Wood Street Mission Camp – Blackpool
Wood Street Mission is a registered children’s charity located in the centre of Manchester. In the 1880’s, Wood Street Mission started taking local children to Southport for a day at the seaside. This activity proved so popular that a seaside camp was built which provided accommodation for around 120 children. The seaside camp was operational for about 30 years and was closed in 1919. At the end of the First World War, Wood Street decided to replace the seaside camp in Southport with a holiday home in Blackpool.
In 1897 a Summer Camp was built at St Anne’s on Sea near Blackpool. It was originally designed to take 36 children, but grew to accommodate 120. After a quarter of a century the wooden huts at St Anne’s were showing their age. Therefore the Committee of Management decided to build a more permanent seaside holiday home for the children at Squire’s Gate, Blackpool, at a cost of some £20,000. The holiday home, based in the Squires Gate area, was finally opened in 1922, and each year over 3,000 children were accommodated.
With over seven acres of playing fields and a swimming pool, the home allowed Wood Street to provide free-week long holidays to over 1,000 children each summer. Many annual reports highlight that children were also entertained on these holidays at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the Tower Circus, the Ice Palace and the South Pier.
In 1940 the camp was commandeered over by the Military Authorities to billet troops of the Manchester Regiment, and from 1941 to 1945 it was used by the Ministry of Health to house displaced young children and expectant mothers.
In 1963, due to cost, Wood Street Mission closed the holiday home in Blackpool and bought Birchfield Lodge, a large outdoor recreational centre based in the Derbyshire countryside.
Wood Street Mission Holiday Home
The Wishing Well
The Swimming Pool
A Wood Street Mission Camp medal awarded in 1933 for ‘Good Conduct’