Monster Robot Latest Attraction at Butlins Skegness

Billy Butlin amazed the holidaymakers at Butlins Skegness camp in 1933 when he introduced his latest tourist attraction – a monster robot!


Butlin’s Amusement Park “Scoop.”
Alpha the Robot has arrived at Skegness! He is at present an inmate, of Butlin’s Super Amusement Park, and the other day (writes a witness) I eat as in a trance watching; the marvellous —I might use the word “uncanny” as being more suitable—performance of this truly astounding product of man’s ingenuity.

1933_SS 033-001

Alpha has been brought to Skegness through the co-operation of Mr. William E. Butlin and Professor H. May. the Robot’s inventor.
After expressing a wish to be introduced to Alpha, I was ushered into a spacious and well-lighted theatre situated near the popular Water Dodg’ems, and, along with about 80 other persons, took my seat in perfect silence as requested. There before me sat the strangest thing I have ever seen—a huge gleaming mass of metal in the shape of a man, who seemed to grin knowingly at his audience. I wonder if he guessed what I was thinking!
In a few seconds a demonstrator walked on to the stage and commanded the Robot to stand up. I rubbed my eyes in amazement. Could it be that the Robot was beginning to rise from his beat? I pinched myself, and when it hurt, I realised that I was fully awake!

The demonstrator ordered Alpha to go through several movements, including moving his arms separately and together, and turning his head; in fact, practically every movement a human being can make.
The Robot was then asked the time, and I nearly jumped out of my seat for, as the huge metallic lips of the figure opened a thundering voice replied: °3.30.” Consultation of my timepiece showed that Alpha was correct. It was 3.30 to the minute.

My eyes seemed to be glued to the marvellous shimmering metal-work of the uncanny monster, which reminded me of a medieval knight. I was brought out of my reverie by a gentleman sitting beside me asking the Robot what the weather was like. Back came the thundering reply: “Unsettled.” It was – and so was I!


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