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Vardos of the United Kingdom
Picture Library 3

Gypsy caravans of the UK
Ref
Vardo History County
081

Dunton Reading

Partially built by Duntons of Reading and left unfinished when they closed down in 1922.  Froud, Rivers and Kernutt acquired the business and finished building her.  They added their own names to the hubcaps.

The waggon was discovered in a garden at Pershore before being bought by Hartlebury Museum in the 1960s and fully restored.

Special thanks to Sue and staff at Hartlebury Castle Musuem.

Pictures courtesy of Gill VS.

Hartlebury Castle
Museum
082

Esmeralda

Built in 1909 for William Ferguson (Gilderoy Gray), a member of the Gypsy Lore Society, and used by them during their excursions around Northern England and Wales.

The bowtop was named after Esmeralda Lock, a beautiful Gypsy girl who married Francis Hindes Groome (editor of the GLS Journal).

The waggon passed on to John Sampson (another GLS member) and thence to his son, Anthony.  He donated Esmeralda to Hartlebury Museum, where volunteer Ced Lewis spent 18 months renovating her.

Special thanks to Sue and staff at Hartlebury Castle Musuem.

Pictures courtesy of Gill VS.

Hartlebury Castle
Museum

083


H Jones Ledge Waggon (or Cottage Waggon)

Once owned by the Welsh Lock family, this wagon was discovered abandoned near the Shropshire town of Clun. The name of Yorkshire waggon builder Bill Wright can be found on the name board, however the maker was probably H. Jones & Son of Hereford, who were making wagons from 1870 to 1924.

Ledge waggons are so-named because of the vertical body being built out on ledges over the wheels. Another name is “cottage” waggon because of its shape. Like the reading, it is very ornate and rare today.

The ledge was not a lightweight affair and would have been horsed by a Gypsy vanner, a heavy type, not the light cob pony of  today.

Special thanks to Sue and staff at Hartlebury Castle Musuem.

Pictures courtesy of Gill VS.

Hartlebury Castle
Museum

084

Orton Spooner Showman

One of a matching pair this rare waggon is now in the USA more info to follow.

Pictures courtesy of J Pockett.

USA
085

A Rare Mollicroft Bowtop

A fine example of a unique and rare Mollicroft Bowtop, as you can see this particular waggon has a slightly longer body than average.   Mollicrofted Bowtops were often seen about in waggon times of old, like everything few have survived today.

Pictures courtesy of J Pockett.

UK

086

  

A miniature Dunton Ledge

beautifully detailed. We had to display this little fellow as it's such a fine model. This one is only 16" wide, 27" long and 22" high, and entry is by taking off the roof. Complete with steps and shafts, just needs the horse.

It took Richard 750 dedicated hours to make from scratch in 2005-06.  He says another waggon is already in the pipeline. Nice one!

Pictures courtesy of Richard.

Essex
087

   

Bill Wright Ledge waggon

with mollicroft roof and s ladder. Classic example finished in maroon, cream and goldleaf, heavily carved. Very special seahorse design in white and goldleaf on the doors.

Pictures: special thanks to Tom and Elizabeth.

Yorkshire
088

Bowtop

Window n door type which was originally built as an openlot 10/15 years ago. Once owned by a travelling family from Stowe, the waggon has recently seen Herefordshire and Shropshire. New home in Wales.

Beautifully decorated in green and cream, melting into the countryside.

Special thanks to John Pockett.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Wales
089

Bowtop

Window n door type - originally an openlot. On artillery wheels, the unders are 40/ 50 years old. Once belonged to a Romani family who told fortunes from the little wagon - their advertising boards were found inside. Now under decoration ready for a new location in Scotland.

Special thanks to John Pockett.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Shropshire
090

Bowtop

Originally an Openlot, built 10/15 years ago. Now decorated in maroon and cream paintwork, nicely balanced and not over-worked. Horse motif on sides and front painted by Maggie. Artillery wheels and curved steps. Recently seen Lancashire and Shropshire.

Picture courtesy of Rory Coxhill,
Suffolk Gypsy Caravan Holidays.

Suffolk
091

Half-sized Bowtop

From southern England. Now in Shropshire but recently kept in a garden, and before that owned by a Gypsy family. Brightly coloured in red and yellow, with a blue horseshoe and "good luck" on the kettlebox.

Special thanks to John Pockett.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Shropshire
092

Tong Ledge waggon
built by Thomas Tong of Bolton in 1898

spent much time in Suffolk and Norfolk. Lived in by a labourer on a farm, then sited in a garden. Acquired 12 years ago in Devon and moved to Shropshire. Striking deep red body paintwork with yellow under the porch, and gold leaf carvings decorating the front and sides - all original except for possibly the door.

Special thanks to John Pockett.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Shropshire
093

Showman/Burton - built by Brayshaws in Leeds

in the early 1920s, originally on wooden wheels. Lovely carved panels on front in cream and maroon. Settled in Shropshire for the last 15 years, but once sited at a guest house and was used by the daughter when all rooms were taken. Before that, travelled in by a hippy lady around Radnorshire.

