So spring has finally sprung and that means exciting times at Allens Caravans! Not only does spring signal the start of a busy season at our parks, it also means we can start getting ready for our Park and Leisure Show. Year on year Allens Park and Leisure Show attracts more and more visitors, all looking to have fun whilst learning about caravans and park homes. Some might be interested in finding out more about caravan holidays; others may be hoping to find the perfect luxury log cabin and some visitors may just be in the market for a good day out where they can appreciate the history, development and craftsmanship of caravans. Whoever comes to the show, and whatever their reasons are for visiting, we look forward to seeing them - and hopefully that means we look forward to seeing you too!
Set in the ever beautiful grounds of Wootton Hall between 12th - 27th April, this year's show will boast more than twenty different holiday caravans, twin holiday lodges and twin residential park homes for people to peruse and admire. On top of that, we are holding a fun-filled Family Fete on Easter Sunday which will include all sorts of activities from a climbing wall and tea dance to a giant Easter egg hunt!
Another popular feature of the Allens Park and Leisure Show is how we always have historical models on display. This year we are looking forward to sharing models from the 1930s and the 1970s with attendees; caravans with real character. In honour of these historical models and those that came before and between them, we thought we would give you a quick rundown of the last century's caravans, decade by decade from the 1920s to the 1970s. Here they are:
During World War I the lack of horses at home opened up the market for motorised caravans. Eccles Motor Transport was the first to build a basic motorhome on a truck chassis and they developed their concept once the war was over. By the 1920s they had sold both a caravan and a motorhome, having more success throughout the decade with various caravan models (including showman's vans and mobile offices). Other manufacturers emerged, some of which - like Winchester - are still prominent names in the industry today. By the end of the 1920s the modern caravan was born, complete with an established industry that produced and sold everything from the caravan itself to the accessories for it.
With developments in technology throughout the 1930s, caravans changed from a bespoke novelty to a modern, mass produced commodity. It became popular with the middle classes and more affordable for all. The shape became less boxy, more aerodynamic and ultimately more attractive whilst luxuries like radios, showers and baths were incorporated into designs. The growth of the caravanning industry itself saw import and export of caravans increase until the start of European conflicts which put a halt on holidaying and further developments until after World War II.
After World War II mass production really took off and changed the face of the caravanning industry. Eccles Enterprise continued to lead the way as a rich company following their wartime profits. They were able to invest in better production facilities and provided mid and low priced caravans to the mass market, making the caravan a key part of British life for people of all classes. The fact that cars were becoming more commonplace for families, as were opportunities for family holidays to the coast and as such, caravans were a popular choice for those who wanted a little bit of affordable luxury and leisure.
The 1950s saw a real explosion in the caravan industry, with all sorts of new shapes and designs appearing on the market and many different sites opening across the UK. New production methods and higher demand meant people were more experimental with caravans which were now seen as a fun, fashionable luxury. The Sprite brand appeared in the 1950s and changed the game as far as industry competition was concerned. Several other big names and inventive models appeared whilst the Caravan Club grew in membership numbers and prominence. The cultural focus on family life and leisure time ensured that there was no threat of the caravan's popularity declining in the 1950s.
As far as caravans were concerned, the Swinging 60s were an exciting time! This is when touring caravans started taking the shape we are familiar with today. Car ownership increased greatly and people had more disposable income as well as more free time, so caravans had another boost on the market. Caravans had gone worldwide, with brands like Gypsy being well established in South Africa and Wilk in Germany. Swift and Elddis were born in the 1960s too and caravan parks equipped with showers, shops and toilet blocks meant caravan holidays became destination holidays rather than road trips.
The beginning of the 1970s was strong with caravan production exceeding 70,000 units and many of these units being used for export. Rising demand saw many companies expand in order to meet production and sales targets set by the public passion for caravan holidays. However, with the addition of VAT to touring caravans and motorhomes, as well as a sharp rise in inflation, the caravan industry declined gradually, opening the market to other countries and models they could import cheaply. The caravan stayed a favourite in terms of holidays but its boom had passed and people were looking for different ways to rebuild and expand the caravan industry by the time the 1980s rolled around; cue the emergence of park homes, static caravans and the affordable holidays they offered.
Now you know a little bit more about the development of the modern caravan, which took place in just half a century, you can start getting to know more about caravans today. Whether you fancy a touring caravan of your own or you just want to get stuck in and start enjoying luxury caravan holidays, Allens can help. So please, get in touch with any questions or queries you may have and put the Allens Park and Leisure Show in your diary - we hope to see you there!