REVIEW: Charming caravan e-book offers a glimpse into 1930s touring habits
A Caravan Holiday in 1932 is a great read for nostalgic caravanners
Tuesday, 15, May 2012 09:49
by Maeve O'Donnell
A Caravan Holiday in 1932: A trip down memory lane on two wheels is a great little book for anyone that has ever been on a caravan holiday in recent or far gone years. The book is based around Len Smith's diary of a trip taken with his wife and two friends in the summer of 1932 and tells of their travels across the country.
Len Smith was an illustrator, both commercially and during the war, and the illustrations he uses to decorate his diary entries are a great addition to the story.
Setting off on August 27th from Woodford, Len and his fellow caravanners make their way through Alysbury, Gloucester, the Forest of Dean, Weston Super Mare and Lyme Regis, pitching up on various farmers and getting to know the locals.
A very detailed account of each meal is provided, because as Len points out "this is real", unlike a story where people are never shown to eat. Or perhaps Len is just showing where his priorities lay on the trip.
Unfortunately their summer trip is cut short when one of Len's friends falls ill: "With good health and good weather a caravan holiday is marvellous. When illness comes and it's wicked weather.well."
Despite this, it is clear the group have enjoyed their time caravanning and this book is a really great insight into the simple pleasures of a caravan holiday, as experienced 80 years ago.
The backdrop of this diary is interwar Britain, a surprisingly good time for the caravan industry.
The 1930s saw the production of caravans double and in just ten years the trade went from quirky and pricey to a popular way to escape the "grim realities of interwar Britain". The outbreak of the Second World War did halt production but by that time caravans had established themselves as a popular way to holiday.
The diary is supplemented with drawings, recipes and the occasional advert from the time, as well as the short history of caravanning which all together make the perfect piece of nostalgia for anyone who has ever stayed in a caravan.
A Caravan Holiday in 1932 is available as an e-book from the Amazon store for £4.99. To find out more, click here.