This one is a three-quarter size replica. It was built to house a puppet show that travelled all over Tasmania and eventually returned to the puppeteer’s hometown on Teesside.
Image courtesy of Redcar and Cleveland Council Cultural Service
Horse drawn wagons, or ‘vardi’, like this were traditionally used by Romani peoples as their homes, from the 1850s to the early 1900s. Intricately carved and highly decorated, they were often commissioned by specialist coach builders. There were a number of different designs and sizes – this one is a ‘bowtop’. It’s made from weatherproof canvas stretched over a wooden frame, with a rear window and wooden door. Inside would be a stove and a table, seats and a bed, again often highly decorated and draped with lush fabrics.