My father worked for Holdrons of Peckham then John Lewis, when they took over, almost all of his working life.
My Dad took our family to the Leckford camp several times during the 1950s. We travelled from Waterloo by train to Andover where, if I remember correctly, the John Lewis camp van picked us up. The chalets at this time were the original converted chicken coops with an outside chemical toilet and oil lamps for lighting. New purpose-built chalets were slowing replacing these and I recall one collapsing due to a shock wave from a flight of low flying jets. The occupants were at church at the time.
The chalets were on an incline with the dining hall, kitchen and sports room at the base. We always seemed to get a chalet at the top near the London Road. Near the entrance to the dining hall was a carport for the camp van and a swing which was very popular. I went out with the van on various errands but I cannot remember the driver’s name although I can still picture him. I think he was a resident of the camp and, unfortunately, if I remember correctly he died in a nearby hospital from pneumonia one year when we were at the camp. I think Tuesdays and Thursdays were coach outing days to places like Salisbury, Winchester, Weymouth or my dad’s favourite: Swanage. I also recall country dancing evenings when the camp van would go out and bring mostly girls from the surrounding villages and Stockbridge.
We always enjoyed our stays at the camp very much and I loved the smell of the oil lamps and the creosote of the huts. Even the chemical toilets weren’t bad. It all added to the sense of adventure and a proper camping holiday and I can never remember bad weather. Some of the above may not be correct. I was very young at the time and I would love to hear from anyone who could verify or correct these memories of Happy Days.