Billy Butlin spotted potential of Hayling Island fun park site | Nostalgia

Hayling Island was discovered by the masses in the 1930s, when the popularity of the car made travelling more convenient.

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 6:00 am
Beachlands, Hayling Island, in the 1950s. Picture: Paul Costen postcard collection.

As the island grew in popularity as a holiday destination, the attractions of safe sandy beaches and goodsunshine records were joined by frequent travelling country fairs held at Beachlands.

When the site was bought by Billy Butlin in 1924, these fairs started to become permanent attractions and the forerunner to the modern fairground that sits on the same site today.

One of the biggest attractions of this early fairground was Monkey Island.

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Beachlands, Hayling Island, 2019. Picture: Paul Costen,

Set amid a small boating lake, Monkey Island was a rocky outcrop inhabited by live monkeys.

As well as being a place of fun, Beachlands also had a more serious role.

Taken over by the Royal Navy in 1939, it was a barracks for the armed forces during the Second WorldWar.