First mention of a holiday by the sea for poor children when the Kyrle Society’s Samuel Ellicock, HMI for Technical Education, proposed a summer camp for poor boys somewhere on the coast. Ellicock led a committee that investigated but when the report was presented to the Kyrle Society it concluded that such a camp was impractical at that time.
Mrs Rolleston, later Lady Rolleston, invited some poor boys over to her home at Glen Parva Grange, where she had a team of helpers, for instruction and encouragement to become self-respecting citizens, to love God and to read the Bible.
Leicester Boys’ Club opened at 22 Newarke Street with Edward Wood as president, Sir John Rolleston as vice-president, Lady Rolleston as honorary secretary and Samuel Faire as treasurer. A second club opened on Lead Street.
Alderman Wakerley, the mayor, called a public meeting which was promoted by Lady Rolleston, to discuss a week’s holiday by the sea for boys who attended the clubs. Leicester Poor Boys’ Summer Camp Association was founded. At the Bank Holiday in early August, the first group of boys went camping in tents on the sandhills at Mablethorpe, accompanied by Samuel Ellicock, who became the first chairman of the charity. Volunteers came from Leicester and the camp was opened by Lady Rolleston.
Girls joined the holidays for the first time, in a purpose built wooden building. The boys continued to sleep in tents.
The clubs in Leicester moved to new premises at 53 Highcross Street.
The charity was renamed Leicester Poor Boys’ and Girls’ Summer Camp and Institute. The premises moved again to 77 High Street.
Shaftesbury Hall built to house the classes and games of the Institute and offices of the charity.
Boys’ Home built in Mablethorpe, next to the Girls’ Home.
Open Air School for weak and sickly children opened by the Education Committee in the holiday homes in the autumn, after the summer season ended.
1915 to 1918
The Holiday Homes were occupied by the military. Children went on country holidays to Manor House at Little Stretton.
Holidays recommence at Mablethorpe and Shaftesbury Hall reopened for the children in Leicester.
Lady Rolleston laid the foundation stone for a new, modern holiday centre at Mablethorpe.
The permanent holiday centre for both boys and girls opened on the sandhills at Mablethorpe.
Holidays were arranged at Bufton Lodge, Botcheston for a short time, until it was taken over for use by evacuees.
Children from the county of Leicestershire began to go to Mablethorpe.
The Great Flood on the East Coast caused huge damage and loss of life although the Holiday Centre escaped damage because of its high position on the dunes. Rescue and reconstruction workers, including Leicester Firemen, were housed in the Centre which delayed its opening for children’s holidays by two weeks.
Shaftesbury Hall was rented out, Ruthella was the first tenant. The charity’s office moved into the adjacent former caretaker’s accommodation.
Sidney Brown Chair (1966-67)
Harold Beck Chair (1967-90)
Arthur West Chair (1990-91)
The charity was renamed Leicester Children’s Holiday Centre (Mablethorpe).
Raymond Mason Chair (1991-2003)
The charity celebrated its centenary.
Janet Littlefield Chair (2003-04)
Stephanie Brown Chair (2004-11)
Jim Roberts Chair (2011-17)
Shaun O’Donnell Chair (2017-19)
The last season of children’s holidays in Mablethorpe. More than 60,000 children had enjoyed a special time there over the years.
In August the first party of Leicester children are taken by the renamed Leicester Children’s Holidays charity on an exciting adventure holiday at Hilltop, Sheringham.
During this year’s Civic lunch, a new modern website, logo, and branding is unveiled completed by local design agency Nifty Thinking.
Parvez Bhatty Chair (2019-current)
44 children went on holiday.
Leicester Children’s Holidays relocates from Shaftesbury Hall to the Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester City Centre.
4 year strategic plan in the pipeline.
Our target is to send 80 children on holiday.