After 400 hours of work Roy completes his gypsy caravan dream

A RETIRED construction worker has spent the last three months fulfilling his dream of making a traditional gypsy caravan.

By Neil Fatkin
Saturday, 11th April 2020, 1:49 pm
Updated Sunday, 12th April 2020, 11:05 am
Roy and Carol Young alongside the replica of the gypsy caravan.
Roy and Carol Young alongside the replica of the gypsy caravan.

Roy Young, 69, from Warsash, spent more than 400 hours creating the ornate design including the painstaking process of carving the intricate decoration of the interior furniture.

‘I had always wanted to build a gypsy caravan and now that I’m retired my wife, Carol, told me to just go for it,’ he said. ‘I started just before Christmas after I bought a 1.5 tonne trailer. I built the design from a photograph I had of an old caravan in a book.

‘There are very few of these traditional caravans around today – most of them disappeared in the 1960’s.’

The interior of what a traditional gypsy caravan would have looked like.

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The caravan includes a traditional queenie stove, which would have been fuelled by kindling, back double bed and decorated cupboards.

Roy said: ‘A whole family would have lived in the caravan. Mum and dad would have slept in the main bed and there would have been a pull out mattress for the children. Lighting would have been from paraffin lamps and the pet dog would have slept in the porch area.

‘Beneath the porch was a cupboard which would generally be shaded and so was used as a larder.’

Roy’s interest in the traveller culture dates back to his childhood when as a 12-year-old boy he would work alongside the travelling community who were earning money harvesting the land.

‘They would basically travel around from county to county following the harvest. It’s a totally different way of life and a very close-knit community. There are so few caravans left as after members of the family died they would burn the caravan,’ he said.

It was an interest which led to Roy penning a book entitled The Adventures of Traveller Tim.

Roy said: ‘It’s about a young lad called Tim, whose mother dies and he ends up going out the road with his father.’

At three metres in length and two metres high, the replica is around half the size of the original model. After completing his ambition, Roy has no plans to spend his retirement on the road.

‘I’m going to put it up for sale but I would really like it to be purchased by a museum so that people can get to see what one of these traditional gypsy caravans were like,’ he said.

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