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LONDON.-"King Billy" Butlin, who has made millions out of holiday camps all over Britain, last,
week had to admit defeat in one of his most ambitious projects. «
T_riS plan to bring luxury, ?". and American tourists, to a desert island in the Bahamas had failed.
Estimated to cost £1,030,000 sterling, it had already soaked up two and half times that much.
To finish this dollar-tourist para- dise Butlin wanted £ 800,000 more and couldn't get it.
A court has ordered the company to be compulsonly wound up.
This will be 50-year-old Butlin's first major setback since he rose from the position of a stall keeper at a fairground.
It he loses a good part of the £250,000 he himself put into the venture it will still leave him with control of the £10 million sterling enterprise which made him famous. For Butlin has given seaside fun and mass-produced holidays to mil- lions ot Englishmen.
At 15 he saw service in France as a drummer boy with the Cana- dian Army. A few years later he arrived in England, invested his £5 fortune in a hoop-la stall and set out to become a millionaire.
He gave bigger prizes than other hoop-la men gave, and made it easier to win. This policy paid off and he never afterwards abandoned it.
His motto is "Value for money." It took Butlin 14 years, working 16 hours daily, seven days a week, to turn his hoop-la stall into a chain of eight seaside fun' parks and to give him, besides, enough money to introduce his first holiday camp to
Britain. It accommodated 2,000 people.
Now he owns six camps, and 320,000 Britishers go there for holi- days every year.
Butlin succeeded by watching all details himself. He travels 50,000 miles a year from camp to camp, mainly in his own private aero- plane.
He mixes with holidaymakers, who like his camps, he says, be- cause he gives them the sort of holiday he likes himself-a holiday with every minute organised.
If he sees anyone who just can't join in the fun, Butlin gives the unfortunate his money back and
sends him home.
Tried Every Job
To find out what his employees are worth he's tried every job him- self. In this way he's learned to ride the wall of death and to crack a whip inside the lion's cage at
one of his seaside zoos.
When he launched out in the Bahamas he was confident of hook- ing middle-class Americans at £-4 and £5 sterling a day.
He probably would have suc- ceeded, but his advisers hopelessly
miscalculated the cost.