This timeline shows the changes over the years
Can you fill in any of the gaps? 
Please use the 'Contact Us' page.


The engineer Norman Thompson, attracted to the area by the large expanse of firm sand and the constant winds along the shore, founded an aircraft works.
From: 'Middleton-on-Sea', A History of the County of Sussex


After the removal of much of the sand in a storm in 1913, Norman Thompson turned to making seaplanes. The firm was later called the Norman Thompson Flight Co. During the First World War it supplied aircraft to the navy, the workforce growing from ten at the beginning to between 700 and 900. Workers were brought by bus or lorry from Bognor and elsewhere.  About 250 aircraft in all were built, some by sub-contractors, but with the cancellation of orders at the end of the war the firm went into liquidation.
From: 'Middleton-on-Sea', A History of the County of Sussex


The largest attraction was the 'New City' created by Sir Walter Blount, Bt., and opened in 1922 in the former seaplane factory south of the church. It was one of the earliest attempts to provide a self-contained environment for enjoying the seaside. There were c. 200 bedrooms, all with central heating and half with private baths, besides a garage for 100 cars; visitors without cars could be met at Barnham station. Almost every form of amusement was claimed to be catered for. One of the hangars accommodated a dance hall and another indoor tennis courts; there were also outdoor tennis courts, a putting green, and rooms for cards and billiards. Sand yacht racing and motor gymkhanas took place on the beach, and children's sports were organized. The New City had its own dairy, farm, ice generating plant, and mineral water factory, besides a laundry, hairdressing rooms, and lending library. By the mid 1920s it was said to be very popular with large numbers of 'distinguished' visitors.
From: 'Middleton-on-Sea', A History of the County of Sussex


The New City development had its own drainage and sewerage systems and an electricity generator which supplied light to neighbouring houses.  The New City resort employed nearly 80 staff at the height of the season in 1926.
From: 'Middleton-on-Sea', A History of the County of Sussex


New City had become the Southdean hotel and sports club
From: 'Middleton-on-Sea', A History of the County of Sussex


Southdean hotel and sports club was open to nonresidents, and which by then could offer squash courts and a sea-water swimming pool.
From: 'Middleton-on-Sea', A History of the County of Sussex


Southdean's first season under Mr L Dean's ownership?

Kenny Essex's 1st season? (KE) Stayed until 1976 season but probably missed the 1963 season


Kenny Essex & Johnny Sutton

Kenny Essex & Johnny Sutton
Kay Sharp's first year as Children's Nannie and Nurse
Stayed until around 1975 - Her son, Peter Sharp lives with her on camp aged 4 years (Yes, thats me, your friendly Webmaster)

Entertainment - Ray & Eddie

Randolph Sutton Junior (John Sutton) 1st season?


Johnny Sutton
Rowena with Nelson & Cadet Show
Waiting staff picture - John Brooker on staff in 66


KE & Randolph Sutton Junior (John Sutton) 4th season
John Brooker on staff in 67

MD Leslie J Dean

Bert Willmer's Southdean Orchestra

Photographers: Ted and Jean Chandler

Silver Stars Orchestra - Olde Tyme Dancing

Nelson and Cadet Show - Caberet sponsored by Nelson Cigarettes and Cadets Cigarettes

Southdean Panto - Cinderella


KE & Ran & Rowena Sutton (John Sutton)

MD Leslie J Dean

Mgr: Peter G Smith

Photographers: Ted and Jean Chandler

Bert Willmer's Southdean Orchestra

Dennis Udell & Joyce Brampton - (England Ballroom Dancing Champions 1965, 1966 & 1967)

El Condor (Magic from Mexico)

Trevor Little

Cavalcade Floor Show including 4 Cavalcade Dancers, Marie, Joy & Mike Davies or Roy Murray - Presented by Wilby Lunn Productions

Hector Seager - Puch and Judy Show

Personality Queen 1968 - Mrs Gill Middleton-Smith


Southdean Holiday Centre

KE & ?

Mgr: Peter G Smith

Photographers: Ted and Jean Chandler

Bert Willmer's Southdean Orchestra

De Milles

The Sundowners

Bewildering Zodiacs

Dave Kaffey

Dazzle Floor Show including Dazzle Dancers - Presented by Eric and Brenda Ross

Neil Linden

Hector Seager - Puch and Judy Show


Personality Queen 1970: Mrs Janet Napier


(Ken & Rita Smith - General Manager - in 1970 or 1971 - Along with their son Chris)

Sussex Coast Country Club


Mgr: ?

