The grass roots of Canvas Holidays

The swinging sixties – a decade of mini skirts, flower power and Beatlemania – and the dawn of Canvas Holidays.

In the 1960’s Britain became a truly affluent society – vacuum cleaners and washing machines were in most homes, and cars and fridges became the norm. And for the first time – foreign family holidays became common place.

One of these new ‘explorers’ of foreign shores was Jim Cuthbert and his family. Like many in the 1960’s, the most affordable way for the Cuthbert family to explore Europe was by camping. It was on one of these holidays that Jim Cuthbert found sound inspiration. Whilst waiting on the cross Channel ferry in Ostend he observed many other families crammed into cars filled to the brim with camping equipment and other holiday essentials – and thought how helpful it would be if all this could be provided at the campsite.

With this inspiration and a great love for the essence of the camping holiday, Jim Cuthbert set out to make camping abroad easier. And so Canvas Holidays was born in the spring of 1965 and transformed the world of continental camping as we know it. A total of 25 of the best quality tents that money could buy were erected in Northern France, equipped with camping essentials plus cookers and gas. Holidays were sold at 10-17 guineas a week for six people and in the first brochure holidaymakers were promised that on arrival everything would be “ready for the first cup of tea”.

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