A 128 year old 30 foot mahogany and maple wood mobile home has recently made its final journey in the UK.
Also known as ‘The Wanderer’, it was the first caravan to be made purely for the pleasure of travelling across the country. Its original owner, Dr. William Stables, created the black and gold custom caravan in 1884 in order to live like a “gentleman gypsy”. Weighing two tonnes, the vehicle had to be pulled by his two horses, which he named Captain Corn-flower and Polly Pea-blossom.
For the benefit of himself and his acquaintances whilst travelling, the caravan boasted a bookcase and plenty of musical instruments to entertain themselves. It also contained a personal washroom, paraffin oven, ornate furniture and velvet upholstery to provide a truly deluxe experience whilst on any of his luxury caravan holidays across the country.
Due to its massive size and unconventional design, Stables would order a valet to cycle ahead to warn villagers and road users that it was coming. Not all villagers were happy about this however, as some would pelt the caravan with stones as it passed.
Whilst still fully operational, the historic caravan has been laid to rest due to concerns over preserving its craftsmanship, in the hope that it would now become a museum piece for others to admire.
The Wanderer’s last public appearance was in 2007, where it took centre stage at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Caravan Club’s 100 year anniversary, with Prince Phillip being the club’s official patron.
Five years ago another historic caravan was laid to rest in Llangoleen, Denbighshire having been first created in 1908. Designed to be pulled by car rather than horse, the wooden caravan was built by Mr A.W. Haslam, an amateur artist who used the holiday home for short breaks in the UK, travelling with his family to paint pictures of the countryside. Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2008, it became a major piece of British motoring history as it went against the notion that it was only after 1915 that caravans started to become built for motor vehicles, an idea which used to be believed by many prominent modern historians.