Motorists Admire The Caravan 2006-11-02Posted by clype in Gizmo, Statistics.
Reviled by many drivers but adored by its fans, the humble caravan has been voted one of ‘Britain’s Top 20 Greatest Motoring Ideas’.
Enthusiasts have voted ‘the caravan’ as 19th best — beating even classic car clubs. The list is topped by ‘pneumatic rubber tyres’, which were both patented and perfected by Scots.
Other favourites in the survey include ‘cat’s eyes’, ‘split rear seats’, ‘self-cancelling indicators’ and ‘the Mini’.
The list also features inventions that make some drivers see red — such as ‘traffic lights’, ‘pedestrian crossings’ and ‘speed limits’. Safety equipment also features, such as ‘disc brakes’, ‘laminated windscreens’ and ‘bumpers’.
- The motoring writers Messrs. Giles Chapman and David Burgess-Wise compiled a shortlist with staff at ‘Auto Express Magazine’. This was then voted on by 2000 of the magazine’s readers.
According to ‘The National Caravan Council‘, the first leisure caravan, ‘The Wanderer’, was built in 1880 by ‘The Bristol Carriage Company’.
Nearly 40 years later, the Birmingham firm ‘Eccles Motor Transport’ spotted a gap in the market for a portable holiday home that could be towed by a car.
Its initial production run was just 50 caravans, which were single axle with a towbar. The same system is still in use nearly 90 years later.
- There are now some 500 000 towing caravans in the UK, and up to two million Britons take caravanning holidays each year.
‘The National Caravan Council‘ said the industry was worth more than 1 000 million GBP/year to the economy.
‘The Caravan Club’, which describes itself as Europe’s premier touring organisation, yesterday welcomed the survey. Ms.Fiona Bewers, the club’s spokesman, said:
‘We are, naturally, delighted that the caravan has now been officially recognised as a top motoring invention.
‘Our club now represents nearly a million members across the UK and they know that caravanning is the perfect way to explore our beautiful countryside, enjoy a whole range of outdoor pursuits and allow you to have the freedom to go where the mood takes you.’
However, their large size and sluggish nature on the roads have also earned caravans many enemies.
The TV presenter Mr.Jeremy Clarkson provoked a storm of complaints after lampooning caravanning on ‘The BBC’s Top Gear’ programme in 2006-07. He told viewers:
‘We proved there is no upside to caravanning and they clog up the roads. When we come to power, caravanning is going to be banned.’
Mr.Clarkson also described a caravan site in Dorset as a ‘concentration camp’. Mr.John Bates-Williams, a London barrister, disliked them so much he was reported to have founded ‘The Anti-Caravan Club’.
Mr.Mat Watson, of ‘Auto Express Magazine’ said:
‘Despite our car industry no longer being a global force, we Britons still have plenty to be proud of.
‘Without these UK inventions, the motoring world would be a whole lot less pleasurable, quite a bit more dangerous — and maybe not even exist at all.
‘Britain may be a small island, but when it comes to ground-breaking inventions and ideas; we are world leaders — and no-where more-so than in the field of motoring.’
- ‘At last – the caravan has arrived among UK’s top motoring ideas’, Alastair Dalton, The Scotsman, 2006-11-02 00:37 UTC