About The Reading Wagon


The Reading wagon is the most beautiful and luxurious of the Gypsy caravans. It was built originally by Duntons of Reading but was later made by other wagon builders. Although elegant for their size, they were large and cumbersome and better suited to the flat country in the south and southeast of England. They were mainly ordered by wealthy horse traders and gypsy kings and queens, the upper crust of the Romany society.


The wagon body was carried between large rear wheels although the front wheels were able to turn under the front platform. The wagon walls were straight but lean out 4 inches all around towards the eaves. They were usually about 10 feet long with a porch that projected out another 18 inches in front and 14 inches in the back. The early types had an arched roof but the later types were all fitted with a mollicroft or clerestory section. The mollicroft was added around 1901 and was usually about 10 inches high. The rear wheels were 5 feet in diameter and the front wheels 3 feet 6 inches in diameter. The floor of the wagon rode about 4ft 3in from the road. A fully equipped Reading wagon weighed about 3360 pounds with the top of the roof around 12ft 6in from the ground.