A Palace on Wheels
Extract from the Introduction:
"Within the world of Fair Folks the words van, wagon and,
more recently, trailer refer to what lay people call caravans. The terms living carriage
and Pullman saloon were equal but tended to mean more opulent types.
|The phrases "a palace on wheels" and
"best on the road" were greatly over-used in sale adverts but serve to emphasise
to us today the immense pride that the owners had in their mobile homes. There was every
justification because the interiors were indeed sights and comforts to enjoy and must
surely have only escaped photographic reproduction in coffee table books by virtue of the
intense liking of privacy that the showfolk defended.
All writers agree that showfolk were the
originators of the modern type of caravan. How curious that those scribes have chosen to
set aside fair vans in their narratives and instead focus on the dwellings of gypsies.
This present volume aims to fill the shameful gap. It provides both a chronicle of the
rise and development of showland vans and some historical notes on the makers. Caravans,
showfolk and pleasure fair attractions all grew in common development. It will be seen
that the vans were business tackle combined with living space for over a hundred years.
Only since World War One has it become normal for showfolk to own a wagon specifically
devoted to living accommodation."
This book is now regarded as the definitive work
on the subject. An important historical publication.