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Family shares its 50 years of caravan fun

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: August 26, 2014

Michael Dodds, Jaqueline Perry, Stephanie Dodds and Gareth Dodds with their 1950s caravan.

Michael Dodds, Jaqueline Perry, Stephanie Dodds and Gareth Dodds with their 1950s caravan.

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A CARAVAN which helped create decades of fun for one family has been donated to the city.

Visitors to the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea are being encouraged to relive their favourite holiday memories at a new exhibition looking at caravaning in Wales.

Taking centre stage is an authentic 1950s caravan donated by the Dodds family.

As a thank-you for donating the holiday favourite, staff at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea hosted a special welcome to the owner Michael Dodds and his relatives. And it turned into a double celebration, with Michael's sister, Philippa, commemorating her 70th birthday.

"We were delighted to welcome the Dodds family to the museum," said modern and contemporary industry curator Ian Smith.

It was a wonderful opportunity for them to see their very own caravan they once used regularly on display as a centrepiece exhibition."

The family, from Cardiff, commissioned it from local firm Louis Blow and Co and it cost £600 —  more than the cost of a terrace house at the time.

LG Blow were furniture makers and installed a wooden interior of the caravan. Everything was tailor-made for the Dodds family — one shelf was even designed especially to house the baby's carry cot.

Every summer for 10 years they toured South Wales. Eventually the caravan was permanently pitched in a field near Newport, Pembrokeshire, and stayed there for nearly 50 years.

It was used by many members of the family until 2009. Mr Dodds, the eldest son of the original owner, then donated the caravan to the museum.

The family also donated a black and white cine film of them on holidays in various locations throughout South Wales including Oxwich and Bosherston, Pembrokeshire.

In it, a 14-year-old Michael and a young Philippa can be seen enjoying their holidays.

Mr Smith added: "Things have changed so considerably in our daily lives since 1950 when the van was built, but caravan and camping holidays are basically the same.

"It appeals to all ages, evoking nostalgia in adults and wonder in children."

The display shows aspects of typical caravanning holidays from the picnics prepared in the tiny kitchen, through to the seats that doubled as beds and from the campsites, to the activities that kept holidaymakers amused in the rain.

Are We There Yet? Family Holidays in a Caravan will be on display at the museum until September 28.

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