ROMANY GYPSY TRAILERS

WESTMORLAND STAR: INFORMATION MK II & MK III

  "WHY DID THEY JUMP SO MUCH IN PRICE ?" THE QUESTION ABOVE RELATES TO THE COST OF A NEW WESTMORLAND STAR TRAILER WITH 'MK III' FITTINGS. DURING 'TRAILER TIMES' W.STAR TRAILERS WERE THE PRESERVE OF A FEW AFFLUENT FAMILIES WHO COULD AFFORD 'THE BEST' AND APPRECIATED WHAT THEY WERE BUYING. ALAN DENT THE BUILDER WHO WAS HIMSELF A SKILLED CRAFTSMAN AND CABINET MAKER HAD WORKED AT THE FAMOUS WARING & GILLOW FURNITURE COMPANY......IN THE LATTER YEARS HE WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO EMPLOY MEN FROM WARING & GILLOW AND IN PARTICULAR A MAN WHO WAS SKILLED IN USING THE MACHINE THAT 'BENT' FORMICA (ACTUALLY 'ARBORITE') AND THE TIMBER IN FURNITURE CONSTRUCTION. THIS LATTER WAS AN INCREDIBLY SKILLED JOB AND THE 'MARK III' INTERIOR WAS BORN. FURNITURE BECAME FAR MORE CURVACIOUS AND INTRICATE. ALONG WITH THIS, THE MIRRORS AND CUT GLASS CABINET DOORS & SLIDERS NEEDED TO BE CURVED TOO. GLASS & MIRRORS HAD ALWAYS BEEN A VERY EXPENSIVE PART OF ANY TRAILER, TO CURVE THEM WAS EVEN MORE COSTLY. A GOOD WESTMORLAND IN 1974 COST ON AVERAGE £11,000 IN 1977 THE PRICE WAS IN EXCESS OF £20,000, EVEN ALLOWING FOR NATURAL INFLATION THIS WAS A HUGE JUMP. FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAD THE MONEY, THE NEW 'STYLE' WAS A MUST AND THEY BOUGHT THE TRAILERS REGARDLESS OF EXPENSE, IT'S WORTH REMEMBERING THAT IN TODAYS PRICES THESE VANS WERE APPROACHING £100,000 !!! THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT THAT THEY WERE THE ULTIMATE STATUS SYMBOL. THIS IS NOT TO SAY THE WORKMANSHIP WAS BETTER IN THE LAST TRAILERS, JUST FAR MORE LABOUR INTENSIVE. THE INTRICACIES OF DOUBLE SERPENTINE FRONTS, INLAID FORMICA AND MATCHING GLASS WORK EXPLAINS THE RISE IN PRICES. IF LOOKING AT A TRAILER TODAY IT IS WORTH STUDYING THE CRAFTSMANSHIP OF THE FURNITURE, ALL TOO OFTEN THE ATTENTION IS FOCUSSED UPON THE MIRRORS !! IT MUST ALSO BE REMEMBERED THAT TRAILERS WERE OFTEN 'UPDATED', ALTERED OR MODIFIED, JUST BECAUSE THERE IS A STAR ON THE ROOF DOES NOT MEAN ITS ONE OF THE LAST......THE TWO PICTURES ON THIS PAGE ILLUSTRATE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MK II & MK III VAN. BOTH ARE OF THE KITCHEN. NOTE IN THE LAST TRAILERS THE CLOCK WAS LOWERED, THERE IS A SET OF DRAWERS IN THE CENTRE AT THE BACK AND THE CABINETS CURVE BOTH 'IN AND OUT'. SIMILARLY ON DISPLAY CABINETS, INSTEAD OF JUST THE CORNERS BEING ROUNDED THE WHOLE CABINET IS SERPENTINE. IT WAS THE ULTIMATE IN THE CABINET MAKERS ART. THE WESTMORLAND STAR HAD LITERALLY REACHED ITS PEAK.........INCREDIBLE TO THINK THAT WITHIN A SHORT TIME, THIS TYPE OF TRAILER BECAME 'OUT OF FASHION' AND OWNERS LOST HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY AS THEY TRADED THEM IN OR SOLD THEM OFF............THANKFULLY THE CIRCLE HAS TURNED ONCE AGAIN.

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THE KITCHEN OF A VERY SMART MK II WESTMORLAND STAR. BELOW A MK III VAN.......THE ULTIMATE IN THE CABINET MAKERS ART.

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