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130 years back: World's first caravanner

2015-06-17 12:24

TRACKING BACK: Modern caravans have come a long way since William Gordon Stables' Wanderer first took to the road in 1885. Image: Newspress


A dashcam captured a driver's botched attempt at overtaking a truck in Glastonbury, England. Reckless behavior resulted in a crash and his caravan being destroyed!

LONDON, England - June 2015 takes us to 130 years since the world’s first purpose-built leisure touring caravan, The Wanderer, took to the roads.

Twitter followers of The Caravan Club Collection, based at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England, will be able to retrace the route of The Wanderer online over the northern summer months by following the account online.


Owned by popular Victorian author William Gordon Stables, The Wanderer caravan travelled about 2250km during the northern summer of 1885. It was towed by two horses from Twyford in Berkshire to Inverness in northern Scotland, from where the caravan returned to London by rail before continuing its journey along the south coast of England, reaching as far as Lymington in the New Forest in Hampshire, UK.

READ IT: Read Stables' story online

Highlights of this pioneering journey will be shared via The Caravan Club Collection’s Twitter account along with accompanying blogs. Details of the tour will be taken from Stables’ account of his travels in his book The Cruise of the Land Yacht Wanderer, along with photographs and illustrations of the caravan which are on public display for the first time.

This incredible caravan was bequeathed to The Caravan Club by Stables' daughter in the 1960's and can now be viewed by members staying at the club's site at Broadway, Worcestershire - south central England, where it is on permanent display.

Nick Lomas, director general of The Caravan Club, said: “William Gordon Stables was a true adventurer with a pioneering spirit and a genuine appreciation of the great outdoors and the benefits the natural world brings to mind and body.

"For many club members this is still the essence of touring caravaning and the freedom that goes with it, so we are delighted to mark this anniversary and inspire others with that same spirit of adventure.”

According to the National Motor Musuem Stables travelled with his family. He had a valet named Foley - seen seated at tent in the image below - who cycled ahead of the caravan to clear the road. There was also John the coachman who tended the two horses which pulled the two-tonne carriage. The horses were named Captain Corn-flower and Polly Pea-blossom.

Visit the musuem website for a cool, interactive image of the Wanderer and read more about this cool mode of transport.

To keep up to date with this celebration of The Wanderer’s first journey, follow The Caravan Club Collection on Twitter @TheCCCollection or through the hashtag #Wanderer130.

TRAVELLING AT LEISURE: The Wanderer, the world's first leisure touring caravan, first took to the roads in June 1885. View the interactive image. Image: Caravan Club

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