. It was taken after the campsite had closed but before the campsite was demolished.

The You Tube video below was taken by Tim Rogers during August 1996.  It shows Tim's wife Karen and their two children, Lydia and baby Dominic walking around the Fort Warden Holiday Campsite after it had been closed but before it was demolished and cleared.


Below are four You Tube Videos       -      Fort Warden Holiday Camp after closure and in a derelict state  :  



 Boule's Court


  Above is the Fort Warden Holiday Camp advert taken from the back of the West Wight Official Guide, price 1 shilling and 6 pence. There are no dates recorded in the booklet but, as some of the hotel prices are shown in Guineas, pounds, shillings and pence, the advert must be pre-1971 the  UK decimalisation.

  Tim Rogers spent many a happy holiday at the Fort Warden Holiday Camp during the late 60's and early 70's.  He remembers playing football matches against campers from other nearby holiday camps and that Ron Davies, professional player for Southampton Fotball Club, attended the campsite as a guest of Reg Flewin.

Tim Rogers outside his chalet   Tim''s dad with Tim''s sisters and a friend.

Tim and his family in the dance hall     Tim with his elder sister in the dance hall.

                                             Tim his sister and mum on the swings circa 1969





           Playing the game of croquet - In the background, the chalets in front of the loophole wall.

             Chalet block 

  Sean Pollard says that he was brought up on family holidays at the Fort Warden Holiday Camp. His parents along with Sean and his sister Amanda had annual holidays there on, probabally, ten separate occasions between 1965 and 1980. He recalls wonderful memories and has provided the following campsite photographs.



           Sean and his sister Amanda on the beach at Colwell Bay - 1967


   On the left, as you neared the entrance and car park to the Fort Warden Campsite, was a small stables 'Fort Warden Stables'. There was  6 horses and ponies of various sizes that were available for hire. 


                                       Sean and his dad at the Fort Warden Stables. "Bandit" above.

                                      From Jane Austin - Fort Warden Stables.





         Above -  Gina Crowther  1976  -  1979 The Todds and the Cleverlry's.

       Below, are three photograps provided by Wendy Clayton which were taken during the summer of 1976. On the climbing frame is Wendy's dad (hanging upside down) an Kim Greg;s dad.



  Opposite the Fort Warden Stables and down from the holiday camp's entrance, the bungalow and reception was a pitch and putt course.  The facility was available for hire but, like the stables, was not run by the Fort Warden Holiday Camp's management. 


   In the background can be seen the bungalow and the roof of the Holiday Camp' reception.    


                                Above is where the Pitch & Putt facility was sited         


                      Ariel photo of the area that was the Pitch & Putt course.     


      Sean and his mum at the Fort Warden Stables - The white pony was called ' Sammy'.



   Sean his mum and sister sat outside the arcade (Sean aged 7 Amanda aged 12)


          Sean his dad & sister sat outside the main entrance  -  (enlargement shows the main gate)


                         Sean his sister and two friends - taken within chalet 17





                          The blue three tier fountain seen through the window of the swimming pool



           Inside the ballroom - Amanda with her friend Susan and 'boyfriend' Lee - 1971




                                                       In the ballroom - 1972



                                                   Marilyn Mazza Peers 1970 to 1973


   The following photos were provided by Philip Lyon who, with his family, holidayed at Fort Warden annually from 1976 to 1983.        





         The Todd family have fantastic memories of fort warden holidays

                                                  1963 to 1980









                                          Created and maintained by :

  Robin Homden robinhomden1@aol.com

Former campers and staff members should visit
 and join the Facebook site : Fort Warden Holiday Camp.