Origins of the word caravan revealed by high court judge
Caravans have been around for over a hundred years
Thursday, 26, Jul 2012 11:24
by Jack Beresford
Attendees at a hearing in the Court of Appeal in London were treated to a fascinating tale of the humble origins of the caravan yesterday (July 24th), during a ruling on a planning dispute.
Bonnie Smith has been accused of breaching a court injunction which was meant to prohibit her from moving another caravan onto the site where she lives.
In delivering his judgment on the dispute, Lord Justice Rix was eager to note that the argument centred on the meaning of the word 'caravan' with Ms Smith claiming that the new structure only housed shower and toilet facilities.
The judge produced a footnote on the etymology of the word as part of his written statement.
"'Caravan' is derived from the Persian 'karwan', so that its first meaning is a company of merchants or pilgrims travelling together," he explained.
"In its origin at any rate a caravan could not come as a single unit, and it does not seem that there was any conception of the caravan being a place of abode.a 'caravanserai' is an Eastern inn with an inner court where caravans rest."
The court subsequently upheld the ruling, noting that the structure was not technically a caravan.