Camping In The UK – A History Of UK Camping Part 1
Camping in the UK as a recreational activity began over 100 years ago. Thomas Hiram Holding, born 1844 – died 1930, is widely accepted as the founder of leisure camping in the UK. Holding, a tailor, designed a lightweight tent that could be carried on a bicycle.
Camping in the UK grew from a solution for sleeping soldiers to a recreational activity for outdoor enthusiasts. The bicycle which was developed in the 19th century aided the popularity of camping as it enabled people to venture further afield.
As a child, Holding’s passion for camping developed in 1853 when he travelled with his family in a wagon train on a 1,200 mile trip through the American prairies. In 1887 he visited the Highlands of Scotland where he first experienced camping in the UK.
In the late 1800′s Holding (pictured in the image), who was also a keen cyclist, embarked on a cycling/camping trip to Ireland accompanied by four friends. He later wrote a book about the experience entitled ‘Cycle And Camp In Connemara’ (1898). The book had an invitation for fellow cycling and camping enthusiasts to join him. This led to ’The Association Of Cycle Campers’ in 1901. This was founded with 13 members. 6 members attended the first meeting of the association.
By 1906 the association had several hundred members and the club opened it’s first site that year in Weybridge. Holding later severed links with The Association Of Cycle Campers and formed The Camping Club. Eventually the two joined forces to become The Amateur Camping Club.
In 1908, with the knowledge gained from his camping trips, Holding wrote the first Campers Handbook. The book described the basics of camping for newcomers to camping in the UK.
In 1910 The Amateur Camping Club joined forces with The National Camping Club. Membership grew to 820. Later the organisation would become The Caravan & Camping Club which now boasts over a third of a million members.
What year did you start camping in the UK, please leave a comment below.
Tent Camping Facts & Figures