The Sonics - Directed By Bert Willmer - Dance Band

Enny Delmotte

Jimmy White

The Cherokees - Geoff Winship -


Dazzle Floor Show including Dazzle Dancers - Presented by Eric and Brenda Ross

Winship's Mini-Circus

Bill English

The Concords



KE 14th season & ?

Mrg: Joy Long

The Dazzle Show

The T Set - Pop band


KE & Phil McKernon

Mrg: Joy Long


Frank & Edie - Play in Lounge Bar

Mole Simmons Music

Richard & Lara Jarmain - Cabaret

The Dazzle Show

Jim Mollison - Plays in Lounge Bar

Medieval Tournament



KE & Phil McKernon

Mgr: Joy Long

Leisure Holiday Centres

Barbara Hayden Wig Show

Reunion Week:

Mole Simmons Music

Jim Mollison - Plays in Lounge Bar

Fur Fashion Show by Richesse

Dance to Brian White

Wild West Show

Barbara Hayden Wig Show


KE & Phil McKernon

Mgr: Joy Long

Leisure Holiday Centres

Ronnie Smith Band
(Was this the band, that Rick Wakeman of 'Yes' fame, had been involved with in 1967-1969? )

Barbara Hayden Wig Show


Entertainers not mentioned in Programme - Probably Kenny Essex & Phil McKernon's last season!

Mgr: Joy Long

Fur Trip

Mole Simmons Band

Barbara Hayden Wig Show

Cherokees Cabaret

Ronnie Smith Show Band (Still going in 1999)

Eric Jak Show

J.C. Fields Cabaret

Sail Makers Cabaret

Concords - Band - Reunion Week

Photographic Shop in Tudor House

Reception in Main Building







Trevor Quinn-Thomas worked from Christmas 1982

Keith Urry was the Entertainments manager at Sussex Coast. He did everything from the cabaret to the swimming gala.
Trevor Quinn-Thomas worked till the end of Summer 1983
November 1983 - Steve Chappel Entertainment manager



(Click here for several 1984 staff photos)
Trevor Quinn Thomas was Entertainments manager
Blue Coats - Kerry John Applin, Anne Newman, Sue Cardish, Wendy, Debbie, Tony, Dina, Steve, Jim  (See photos)

Kerry finished season in November 1984 and went back for a couple of days over Christmas when Georgie Telford was Ents Manager

Band - Family Affair - Debbie, Jim, Tina & Tony (See photo)  They went to Warners Corton site with Jo Pasqualie -  Debbie is married to Joe Pasquale

Great cabaret acts: Barry Williams and Tony Cross, The Antons, David André, Mitchell Armstrong, Peter La Scalar. Kenny G.

Francis Lee was general manager, then Mike. (Mike Lovell?)
Gordon was bars manager.

News came through that the camp was closing.

Entertainments Programme and Reunion Programme


The camp became a Club 18/30 venue

All the family bookings were transferred for the 1985 season to The Savoy Hotel in Bournemouth where Kerry became entertainments manager and met his wife Sue who was auditioning to be a Bluecoat! 1985 and 1986 at the Savoy was really Sussex coast in disguise. All the same guest came and they had the same cabarets as well!


Club 18/30 venue


In 1987 it reverted back to Sussex Coast Country Club, just with a better sound system in the ballroom and a smaller dance floor. Kerry Applin returned as Entertainment manager and Sue worked in reception and the bar.

Glynis Brailsford was the general manager.

The 1987 great storm -  The roofs came off the old aircraft hangers and ended up in the pool. The camp was full of old-aged pensioners, but nobody got hurt. All the coaches had smashed windows, and the staff performed in the ballroom with candles for lights and a piano in the middle of the dance floor.  They did not close the camp and took new guests the following week.

Cabarets included Bobby Reid, local teacher with fantastic voice.


1988 ...


What happened to the camp after this?

Warners sold it on to Shearings Holidays who then sold it on a year later for housing development

What year was the site redeveloped?

Can you add anymore information?  Use the 'Contact Us' page.

Information may not be 100% accurate!