Friday 30 October 2009

Caravans and the countryside

The twentieth century countryside, and particularly its main roads in holiday time, would not be complete without the caravan. As far back as 1907, the Caravan Club was founded in London to bring together those with a common interest in caravanning - primarily the horse drawn version at that date - as a pastime. By the 1930s, when these 'Minic' clockwork toys were first introduced by Triang, the motor car and caravan was on its way to becoming part of the scenery. In our version, the caravan itself is still tinplate and the same as the original but the car has been upgraded to plastic, indicating a date of about 1950.

Caravan Club membership numbers of 1,300 in 1937 had risen to over 4,000 ten years later and in 1952 the Duke of Edinburgh became Patron. Nowadays, membership stands at over 350,000.

As numbers of caravanners grew, so did tensions between the freedom to enjoy the countryside and efforts to protect areas of scenic beauty. The aerial images below are of Leysdown in Kent in 1960 and Thornwick Bay in Yorkshire in 1966.

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