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Pathe Newsreels – Happy Camping!

Rain, tinned Goblin beef burgers, UHT milk and Carry On England being screened in the club house.

Those are my memories of caravan holidays during the 1970s, so it should come as no surprise that at least one holidaymaker was rumoured to have attempted a Steve McQueen style escape, albeit while riding a Honda PC50 moped.

At least these Pathe newsreels are reminders of more successful vacations…

Camper1

Scooter Tent 1959

It’s so simple even a woman can put it together – although as you can see they still get muddled at times!’ says Mr. Patronising Announcer, although the idea of a holiday in tent certainly appears jolly enough.

A fascinating reminder of the early days of British motor scootering.

Home on Wheels 1957

Or the fantastic Bedford CA motor caravan with Calthorpe coachwork owned by the great character actress Dora Bryan.

Not even the ever-condescending narrator proclaiming, ‘like a woman she is always forgetting something’ can detract from the charms of a camper with a portable bath situated by the steering column.

Collapsible Caravan 1961

I am almost tempted to say forget the collapsible caravan – just look at that phenomenally rare Austin A95 Westminster Countryman tow car!

Caravan Club 1954

Eammon Andrews tells of how intrepid British caravaners attend a camping weekend in Staffordshire to learn about the rigours of continental touring, from driving on the right-hand side of the road to strange road signs and, judging by the footage, how to wear an exciting assortment of hats.

Amphibious Caravan 1955

Included partially because the caravan is so ingenious but mainly because this Pathe short resembles a late-period Ealing Film, from the early post-war Vauxhall Fourteen-Six to the narrow country lanes and houses still free of television aerials.

Caravan Rally 1960

An absolute gem from the Pathe archives, not least for the cars; the Rover P4, the Humber Super Snipe, the Standard Vanguard Vignale, the Jaguar 2.4 Mk. 1, the Austin Seven Mini and the Ford Zephyr Mk. II. All this plus the fact that so many of the chaps are pioneers of the Where’s Wally headgear.

Car Ferry 1960

A glimpse into another world in which a trip from Dover to Boulogne-sur-Mer was regarded as glamorous and even exciting.

Naturally, our voice-over friend makes a quip about driving on the ‘wrong side’ of the road but here the main interest is in all those Ford Consul Mk.1s and Austin A40 Farinas in action, with some cars sporting yellow headlamp filters for French driving.

The Caraboot 1964

Or the everyday story of a Morris Mini Van transformed into a motor home/caravan with detachable dingy by Euxton Coach Craft.

My favourite detail of this amazing vehicle is how there is more than enough headroom to accommodate a towering beehive hairstyle.

Caravan Grand Prix 1966

To the accompaniment of some very groovy music, we see various fine caravan taken through their paces at Brands Hatch by Rover 2000s, MG 1100s, Jaguar Mk. Xs and – one double -takes, - a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud S3 Park Ward Drophead. N.B. Note the manly pipe smoking and how a Rambler is erroneously described as a Ford.

Caravan Concourse 1966

And who could resist taking part in a caravan rally, especially if your car is a Humber Hawk, a Ford Corsair or a magnificent Wolseley 6/110?

After an illustration of how to safely reverse in your Austin A60 Cambridge Countryman and a display of Morris Dancing, it is on to the high-speed parades, with Super Snipe Estates and Vauxhall Cresta PBs in full spate.

Best of all, after a break for an extremely 1960s barbeque of under-cooked sausages, there is a rare chance to see an Amphicar in action!

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