"I came across this old photograph yesterday of my mum and dad, me between them holding the hands of my brothers Patrick and Peter , flanked by my sisters Mary and Eileen. My younger siblings Michael and Susan were still unborn; no more than the amorous advances between my parents of nights to come.
What made this picture so rare, is that it was one of the very few occasions when my father didn't work through his holiday so that the rest of the family could have one. He actually came with us.The place was Cayton Bay, Scarborough and the year was 1952, before I had a serious traffic accident that almost killed me and left me unable to walk for three years.
Our Cayton Bay break, like our weekly grocer's bill throughout the year, would be paid for out of my father's future wages; yet unearned. My mother would spare an odd few shillings to Mr. Ottaway as a deposit whenever she could. There were two holiday camps on the Cayton Bay Road, opposite to each other in every way possible. On one side of the road was 'Wallis's Caravan Camp' and across the road from it was 'Ottaway's Caravan Site.' Ottaways catered for the poorest families and its caravans were all well past their sell-by-date, whereas the caravan campers at Wallis's enjoyed the experience of a more expensive and upmarket camp with all the facilities and entertainment a middle class family could ever want. Almost all the residents from Windybank Estate, where we lived, went to 'Ottaways Camping Site as it cost half the money.
And as if to ensure that the campers at the poor site across the road knew what they were missing every morning, the Wallis' Camp would make a loud announcement, which could be heard on Scarborough beach, bidding Wallis caravan campers welcome to a new day, and politely asking them to make their way to the canteen where the choice of a heartily-cooked breakfast awaited them. As our family heard the daily announcement, we knew that we had no choice regarding what we ate as mum would put some bread and jam on our breakfast table for the family.
Indeed, we were often accommodated in an old railway carriage on the cliff top field of Ottaways instead of an old caravan, because of our family number. Despite these differences that distinguished the two camps, Wallis's crowned their segregation practices by denying any kind of visitor entry to their camp's facilities by campers from Ottaways across the road, who had clearly been marked out as 'social undesirables,' to be avoided if possible!
And yet, our holidays spent at Cayton Bay would be looked back upon in later years as having been good times spent by a happy and close-knit family. The food and money we had to spend may have been scarce, but the fresh air and the joyful times playing on the beach and paddling in the sea were plentiful and memorable; especially that year when dad came with us.
I will never forget the tragic event which occurred one year though, when a young man from Ottaways' side of the road was attracted to a young woman from the Wallis Camp. Over the course of their holiday week, their relationship secretly blossomed, and each night, the young man would be smuggled past the Wallis guard and inside the camp across the social divide. The upshot was that the young woman became pregnant as a result of their liaison, and a 'shot gun marriage' followed before the expected baby was born. Her parents begrudgingly gave their approval to their daughter marrying some labourer outside their social class, from the other side of the road, while his parents considered it the natural thing to do in the circumstances. But the young couple, who were madly in love, insisted on going ahead with their marriage, and given the pregnant condition of the young woman, both sets of in-laws reluctantly agreed. Four years down the line, it became clear that their marriage was failing. The lowly-born husband was constantly reminded by his unhappy wife that she had ruined her life by marrying beneath her station and that she should have listened to her parents when they initially advised against her proposed marriage to an Ottaway camper who was housed on a council estate.
After six months of continued arguments and constant depression, the husband was found dead one morning; having hanged himself. A short time later, after his funeral had taken place, his wife moved back to the more exclusive area of Gloucesterhire to live in a lovely cottage that her parents had bought for her.
After that incident, it was a long time before anyone from the two opposite camps in Cayton Bay crossed the road and fraternised with a member of the enemy camp, and over the next twenty years, all Windybank Estate residents chose their lifelong partners, mistresses and spouses from inside their social class and the Windybank Estate post code." William Forde: September 27th, 2016.