Celebrating the stories of two remarkable caravans and their owners

22/08/2022

The Goods Shed at Broadway Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite and HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Broadway Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite, situated on the edge of one of the loveliest of the Cotswolds golden-stone villages is home to two historic caravans.

The Goods Shed at Broadway Club Campsite was built in 1904 for the Great Western Railway (GWR). Today this historic building is home to the world’s first purpose-built leisure touring caravan, the Wanderer and the caravan owned by the Club’s former Patron, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The Club is celebrating the stories of these two caravans and their remarkable owners.

The seemingly normal 1993 Fleetwood Garland caravan was owned by HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It was purchased second-hand in 1998 by Prince Philip for use when competing in carriage driving events, a sport which he pioneered.

As the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Patron since 1952, Prince Philip had regularly attended Club campsites and events, reportedly exploring members’ caravans enthusiastically and assessing them for their practicality. After taking up the sport of carriage driving in 1973, caravans offered a private space for The Duke and his team to prepare and relax during competitions.

Originally built in 1993, the Fleetwood Garland contained the luxuries expected of a 1990’s caravan. Powered by gas and electric, it included a shower room with cassette toilet, a hot and cold-water system plus a kitchen fitted with hob, grill, oven and refrigerator. The Duke’s caravan was collected from Windsor Castle in 2018 and entered into the care of the Club.

The Goods Shed served Broadway Station and was built in 1904 for GWR.  The ‘Old Station, Broadway’, Club campsite was first featured in the 1981/82 Sites Directory.  In recent years, the Goods Shed, set on the Club campsite, has been restored and is now a haven for Club heritage. The Goods Shed features the two caravans and timelines of the history of the vehicles and their owners.  Before the current campsite reception was built, site visitors would drive through the Goods Shed to check-in.

Situated next to the Fleetwood caravan is the Wanderer, the world’s first purpose-built leisure touring caravan, commissioned by Dr William Gordon Stables and built in 1884/5.

Dr Gordon Stables was a retired Royal Naval Surgeon who had gained some celebrity as an author of adventure stories for boys, which drew on his own experiences at sea. He was a prominent pioneer of leisure caravanning and the first Vice-President of the Caravan Club (later renamed Caravan and Motorhome Club).

The first journey taken by Dr Gordon Stables was 1300 miles from his home in Twyford, Berkshire to Inverness in Scotland. The Doctor saw many parallels between a caravan and a boat, which is why The Wanderer is always fondly referred to as ‘she’ in the same way that a sea vessel would be.

The Doctor would regularly take to the road, clad in his striking Highland dress with a variety of pets and sometimes one of his children in tow. He often penned his latest novel or an article on the journey.

Nick Lomas, Director General of the Caravan and Motorhome Club said, “We are proud to be the custodians of these remarkable caravans. They  help to tell the stories of how leisure touring became popular and how a leisure vehicle can help satisfy the need for adventure while enjoying exercise and spending time outdoors. We are very pleased to have them in our care.  It is fitting that we preserve these items of such historical merit and share them with our members and campsite visitors to inspire future generations.”

For further information about the Caravan and Motorhome Club visit www.camc.com‚Äč

Notes to Editors:

About the Caravan and Motorhome Club

Champions of the great outdoors – from glamping to touring –  the Caravan and Motorhome Club represents the interests of around one million caravan, motorhome, campervan and trailer tent owners across the UK. Founded in 1907, the Caravan and Motorhome Club has a wealth of experience and prides itself on offering great value and high quality campsites for tourers and glampers. 

Caravan and Motorhome Club membership is just £56 per year and provides members with access to 2,700 quality campsites in the UK and overseas. The Club offers over 340 campsites across 16 countries in Europe including France, Spain and Italy amongst other destinations. Stays at these sites can be packaged with great ferry offers to create holidays that are protected by ABTA. The Club also offers a range of escorted and independent tours in Europe, Australasia, North America and Southern Africa, all of which are protected by ABTA. All members can take advantage of expert advice, overseas travel services, cover and insurance and exclusive member offers and discounts.

For further information about becoming a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, please visit www.camc.com or call 01342 318 813. 

About Experience Freedom

Experience Freedom from the Caravan and Motorhome Club provides glamping accommodation in some of the most beautiful locations in the UK. Experience Freedom offers a choice of glamping accommodation, motorhome hire and tent camping, all of which are available to non-members. Caravan and Motorhome Club members receive a 10% discount on glamping and up to 10% off motorhome hire plus a free Club bundle worth over £50. 

Experience Freedom is operated by the Caravan and Motorhome Club, a membership organisation with a wealth of experience in operating high quality campsites. To find out more, visit www.experiencefreedom.co.uk

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