Bailey of Bristol: The second half of 65 years of history

The Bailey Senator was in production from 1987 to 2010
The Bailey Senator was in production from 1987 to 2010

Friday, 14, Jun 2013 03:04

by Chris Jefferies

With 65 years now under their collective belt, Bailey of Bristol is the UK's longest-established caravan manufacturer.

To mark this achievement CaravanTimes has been looking back over the company's history, starting in Part One with the 1940s to the 1970s.

Now we pick up the story in the 1980s, where challenging economic times put many companies at risk.


With caravan brands collapsing left, right and centre, you would expect Bailey to be tightening their belts, but the reality was quite the opposite.

The 1980s saw Bailey expand its operations by acquiring new land, which lead to a tripling of the size of their South Liberty Lane headquarters.

What's more, the 80s also saw the birth of the company's most successful range, the Bailey Pageant, which was in continuous production for over 25 years.

And in 1987, the Pageant was joined by its upmarket sister range, the Bailey Senator, boasting blown air central heating and an integral cassette toilet as standard for the first time.

Meanwhile, the company continued to refine its production technology by adding sandwich construction bodyshell panels.


The 1990s was another decade of growth for Bailey, with further land acquisitions and increased sales, making it the number one caravan brand by the end of the century.

This was largely due to the launch of the compact, lightweight Bailey Ranger collection, which set a new standard for value for money, as models were available for under £10,000.

Other Bailey ranges to be unveiled in the 1990s included the Scorpio, while the company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1998.


The turn of the century saw Bailey pushing its technology even further forward, with the factory becoming mechanised.

This big investment meant that caravans could slowly creep along the rolling production line as teams of workers fit the walls, roof and key fixtures.

As a result, Bailey was able to build more than 8,500 caravans per year, and this system remains in place to the present day.

The tail end of the decade saw the biggest leap forward, however, as 2009 was the year that the Bailey Pegasus was launched, and with it came the introduction of Alu-Tech construction.

This pioneering process uses an aluminium framework to replace much of the timber traditionally used in building a caravan, reducing weight and increasing the tourer's lifespan.

2010 to present day

As Bailey reaches its 65th birthday, Alu-Tech remains a key component, being rolled out in the company's first ever motorhome, the Bailey Approach SE, which was unveiled in 2011.

And in 2012 caravan parks up and down the country saw the arrival of the Bailey Retreat, an extra-large caravan designed specifically for use on seasonal pitches.

Beyond the UK, Bailey is now flying the flag for British caravanning in New Zealand and Australia, with Alu-Tech models exported in their droves.

The crowning glory of the past 65 years came in November 2012, when HM Queen Elizabeth II visited the Bailey factory and inspected a finished Bailey Unicorn caravan.

Bailey of Bristol has plenty more exciting plans for the future and to find out what they are first, make sure you keep checking back with CaravanTimes.

Comments - What do you think?
Related stories

Bailey announces customer service department expansion

Bailey is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year

Bailey of Bristol has announced an expansion of its customer service department as it aims to put customer satisfaction at the forefront of its operations

Bailey of Bristol: The first half of 65 years of history

The Bailey Maestro was sold for just £200 in 1948

Bailey of Bristol is one of the most popular caravan brands and with its birthday coming up, the company is celebrating 65 years in the business. Launching in 1948 it is the longest established touring caravan manufacturer in the UK, it was just as popular then as it is now, and for good reason

Bailey Unicorn range to get new Vigo and Cordoba layouts

Bailey of Bristol has added two new layouts to its Unicorn range

Bailey of Bristol has announced that it will be adding two new layouts to its flagship range of luxury caravans, following the relaunch of the Unicorn last summer

Self levelling technology: Why is there not more of it out there?

Self levelling systems are popular with its users but there are only a few caravan and motorhome models that offer the technology

The caravan and motorhome industry are amazingly early adopters of technology, and modern leisure vehicle specifications are incredibly high. Some leisure vehicles have more specification than the average home, boasting huge fridges, solar panels, alarm systems, satellite dishes, LED touch lighting, even underfloor wet central heating in some models.

Top Tips: Useful space solutions for caravans

Here are some useful tips for making even the smallest spaces pack a punch inside

Do you love caravanning but are always wishing you had more living space to work with? Well, the lovely people at David Murphy Towing, a family-owned towing supplier based in Northern Ireland, have written an exclusive article for CaravanTimes providing useful tips and tricks to make your caravan interior feel as spacious as possible.

Easter Memories Part 2: We hear more of your unforgettable stories from Easter breaks past

Have a fantastic Easter everybody!

Easter 2017 is finally here and everyone at CaravanTimes wishes you all a memorable Easter break with your family and friends. But before you go, we'd like to share some more Easter memories with you from our friends at Salop Leisure and our very own Editor.

Easter Memories: We hear your unforgettable stories from Easter breaks past

Tell us about your memorable Easter Holidays

And just like that, Easter is almost upon us. The school holidays are already underway, which has prompted the CaravanTimes office to reminisce of memorable Easter Hols gone by. So we've asked both our readers and the team from Broad Lane Leisure to share their favourite Easter memories with us.