Tewksbury Abbey Caravan and Motorhome Club site.

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Tewksbury Abbey CAMC site is a gem – particularly if you are a motorhome owner as it is barely 400 metres from the town centre. It has recently undergone a big upgrade, has gold standard WiFi, good TV coverage and is of course famous for winning the Sites in Bloom award year after year. A warm welcome from the wardens in the new reception office is assured.

Tewksbury is a small market town and the enormous abbey is the main attraction. Only slightly behind on the list of attractions is the prawn cocktail in My Great Grandfather’s Restaurant and the cream tea in The Abbey Tearooms.

All very enjoyable!

Christopher Macgowan

#motorhomenews

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Upwell, Norfolk. pop 2500.

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The village of Upwell in Norfolk is well worth stopping at and having a mooch round. Unless you have a decent map onboard you’re hard pressed to know whether you are in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Lincolnshire. Over the years it has had its local authority boundary changed several times. It is intersected by the River Nene, has a pub, a cafe and butchers – and more besides.

I was staying on a nearby and outstanding CAMC CL at the Bluebell Inn in Whaplode St Catherines which is definitely in Lincolnshire.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

The Big Little Tent Festival.

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As with many other organisations in the tourism industry, the Caravan and Motorhome Club is always finding ways to engage with young people, young families and those who one day will take up tenting or owning a caravan or motorhome.

The Big Little Tent Festival is such an initiative. As an existing motorhome owner subscribing to this blog, you do not require persuasion. Like me, you know what fun it is! But do take a look at the video if only to admire the highly unusual venue!

Click HERE or insert link below into your browser.

https://vimeo.com/onsightuk/review/281481620/00800a2fa7

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Knaresborough CAMC site full to bursting.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly due to the weather and coupled with The Wanderer on site bar and bistro, the Knaresborough Caravan and Motorhome Club site was packed.

Had a lovely weekend there and despite being full the wardens manage to present an immaculate site with that special Club “ordered calmness” which is such a distinctive and unique feature.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Black Knowl CAMC site and William the Conqueror.

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I was staying at Black Knowl this week.

It has recently received a massive upgrade, has 127 pitches and is located in Hampshire in the midst of the ancient royal hunting forest of William the Conqueror. Hugely popular with people who want to get away from it all and who want to use the 140 miles of nearby track for walking or cycling.

It also offers a car charging point – is this the future?

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

The Caravan Club and the Suffrage Movement.

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The Caravan Club was formed of one third of women members before the First World War.

SOURCE: Angela Willis – Curator, Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection.

In 1907 The Caravan Club of Great Britain and Ireland was formed (today known as the Caravan and Motorhome Club), with an aim to represent the interests of the rapidly growing number of horse-drawn leisure caravanners. Unlike the many clubs of the Edwardian era which only admitted men, this modern and progressive organisation was made up of around one third of female members in the years before the First World War.

An extract from The Caravan Club’s 1913 list of members.

The formative years of The Caravan Club coincided with the growing momentum of the suffrage campaign which sought to gain equal voting rights for women. I have been keen to discover whether suffragists (those who campaigned using peaceful methods such as lobbying) or even suffragettes (who used militant and often unlawful campaign tactics) sat among the third of women listed in the ranks of the Club. As pioneering leisure caravanners these women broke social moulds, they often toured the country in female-only parties and enjoyed outdoor pursuits more traditionally reserved for men. Surely it would stand to reason that some would be involved in the most significant political movement of a generation?

At the Club’s Collection of historic material held here at the National Motor Museum, there are two hugely significant documents which have been key to unlocking the stories of our early Club members. Two printed lists from 1910 and 1913 contain the names and addresses of each member including writers, artists, eminent surgeons and heroes of the First World War. I recently set about uncovering if supporters of the suffrage movement also sat among them and I made several fascinating discoveries.

A WSPU Hunger Strike Medal presented to Louise Lilley. Courtesy of the Museum of London.

