The History of Bailey Caravans by Bailey Caravans South Wales
Currently being one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of leisure vehicles, Bailey’s caravans have been producing high-quality caravans and motorhomes since 1947 and will continue to produce them for many years to come.
Today, Bailey Caravans are a sought after brand in both the new and used caravan market. If you would like more information or want to speak with a Bailey caravan dealer in South Wales please telephone 01792 64 33 26
Back in 1947, Mr. Martin Bailey built the very first Bailey caravan in his garage in South Bristol. He sold it for £200, which in today’s money would be around £7,500 which seems very affordable today. This was only the beginning. His design was developed further and he produced the Bailey Maestro after forming F G Bailey Ltd in 1948. This design was very popular and continued to be popular for many years until they brought out the post-war housing crisis solution in 1956; the Maison caravan. This caravan featured many home comforts such as carpeting, fully sprung upholstery and a two burner stove, which brought a familiarity to the families of war broken Bristol.
1960 came with the introduction of a new site for the company in South Bristol, of which they still inhabit today. With a workforce of 20-30 individuals and an output of 100 caravans a year, the company was growing fast. This was down to the increase of exports that they were shipping across the globe. It was in 1977 when Martin bailey decided to sell the business to Patrick and Stephen Howard and took on the name of Bailey Caravans Ltd. It was in this decade that had three model ranges:
- Prima – entry-level export caravan
- M Range – mid-market range still including the Mikado and Maru
- Clifton – luxury range
The new range, the Clifton, featured many unseen add-ons such as double glazing, fitted heaters, and refrigerators. This raised the game for caravans and motorhomes alike.
In the 1980s, the International Debt Crisis struck the world. However, Bailey Caravans were not deterred by this; the opposite even. They purchased further land and invested in state of the art digitally controlled production machinery to roll out caravans at a faster rate. In 1982, production of the company’s most popular caravan to this date: the Bailey Pageant at the price of £6,179. This growth continued throughout the 1980s and into the 1990’s when Bailey Caravans were confirmed as the UK’s Number 1 caravan brand after their launch of their affordable and well equipped Bailey Ranger.
As we entered the 2000s, Bailey Caravans had no more land to purchase around their factory, so were forced to look into improving the mechanisation of their manufacturing plant. This improved productivity even further, allowing them to produce in excess of 8,500 caravans a year. Their new release, Bailey Pegasus, featured their new, patented Alu-Tech body shell construction system which is seen as one of the most significant developments for the caravan production industry. Alu-Tech allowed Bailey Caravans to produce higher quality engineered caravans.
With the economy falling to pieces again, Bailey Caravans required another breakthrough product to stay above water. This came in the form of the very first Bailey Caravans Motorhome, the Approach SE priced at £44,395. This lead to the opening of two new distributers in Australia and New Zealand for the expansion of Bailey Caravans. After 65 years of construction in 2012, Bailey Caravans were visited by Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to celebrate their success. It was a massive milestone for Bailey Caravans, with Bailey Chairman, Patrick Howard being quoted: “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved as a company over the past sixty-five years and to be part of an industry which remains one of the great British manufacturing success stories’’.
In the present day, Bailey Caravans are going strength to strength with a team of over 300 local Bristolians on their 14.5-acre South Bristol construction site. They produce in excess 7,500 leisure vehicles a year, with an average annual turnover of £90 million. They have retained their title of being the UK’s number 1 Caravan brand and are close to being the largest in Europe. They are now trying to make their motorhome range as popular as their caravan range. If you want to own some Great British heritage that is in the form of a Bailey Caravan or motorhome, take a look at our entire range here.