Arthur Gardner built his first caravan in 1919, actually a motorhome built from a converted World War One ambulance.
He and his wife Joyce spent their honeymoon in the vehicle and quickly realised that it had commercial potential. Returning home to Southfields Manor in Cheltenham, Arthur set about designing a trailer caravan that could be towed behind the average family car, designing a completely new vehicle from scratch with its own chassis which was marketed by his new firm, the Cheltenham Caravan Company, from 1920 onwards.
As word spread and sales increased, he also set up an owner’s club and would encourage customers to attend regular camping events in the grounds surrounding the manor house where every opportunity was taken to obtain feedback from customers to identify any design faults or areas with room for improvement. As car ownership increased over the following years, the company went from strength to strength and Cheltenham caravans attracted a loyal customer base from countries across the globe, remaining in business right up until 1975.
Dating from 1968 according to its serial number, we are told that this Cheltenham Fawn caravan is “quite a solid old thing” with an interior which is mainly original, although it is missing a water pump and tap. There is an intriguing folding plywood modesty screen which provides some sort of privacy whilst using the en suite lavatory, although it is feared that folding it in the wrong sequence might leave you emulating the three old ladies from the once-popular children’s rhyme (younger readers should ask a grown up).
The caravan comes complete with a small selection of vintage seaside games and period cutlery in the storage cupboards and drawers and would look perfect behind the towbar-equipped gold Daimler V8 saloon elsewhere in this catalogue. Goodwood here we come!