Sisters Margaret Jarvis and Pam Nickerson have been regular visitors to Potters for many years and we caught up with them both to talk about some of their memories, including eating exotic food, hunting for four leaf clover and campers concerts…
Do you remember your first visit?
Margaret: “It was in 1947 and I visited with my parents, and since then I have first over 100 times. Pam is a few years younger than me, so visited a couple of years later. Our grandparents also used to visit. I used to come for my birthday every year and spent two weeks at Potters over the summer. I’ve celebrated many big celebrations at Potters, such as my 21st and 65th birthday, and have wonderful memories to treasure.
What was Potters like in the early years?
Pam: “I remember Herbert in his velvet jacket and he used to turn the lights off in the ballroom to save money. Geof Parsons organised a campers concert with a sing along, sketches and our parents were involved in a sketch. I remember they played an old couple with a daughter called Nelly who had had a baby! Geof would be in the bar singing songs and getting everyone up to have a go. There was a cycle shed I loved and we hired a bike and would go around Potters and down the lane on it – you couldn’t get me off the bike when I was younger! We were the entertainment back then.
Margaret: “I remember coming as a teenager and being in my own wooden hut. There was a jukebox room I used to love and we thought it was wonderful. On a Monday there was a sandcastle competition on the beach, and throughout the week there would be a treasure hunt and we used to collect bottle tops, gold balls would be hidden around the camp and they would challenge us to find a four leaf clover. You can imagine how long some of them activities took! The boys would have a bachelors hut. There was no lampshades, the basins in the room just had a bucket under and they were like hospital beds in the rooms.
Pam: “Mark Brewer is wonderful and just the zaniest man I have ever met. I remember him on the mic in the dining room and making us all laugh. There also used to be a pigsty with a big haystack next to it. They used to be fed any food leftovers and sometimes they would escape! Every year we would make friends. I have brought my own children and grandchildren since and they all love it too.”
Margaret: “I remember there was dressing rooms by the stage and Brian Potter cried because I dressed-up as the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. Apparently, he had recently seen one at the zoo and he was only four and I think I scared him! It was so much fun for a child at Potters and Brian always said it was like growing up in paradise. I remember that a man called Neville would bring his giant Wurlitzer organ to Potters and would ask for six strong men or one strong woman to help bring it in!”
What was the food like?
Margaret: “Well, I was a similar age to Brian Potter and we would go in his granddad’s garden and eat raspberries and berries until we had a stomach ache! Potters was like a magic land for a child and we would eat things like pineapple and bananas, which were things we never had at home and had never tried before and they were exotic food at the time. It wasn’t long after the Second World War when we first visited. There used to be four meals a day, and the fourth meal was cakes and sandwiches in the afternoon. I remember the chef was called Jim and he cooked bacon in the oven, and that’s something we still do.”