Horse-drawn caravans have been used as homes by the Romany community for about 160 years. Before that they were used by travelling showpeople.
This wagon was built in about 1900 in Reading. Noah and Annie O'Connor lived here with their family until about 1925, when Noah died. Annie then stayed in Bristol for a while. She sold the wagon, and we believe it was at Locks Yard Caravan Site (also known as Dorney's Yard), in Bedminster, Bristol, in 1943. In 1950 it was bought by a Miss Cunningham of Dorking. At this time the caravan was known as 'Ela'. She wrote 'I love this van but I do realise that it is a responsibility.' She sold it in 1951 to a holiday camp in Glamorgan.
Bristol Museum bought the caravan in 1953 and it was displayed outside Blaise Castle House Museum. After the wagon was burgled in 1957, it came to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery as part of a transportation display.