End of the road for caravan that inspired a lifestyle

Published: October 31, 2013
The Wanderer caravan in UK

The world’s first ‘pleasure-only’ caravan has taken its final journey.

The Wanderer – which can justifiably be described as the inspiration behind the grey nomad lifestyle – was made in the UK 1884. After years of being kept in storage and taken out only occasionally it has reached the end of the proverbial road. It will now be housed at the British Caravan Club HQ in the Costwolds, England.

The legendary vehicle has travelled tens of thousands of kilometres in its lifetime, blazing the way for a lifestyle revolution that has reverberated throughout the world.

Weighing two tonnes and measuring 30 feet

Caravan  reaches end of the road

Early caravan travel was hard yakka!

in length, the caravan was built by Bristol Wagon Works Company for Dr William Gordon Stables, who became known as the ‘Gentleman Gypsy’. It is made from mahogany and maple wood, and painted black and gold. It boasts a bookcase, china cabinet and musical instruments in its stunning interior.

The caravan can be pulled by two horses and first went on tour in 1885, and was last used in 1960.

The “shed on wheels” was pulled by two horses named Captain Corn-flower and Polly Pea-blossom as Dr Stables travelled away on his holidays.

An extraordinary sight in its day, Dr Stables had to employ a valet to cycle ahead and clear the roads, warning road users it was coming.

The vehicle will now be placed on display at the Caravan Club HQ.

“It’s great for historians and enthusiasts to see this unique vehicle which was the first ever custom-built for leisure caravan,” said Beverley Larion from the Caravan Club.

The caravan was inspired by traditional horse-drawn Romany wagons and it was restored in the decade running up to the Caravan Club’s centenary in 2007. Comment below

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8 years ago

That is a masterpiece. Beautiful story.

Shirley (nee) Gordon-Stables
7 years ago
Reply to  Gypsy

yes it is a masterpiece and I’m proud to know my Great Grandfather was such an amazing gentleman. My sister and myself are heading over to Scotland to follow his journey and hopefully meet some relatives and of course visit The Wanderer.


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