If you’ve been following the news about caravans as closely as we have here at Ferguson, or even just speaking to fellow caravan enthusiasts, you may be aware that the very concept of the caravan hits a significant milestone this year. Yep: as of 2019, it is 100 years since the first caravan was towed by a car.
The first caravan TV was of course black-and-white, probably unreliable with a grainy nightmare picture, but like the caravan itself, it has evolved almost beyond recognition since those early days
From ‘trailers’ for the aristocracy, to today’s super-sophisticated tourers
Some of you reading this may insist that the invention of the caravan as we now know it far predates the 1910s – and it’s true that, some three decades earlier, aristocrats were already beginning to adapt crude trailers for recreational purposes.
But it was Eccles Motor Transport of Birmingham that saw the opportunity to produce the first automobile-pulled caravan in 1919, at a time when Britain was trying to forget the traumas of the First World War.
The result of the company’s efforts measured nine feet long by five feet seven inches wide, and incorporated two berths, a Primus stove and a wardrobe – all for £100, which is just over £5,000 in today’s money.
A British success story – then and now
Developments to the caravan came thick and fast and British families embraced the holidaying convenience that it offered to the point that it eventually became as much a national staple as fish and chips. Whereas the Camping and Caravanning Club, for instance, had 755 members at the start of 1919, a century later, those numbers have now reached about 730,000.
However, the caravan hasn’t always remained universally popular down the decades, and certain TV shows like Top Gear haven’t helped to reduce the snobbery that has sometimes greeted the caravan. But with so many of today’s caravans now almost resembling miniature hotels with all manner of comforts and technology, it’s fair to say that the venerable vehicle has seen an image turnaround in recent years.
In the words of holiday historian Andrew Jenkinson, as quoted by the Daily Mail: “Today’s caravans are a five-star experience… a few years ago, they tended to appeal mainly to older people… but now, lots of families are first-timers. Caravanning is enjoying a serious resurgence.”
While we’re on the subject of revivals…
Did you know that another old-time British favourite has been making a big comeback lately? Yep: the caravan TV and Ferguson, a great British brand with its own history dating back to the early 20th century, and which was triumphantly re-launched in 2017.
As our own extensive caravan TV range shows, 12v TVs have come a long way in their sophistication while offering more and more value for the price – much as can be said of the caravan itself.
So why not pick out your own new traveller TV online today, and start planning a rewarding caravan holiday that combines the best of caravaning’s traditional charms and modern opulence?