The Ellis family caravan
Stanley Ellis used a Berkeley Courier de Luxe caravan when researching across the country in 1952. His wife and son accompanied him on his fieldwork, so a caravan that suited their requirements was best. Originally, a small car was pulling the caravan – a 1936 Vauxhall 14 – but Ellis asked for, and eventually received, a more powerful Land Rover.
In this audio clip Stanley Ellis’s son Martin describes the logistics of his parents’ lives in the caravan where he spent the first four years of his life.
Transcript: They lived in this caravan for I think six years. And I was born in 1955 and lived in it for the first four years of my life. So they would just go to farmers and see if they could find somewhere to stop. And they were often reluctant and then my dad would say ‘Ah, but we have an electric fence’ and at that point the farmer would go ‘Oh right okay, then you can go in a field where there’s some livestock and put your electric fence around yourself and then it’ll you know be alright’. And my mum used to sort of come out with her wellies on and put up a washing line or something. And they also had a 12-volt washing machine, which for the 50s must have been really something the caravan had a coke stove so they were really quite warm. I think they were actually warmer in the caravan than most people were living in their houses in those days!