Oldham Historical Research Group

'Oldham Stories'

     'Oldham Stories'
by Mary Dickinson

Cunningham's Camp

Cunningham's Camp was a boys' camp on the Isle of Man. I went to the Isle of Man for the first time when I was 15 years old. I remember there were always a lot of young men on the island. Most of these young men stayed at the camp. Sometimes the parents were staying in the hotels but mostly the boys had gone together in groups.

It was a wonderful place for boys to go to. They had visiting days when parents and friends could look round the camp. They could go anywhere except the sleeping quarters. The kitchens were very clean and the staff were wonderful. No boy was ever lonely there. They had to be in for midnight but I think if they knew the guards well enough, they could sneak in after that.

When we went, we used to go up on the escalator right to the top and we could see all over the island. There were dances every night, which cost about a shilling. In the moming the dancing was free and the boys could take a girl in. It was a good place to learn to dance. One boy from Oldham played in the band there. They wore white pants and always looked very smart.

I think the boys paid about two Guineas a week but they were well looked after. I think the fare was l7s.3d. right through fom Oldham on the train to Fleetwood and on the midnight boat to Douglas.

I went to the Isle of Man eight times, the last time with my husband. That was when I saw the real beauty of the island. Before that I hardly left the prom and the Singing Booths where you could sing all the latest songs and buy the sheet music.

There is no Cunningham's Camp today but it brought a lot of happiness to a lot of Oldham people

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