Founded in 1948 Bailey Caravans is the longest established UK independent manufacturer with seventy years’ experience in leisure vehicle production and design. During this period, it has grown to become not only the UK’s favourite caravan brand, accounting for approximately one in three new caravan sales, but also now one of the most largest producers in Europe.
More recently, in 2011, the company brought this same level of expertise to the motorhome market as well as expanding into new exports markets as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.
The first Bailey caravan was built by Martin Bailey in his garage in South Bristol in 1947 and was subsequently sold at Ashton Gate market for the sum of £200. A year later F G Bailey Ltd was formed and went into production. The company developed rapidly throughout the 1950’s eventually outgrowing its original site and moving to its present address at South Liberty Lane in 1960. In 1977 the company was purchased by Patrick and Stephen Howard and Bailey Caravans Ltd as it now known has remained in Howard family ownership ever since.
Ten years ago the company introduced the Alu-Tech body shell construction system which is seen by most observers as the most significant development in leisure vehicle production technology for over three decades. Providing genuine design innovation, this fully patented technology, means that Bailey leisure vehicles are now some of the best engineered and the most technically advanced products available, keeping owners comfortable safe and secure no matter how tough the conditions. To date approaching 50,000 Bailey Alu-Tech leisure vehicles have been built and are being enjoyed around the world.
Today Bailey employs over 600 local people across its three sites in Bristol and currently manufactures 7,500 leisure vehicles per year to generate an annual turnover in excess of £130 million.
Never one to stand still however, the company has now taken the bold decision to completely re-develop its existing 14.5-acre site over the next five years to push leisure vehicle manufacturing in the UK to the next level. The relocation of our Parts Direct operation to North Bristol and our Large Panel Laminating Plant (where we produce the caravan sides, ceilings and floors) to North Somerset has already been completed to allow space for building work to begin. Phase One of this programme was completed last year with the construction of a purpose-built Replenishment Centre which allows us to house the thousands of components required to create our caravans and motorhomes under one roof and Phase Two, market conditions permitting, will begin shortly.
At the same time Bailey has also expanded operations in Australia with the establishment of new manufacturing plant in Melbourne, Victoria producing dedicated caravan ranges for the local market which are retailed through a growing network of company owned retail centres.
Commenting on reaching this major milestone Bailey Managing Director, Nick Howard said:
“We are tremendously proud to be the UK’s longest established leisure vehicle manufacturer and would like to thank everybody in the extended ‘Bailey Family’, which includes our customers, retailers, supplier partners and of course our employees, for the part they have played in our continued success over the past seventy years”.
Bailey kicked off its 70th anniversary celebrations in style at the NEC show in October with the launch of the Pegasus GT70 caravan range. Available in limited numbers its introduction follows the established Bailey tradition of launching special edition ranges, such as the Ranger GT50, Ranger GT60 and Pegasus GT65, to mark key moments in its history. The six-model GT70 line-up is based upon the popular fourth-generation Pegasus range but includes a number of key specification upgrades as well as some unique aesthetic enhancements to represent the best of everything Bailey stands for in terms of quality, design and value”.
The arrival of Pegasus GT70 starts a year of activity celebrating seven decades of Bailey leisure vehicle production and design – details of which will be unveiled in due course.