Davan Caravan Ltd and its entire dedicated staff are proud to be celebrating the companies 75th anniversary in 2011. Davan is still owned and run buy the Davies family and are now believed to be the oldest Caravan retailer in the UK.
Started in 1936 (the same year Idris was born) by Bert Davies. Mr. A.E.T Davies (Bert) was the eldest son of a Welsh farmer and was brought up at Gilfach Wen Farm nr Six Bells, Abertillery South Wales. In the early 1930’s during the depression years Bert moved to Weston super Mare where his grandfather E.J Skidmore lived. After working in a local quarry he then started working for his grandfather as a builder, gaining experience in building homes in and around St Georges and Weston super Mare. Bert was now married to Freda and ideas for the future were in his mind. He was an enterprising man with a growing family. He wanted to take them on holiday, so he went to a local scrap dealer, bought a car axle, and built his first caravan in the front garden! While on holiday he had so many people interested in his creation and when they returned sold the caravan to a passing motorist for the grand sum of £10. With that he decided build a second caravan and that was the start of “Daylightful Davans”. Davan was run as a family business with his brothers giving a hand and his sister Mary, working in the office.
Over the years Davan have made all sorts of touring and static caravans at the original St Georges factory, with retail being a sideline.
Manufacture was of touring caravans mostly with model names like Dandy, Davania and in the 1950’s the Dabonair. Bert even built one of the first Motorhomes when he converted an ex army ambulance into a holiday vehicle. With the younger members of his family joining the firm and excellent craftsmen in the factory, production started to include luxury holiday statics and then twin unit mobile homes. The “Mansionette” was a particular success and was described as the most luxurious twin unit on the market during the 1967 Earls Court Caravan Show by the Mobile Homes magazine.
Bert and his brothers set up Sandy Glade holiday Park in Brean but then shortly after Bert moved on to set up a static caravan site of his own in Burnham on Sea(Newcombe Trailer Park). Bert later bought a farm in Highbridge where John and Eric, Idris,s two younger brothers started their own caravan retail outlet, and left the young Idris and Jean Davies to run the Davan factory. Idris and Jean continued to build up the business, pioneering the industry by being the first to use Hot-coated pre formed aluminum on the exterior walls of their caravans. Idris and Jean worked hard to promote the company attending many Caravan and Ideal Homes shows all over the country, but soon the name Davan became famous.
The last Davan tourers were made in 1976, when Idris decided to concentrate on retailing. In the late 70’s two more outlets were added to the company, Avon Leisure Caravans and Avon
County Caravans in Bristol. It was then that the Burton family started their long involvement with the business.
Through the 80’s the third generation joined the company, with Idris’s sons Glen, Neil and Mark, and Jean’s son Harvie. Davan moved from the original factory and sales site up the road to the present location which was formally Sunny Mead Caravan Park another family owned campsite. With modern workshop facilities, a large accessory store and an indoor showroom for Awnings and Caravans the new site was the talk of the industry.
Mark and Idris developed the Motorhome retail side of the business initially at St Georges and then at Avon County in Bristol. The Bristol site was sold for development at the end of the 90’s and the Motorhome sales were brought back down to the main St Georges site. Since then, Motorhome sales have grown to account for nearly 50% of turnover, with caravan sales around 35% and the remainder made up of accessories, awnings, workshop services and finance and insurance. Davan have set up their own Caravan Club and love holding the famous Rallies and special events, entertaining customers and club members.
Davan continue to be a major retail outlet for many of the UK and continental Caravan and Motorhome manufacturers including Swift, Sprite, Lunar, CI, Auto Trail, and Trigano as well as many Awning and Accessory suppliers. Mark Davies now leads the Motorhome team and like his farther attends all of the major Motorhome exhibition with his award winning sales team. Large and small repairs, servicing and customizing are
also a big part of the business all delt with in our industry approved workshops which are run by Neil Davies. Davan have also recently moved into the online retail market currently selling Awnings and accessories through the online shop at www.davan.co.uk where you can also find pages and pages of information on all the latest Caravans, Motorhomes and Awnings. Currently the company employs around 35 people and has Idris,s eldest son, Glen Davies as it’s Managing Director, Mark Davies as the Motorhome Sales Director, Richard Burton as the Caravan Sales Director and Neil Davies as the Workshop Director. Jean Agnew is still involved as the Company Secretary and Idris remains as an active member of the Motorhome sales team.