Sunday, 5 October 2014

Reminiscing - Wargames Holíday Centre 1986

In 1986, on my first visit to the UK and Europe, I spent a week at Peter Gilder's Wargames Holiday Centre. Just the other day I was cleaning up some old photos and I found the shots I had taken during that week 29 years ago. All of the pictures were seriously under exposed, but I scanned them and did a bit of PhotoShop work to try an clean them up. They brought back a whole batch of memories about that week and inspired this post.

Memories are a little hazy now, but I remember arriving in Scarborough on the afternoon of the Sunday and meeting up with the other attendees at dinner. I can recall most of the people there. There was one older chap, called Bob, a young chap from Bradford, three blokes from London and two others. After dinner Peter Gilder met us and we all drove in the Centre's minibus to the holiday centre, where for the  first time I saw the setup that I had seen many times in the Miniature Wargames magazine.

The games room was in a long rectangular building with two tables 27 feet long by 6 feet wide, and separated by a gap of 3 feet. Against one wall was another table, 3 feet wide, that could be used as troop assembly area, or for off table manoeuvring. After getting to know our host and the gaming facilities we were given the keys to the minibus and went back to the hotel in Scarborough. That minibus  became our self-drive transport for the week.

There were four games played. The first was a Napoleonic, followed by (not necessarily in order) Pony Wars and the Italian Wars. The last two days were a refight of Austerlitz, played across two tables and involving some 5,000 figures.

The Italian Wars game

The Pony Wars Game

The Napoleonic Games (the final three images are the Austerlitz game)


  1. Wonderful post and takes me back to my visit back in the early 2000's long after Peter had passed on. Great to see your photos and read our accounts.

    1. Thank you Carlo. It was all such a long time ago now, but some parts of it I remember with great clarity. Peter was one of those genuine people who made you instantly feel at ease. If you look closely in the seventh picture from the top right hand corner, at the back of the room, chatting with one of the other gamers - it is rather grainy but you can make him out.