In a previous blog I talked about how the Chinese adapted their food to suit the British palate back in the 1960s, so I was intrigued and delighted to hear that It was a clever move on Billy’s part, as he created symbiotic relationship between himself and the Chinese community. He knew that if people tried Chinese food at a Butlin’s camp, they would go home and eat in their local Chinese restaurant, which they’d previously given a wide berth!
So it was in 1958, that Butlin’s first Chinese Restaurant ‘The Lotus House’ was opened in Clacton-on-Sea serving a few simple dishes such as Chicken Chop Suey and Chips. For campers it was like a holiday within a holiday, as they were transported to exotic China and would no doubt be their first experience of meeting Chinese people. Smiling, happy faced staff would make customers feel at ease by advising them on what they should try and a Butlins hosted Chinese eating competition with chopsticks would reinforce this.
It is well documented that the introduction of the Lotus House into Butlin’s holiday camps had a big impact on the growth of Chinese restaurants around the UK and by 1965 almost a third of the British population had eaten in a Chinese restaurant.