Unusual Motorhomes

Motorhome and caravan history: how it all began?

The Wanderer caravan 1885
The Wanderer caravan was the first purpose-built leisure caravan. Pictured here on its maiden voyage in 1885.

The popularity of caravans and motorhomes exploded in the 1960s, as car and van ownership became more affordable and widespread and people developed an appetite for mobile camping.

The caravan, of course, was not a new invention. Gypsies and other travelling people had been using them sinc the days of horsepower. It seems that the Victorians were quite keen, too.

According to the Caravan Club, the world’s first purpose-built leisure caravan, The Wanderer, took to the road 130 years ago, in June 1885.

Owned by popular Victorian Author, Dr William Gordon Stables, The Wanderer caravan travelled 1,400 miles during the Summer of 1885. It was towed by two horses from Twyford in Berkshire to Inverness, from where the caravan returned to London by rail before continuing its journey along the South Coast, reaching as far as Lymington in the New Forest.

Setting up camp in The Wanderer
Here we see the The Wanderer setting up camp, alongside a classic ridge tent.

This incredible caravan was bequeathed to The Caravan Club by the daughter of Dr William Gordon Stables in the 1960s, and can now be viewed by members staying at the Club Site at Broadway, Worcestershire, where it is on permanent display.

If you’re interested in classic caravans, I’d suggest following the Caravan Club Curator @TheCCCollection on Twitter.