Thanks to Alan Tickner for help supplying the information
Middleton Tower Holiday Camp, near Morecambe, opened on Saturday 19th August 1939. The man behind the venture was Harry Kamiya, who also ran the Luna Park at Blackpool and 24 other amusement concessions in various parts of the country. The opening ceremony was performed by Lady Bridgett Poulett but almost immediately the camp was requisitioned by the government when war broke out, the intention being to use it as a prisoner of war camp but it was instead put to other uses.
Costing £50,000 and spread over 60 acres, it had 900 chalets and was a full-board camp with dining rooms for 3000 people. The main entertainment building, which also housed a 2000 seat theatre, was built in the style of an ocean liner and was known as the SS Berengaria. This ship, once the pride of the Cunard trans-atlantic fleet, was scrapped in 1939 but a number of its relics were auctioned and later used or displayed in the Berengaria building at Middleton Tower. The camp also had it's own country pub converted from a "haunted" 17th century farmhouse.
Mr Kamiya died in 1952 and the camp was operated by his family until being sold to Pontins in 1964. All of the chalets were then replaced with new brick structures and the outdoor pool was enclosed within a new building. In 1976 the camp gained fame by hosting the televised Miss Great Britain finale. Unfortunately the camp closed at the end of 1993. This was in line with Pontins desire to trim down their empire and to focus instead on a smaller number of mainly self-catering sites.
It was sold to a land developer and in 1996 the Home office unveiled plans for a temporary medium security prison on the site. A public inquiry was held and the plans were dropped after fierce local opposition. The site has since been sold again and outline planning permission was granted in 2002 for a retirement village. For a while everything was still pretty much intact but fenced off, boarded up and slowly suffering at the hands of nature and vandalism, and ,our photos from 2002 show the camp during this era. However, the site is now open as Middleton Towers Retirement Village.
Middleton Tower also has its own Yahoo discussion group