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Janet Boam


Childhood trips to Cleethorpes in the 1940s and 1950s

Black and white photograph of Janet Boam and friend as children at the family caravan.
Janet (on the right with plaits) and a friend outside the caravan in the 1950s © Janet Boam

Black and white photograph of the Boam family caravan.
The caravan Janet's father built © Janet Boam


Janet Boam grew up in Newhall near Attercliffe in Sheffield but has lived in Burngreave for 27 years. She wrote this piece for the Firshill Local History Group in 2005.

In the early 1950s my Dad built us a caravan. It was quite large and slept four people. He managed to get a site for it on Beacholme Camp at Humberston, near Cleethorpes. We travelled to Cleethorpes by steam train. The excitement grew as we went by tram to the Wicker, then up in the lift to Victoria Station. The whistle blew, the guard's green flag went up and the train steamed out of Sheffield bound for the coast. We knew our journey was almost over when the tower on Grimsby Docks came into view.

Beachholme Camp, which stood at the bottom of North Sea Lane in Humberston, didn't have many 'mod-cons'. The toilets were in a communal block and were of the tin bucket and chemical variety. I can still remember the obnoxious smell! Most of the 'holiday homes' on the site were converted buses, trams or railway carriages. There were also 'bungalows' of dubious design and construction. None had water laid on and it had to be carried in buckets from the various taps dotted around the site. People also camped out, mainly in ex-army tents. The campers could be seen collecting grass cuttings to stuff their pillows and mattresses. I don't think I would have liked that as I was petrified of 'creepy-crawlies'.

In those days Humberston was still quite rural. We used to gather blackberries from the hedgerows and Dad used to get up early and pick mushrooms from the fields which Mum would cook with bacon for our breakfast. They were delicious! The smell of bacon cooking as the campers made breakfast was out of this world. It doesn't smell the same now.

Written by Janet Boam, 2005.