The most remarkable story springs from a listing for Miss Louise Lilley of Holland House, Clacton-on-Sea which appeared in The Caravan Club’s 1913 List of Members. Daughter of co-owner of the Lilley and Skinner shoe brand, Louise was Secretary of the Clacton branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and was therefore a ‘suffragette’. As such, she was to become central to the militant campaign tactics promoted by the founders of the organisation Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters. On the 9th March 1912 Louise, along with her sister Kate, appeared in court at Bow Street charged with breaking windows at the War Office – one of many similar attacks which took place on the same night. The hearing was reported in Votes for Women, the official organ of the WSPU, the following week:

‘Miss Kate Lilley and Louise were charged with breaking windows at the war office, and a constable produced some flint stones as big as a man’s fist. Counsel for the defence stated that his clients were the daughters of a well-known Essex gentleman, and they felt they had a deep grievance against the government. Defendants were each sentenced to two months hard labour.’

Imprisoned in Holloway, like many other suffragette prisoners they suffered a short period of hunger strike as a protest that they were not being treated as political prisoners. On their release the sisters were presented with a Holloway brooch and hunger strike medal from the WSPU, with their homecoming being reported in the Chelmsford Chronicle: ‘A big crowd has assembled, and the appearance of the Misses Lilley, who looked none the worse for their novel experience, was greeted with loud cheers’.

Caravan Club member and suffrage campaigner Lady Denman. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

In contrast to the exploits of Miss Lilley, fellow Club member Lady Denman of Balcombe Place in Sussex belonged to a group of suffrage supporters who were deeply opposed to the increasing militancy of the WSPU. In 1908 the young Lady Denman was elected to the Executive of the Women’s Liberal Federation who took a constitutional approach to campaigning. They were shocked at the WSPU’s tactics of targeting Liberal politicians, including keen anti-suffragist Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, yet they worked tirelessly to promote the cause for voting equality amongst their own party.

However, Lady Denman’s involvement with the campaign ended abruptly when in 1911 her husband was called to become Government-General of Australia, a country which has granted votes for women nine years earlier. Although her role in the British suffrage campaign was cut short she later returned to the UK and in 1917 was elected as the first Chairman of the newly formed National Federation of Women’s Institutes for which she is best known.

Research has also uncovered Caravan Club members who took active roles in local branches of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), another non-militant organisation headed by Millicent Garrett Fawcett. These include suffragist Miss Susan ‘Susie’ Hardy who became Secretary of the Salisbury branch of the NUWSS when it was founded in 1909. Also, Miss Amy Sharp, Chairman of the Ambleside and District NUWSS branch who achieved great success in gaining support for the cause in her area.

I was delighted to uncover these women’s stories and discover that both suffragettes and suffragists formed the ranks of The Caravan Club. Despite these women representing different organisations with varying opinions on how the vote should be won, all worked to achieve the equality at the polling station which we enjoy today.

Throughout 2018 the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection will be commemorating 100 years of votes for women by exploring the theme of the caravan and the Suffrage campaign in a series of blogs. Keep up to date with the Collection on Twitter @CAMCCollection

Sources:

Crawford, E. 1999. The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928. London: University College London Press.

Huxley, G. 1961. Lady Denman. London: Chatto and Windus.

Stone, J.H. 1913. Caravanning & Camping Out. London: Herbert Jenkins.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Note: This research was carried out by Angela Willis who is the Curator of the Caravan and Motorhome Club collection at Beaulieu. The Club has a display stand within the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu where many items of historical interest are on show.

The Alpine tour continues at Lake Konigssee.

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The Bavarian Alpine trip continues to amaze and Lake Konigssee is stunning. It is a natural lake near Berchtesgaden and it lays claim to being Germany’s deepest and cleanest lake.

I am flip flopping continually between Austria and Germany and mostly the temperatures are between 25 and 29 degrees. Loving every minute!

When I started the relationship between myself and my AutoSleeper motorhome Myrtle some fifteen years ago I spent a lot of time in France because, as we all know, it is arguably Continental Europe’s most motorhome friendly country. Whilst that is still the case, I notice I am spending more and more time in Germany. Everything works here; the roads and the transport infrastructure, there are far fewer sites of course but they are mostly of a high or very high standard. It’s all very easy.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

The Bavarian Adventure continues.

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I continue to be enthralled by my Alpine tour between Lindau and Salzburg. The scenery is beyond delightful and the standard of the sites for motorhomes is exceptional. Totally enjoyable.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews