Gypsies were seen as leading romantic nomadic lifestyles, despite the fact it was really quite the opposite. But their caravans, brightly painted and comfortable, gave one man an idea.
In 1867 "the Wanderer" was to become the first leisure caravan.
Dr Gordon Stables retired from the Navy in the 1860’s and attracted to this lifestyle of gypsy travel. He commissioned a wagon maker to construct a gypsy style caravan. But Stables decided he also needed to take a valet with him - who slept in a tent. Stables went many miles in his horse drawn caravan, the Wanderer, which is still in existence today.
One of these early caravanners was Harris J Stone. In 1907 he managed to get a group of people together and formed a club – The Caravan Club was born.Most of the rich early caravanners took their servants with them. Having the same experience as the gypsies, but with the comforts of home. Beds, stoves, plus storage and writing cabinets were found in these new, horse drawn caravans. This new style of holidaying was seen by some as very odd and beneath a gentleman. These early caravan users were often shunned and it took many years before they would become accepted.
When cars became more popular, there were several articles written by the caravaner's on the motor carriage. One horse drawn caravanner advised other users to look out for cars hurtling around the country lanes. He wrote " car drivers created foul air and dust with their vehicles and by rushing around so much, missed their surroundings and caused such a nuisance. The caravan user was certainly in no rush and could get where car users couldn’t. "
However, ironically, the car had already sealed the horse's fate.
By the early 1900s the rich were taking to this gypsy lifestyle
One of the very early horse drawn wagons