Cumbria Crack

Family’s 60-year holiday business brought to book

Michael Holgate with the book
Michael Holgate with the book

[B]ritain’s love affair with caravans and camping is celebrated in a new publication which looks back over six decades of change at a Lake District holiday park.

Marking the 60th anniversary of Silverdale Holiday Park in Cumbria, the 60-page book paints a fascinating picture of how leisure expectations have evolved over the years.

In words and pictures, it traces the story of the Holgate family who moved their touring caravan manufacturing business from Lancashire to Silverdale in the 1950s.

The industry then was in its infancy, but Billy Holgate took a more entrepreneurial approach than most of his competitors, and was soon winning overseas supply contracts.

Billy decided that a logical extension to his business would be to provide a picturesque setting for customers to bring their Holgate tourers – and in 1956, Silverdale welcomed its first guests.

The expectations of guests then were modest. A decent toilet block, a friendly welcome, and somewhere to buy fresh eggs and milk were just about all the boxes that needed ticking.

But Billy and his wife Miriam sensed that the 1960s and the ending of post-war austerity would soon herald a new wave of families who wanted rather more than a “make do” holiday.

Silverdale already provided a privileged setting with its tranquil countryside and sweeping views across Morecambe Bay – and now it was time to raise the bar even higher.

New roads, extensive landscaping of the grounds, a well-stocked shop, a cafeteria, and a lido pool saw Silverdale move the park experience into a new era of holiday pleasures.

Silverdale provides over 500 caravan holiday homes to buy and to let, pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents, and luxury timber-built camping pods.

Guests also have use of a raft of leisure facilities including a swimming pool, gym, spa, American-themed bowling alley, and a highly acclaimed restaurant.

With the help of Holgates’ extensive archive of historic photographs and documents, the book is an affectionate tribute to a family business continuing to make “excellence” its principal goal.

There is also a footnote of poignancy as Michael Holgate, Billy’s grandson, was forced to take over authorship of the book from his father Frank who passed away in January 2015.

Above all, however, the book is a compelling insight into how one family’s vision helped to ensure that “fresh air holidays” remain as enduringly popular today as they have been for decades.

Copies of the book, at £9.95, including postage and packing, are available by calling 01524 701508. There is also more information about Silverdale at

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