RIDING HIGH... Billy Butlin at his Minehead camp (Image: Mirrorpix)
Bombed out streets in Hull were transformed into an amusement park that was camouflaged to make it invisible to German bombers. Astonishingly, the Black Out Amusement Park opened 75 years ago this month and ran for 10 days. Thousands of thrill-seekers rode the Moon Rocket, the Big Wheel, Octopus, Electric Speedway Track, Dodgems, Big Dipper, and Noah’s Ark every night except Sunday. There were side shows including a shooting gallery where the public could win prizes by taking pot shots at photos of Adolf Hitler.
The crowds were hidden by circus big tops adapted to prevent the escape of any chink of light that might aid the Luftwaffe.
The Blackout Funfair has been revealed in long-lost archives discovered by Hull historian Mike Covell on its 75th anniversary.
Years before his holiday camp empire, Billy Butlin had settled in Skegness, on the Lincolnshire coast, where he had opened an amusement park. He reckoned travelling fairs had had their day and the growth of the bucket and spade holiday meant the future was the British seaside.
He had already built his first holiday camp in Skegness, which opened in 1936, but by 1944, balmy evenings eating candy floss and riding the waltzers were a distant memory.
Damage caused during the raids in May 1941 (Image: Hull Daily Mail)
DEVASTATING….Hull’s docks ablaze as the city was turned to rubble in 1941 (Image: SWNS)
The Butlin camps were occupied by the military and Butlin had volunteered to boost morale in munitions factories with whist