A brief history of the Eccles Caravan Owners Club.
The Eccles Caravan Owners Club is one of the oldest surviving single brand owners clubs
with its roots going back to the 1930's, the early days of caravanning. The Eccles marque
is one of the oldest and most respected in the business, with a real history, its products being
owned and used by many a famous name
The first production of 50 units from the Eccles
factory in Birmingham is believed to have commenced in 1919, and is chronicled as the first
"conventional" caravan designed to be towed by a normal car, using a towbar and single axle.
Sometime between the First and Second World Wars, an "Eccles Caravan Owners Club" was known to have
been in existence, however little or no information survives from this period. If you have any knowledge or information
about the club during that time, then please let us know and we will add it to this archive.
We'll be pleased to hear
In March 1969, a GOLDEN JUBILEE Rally was held at Newmarket, not too far from the then Eccles factory.
There, during the weekend, and mainly initiated by the factory, there was interest in re-forming an "Eccles Caravan Owners
Club". This was followed in September of that same year with an Inaugural Rally held at the July Racecourse at Newmarket.
At this meeting it was decided to format the club with a Central Committee and four regional areas, Northern,
South East, South West, and a Scottish region. The regions adopted emblems; the North used the Snail, nowadays used by the
Motor Caravanners Club, (no connection) the South East adopted a Pink Elephant, whilst the South west used a Sou'wester,
but subsequently changed to a Cockerel, as used to-day by the Eccles Caravan Owners Club. We don't have any record of an
emblem used by the Scottish region.
The Eccles Caravans Owners Club was given excellent support during it's formative years by Derek Gibbon
of Caravans International (later to become CI Caravans). Derek was the National Committee Secretary for the Club,
and provided the much-needed and all-important contact between the factory and the Club. It is probably true to
say that without this help, the Club would perhaps never have got off the ground. Derek gave much of his time to the Club
for the 19 years until his sad death in December 1988.
Throughout the 1970's, the South East region supported a residential Children's Home at
Westoning, while the South West region helped at a similar home at Gyde House in Painswick when the National Children's
Homes organised their Bonfire Weekend. Two more National Rallies were held at Newmarket and then from 1972 onwards the
National Rallies rotated between the three surviving regions, (the Scottish Region having disbanded). Up until 1994 this
pattern continued with the National Rally reverting to Newmarket every fourth year.
Since 1996 the Eccles brand has
been owned and produced by the Swift Group whose valuable support we enjoy but they are not involved in the operation of the club.
In 2019 we celebrate 100 years of Eccles caravans. The present club was reformed in 1969 and therefore 2019 saw the double celebration of
100 years of Eccles caravans and 50 years of the Eccles Caravan Owners Club.
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