Special thanks to John Pockett.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Shropshire
094

Historical Openlot Bowtop built and painted
by Jim Berry

John displays the vardo originally built and painted in Doncaster by the master vardo painter of his day Jim Berry in the late 60s/early 70s. Owned by the Nicholson Gypsy family in the early 70s in north east England, then passed through several hands until joining the William Lee Collection: his son's name "Ryan Lee, General Dealer" is painted on the cratch (hay-carrier). Horses' heads on the kettlebox, and luxurious interior.

Special thanks to John Pockett.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Shropshire
095

Bowtop

built in the Yorkshire style. Original underworks with more recent top. Main body stripped down to the timbers and awaiting body colour and decoration, which once completed should make for a really nice looking wagon. Acquired from Reading in 2006.

Special thanks to John Pockett.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Shropshire
096

Openlot - Bowtop

originally built in the 1960s, completely restored from the springs upwards. Sean spent over 4 years handcrafting and rebuilding the wagon. Finished in maroon and cream, with smart interior, complete with stove.

Pictures courtesy of Sean.

Kent
097

Burton waggon built by Herbert Varney

Photographed in the 1980s at a re-knowned waggon restorers/builders yard in Hampshire Later on painted green with red unders.

Picture courtesy of Don.

UK
098

Row of Bowtops

on the hillside at Appleby.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
099

Openlot - Bowtop

with harnesses adorning the shafts and luxurious interior.  This waggon invited you to sit in it to have your photograph taken.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
100

Openlot - Bowtop

rolling the grass, yoked up with its pony.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
101

Little and Large

Small Bowtop, alongside a full Bowtop grey primed and awaiting decoration. Both on wooden wheels.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
102

Bowtop

Primed Bowtop built on a trolley base and on artillery wheels.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
103

Unusual wooden panelled waggon

on artillery wheels - different. Could make an interesting painter's project.


Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
104

Openlot - Bowtop

green, traditional style with canvas capes and wooden wheels.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
105

Bowtop

Traditional green and cream Bowtop and small dray side by side and beautifully decorated.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
106

Half size Bowtop

nicely decorated in green, yellows and golds on wooden wheels.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
107

Bowtop

window and door type, decorated in shades of greens, curved steps. Top wagon!

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
108

Bowtop

Green Bowtop door and window type on artillery wheels.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Huddersfield
109

Openlot - Bowtop

trad green and cream on spoked wheels - capes drawn and lovely rounded steps.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
110

Bowtop

Red and cream Bowtop awaiting decoration, on wooden wheels. Should look great when completed.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
111

Openlot - Bowtop

with capes tied back, mustard with cream unders, very nicely decorated. With S ladder.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
112

Small Bowtop

heavily decorated in shades of green, with Shaw Bros on the side panels and cream underworks. Great example. Being steered onto the trailer ready for its journey home.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
113

Bowtop

on artillery wheels. Red top, cream underworks, door and window style, with an unusual Elizabethan paintwork effect on your eyes.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
114

Openlot - Bowtop

Red Openlot Bowtop loaded and waiting for its journey back home. This family vardo is often taken to Stow and Appleby. On wooden wheels and decorated with pink rose motifs on the sides.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
115

Bowtop

Green-based Bowtop waiting for decor, strapped down on to low loader for its safe return.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
116

Half Bowtop

grey primed door and window type on artillery wheels. Nice blank canvas ready for some rich colours and curlicues.

Picture courtesy of Gill VS.

Appleby
117

Bowtop - original Openlot

around 70 yrs old, built on top of an original Bradford dray. Been in the family for 3 generations, passed down from grandfather to father to son. Lovely example.

Picture courtesy of Dave Moore.

Leicester
118

Gordon Boswell Romany Museum.

Various waggons at Gordon Boswell's Romany Museum at Spalding, Lincolnshire. Gordon has a wide selection of Romany waggons and traditional Gypsy artefacts, including one of the oldest Gypsy vans in existence today.

More on Gordon's Museum :-

http://www.boswell-romany-museum.com/museumViews.htm

Pictures courtesy of  Gordon Boswell.

Lincolnshire
119

The Dartford Dolly 

This is a lovely full size living Bowtop wagon. Underworks consist of a 5 foot bow lock, fiddleheads throughout and iron-rimmed wheels. Matching swan steps included.

Original carriage lamps. This wagon has been lavishly decorated inside and out, roughly 200 books of 24 carat goldleaf having been used.

Inside are brilliant cut glass mirrors with baskets of flowers. All the upholstery are matching in creams and golds and have been professionaly made, with a new fitted Wilton carpet on the floor.

Stunning paint work by professional vardo painter Geoff Smith, taking two years to complete.

Pictures courtesy of  Tom.

Kent
120

Kite Waggon in the "Reading" style

Circa 1890s/early 1900s. Fully restored in 1989 to a high standard with swan neck steps and carved wheel-design porch brackets. This wagon is unusually decorated in yellow and black, plus crimson shutters/doors with blue carvings. A fairytale example.

Pictures: special thanks to Malcolm.

 

Berkshire
 
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