Thrupp & Maberly

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Piccadilly scene
Drag (and greys)
Drophead coupé
on a Derby Bentley chassis 1934
2-door tourer
on a Rolls-Royce chassis 1935
Pullman limousine
on a Humber chassis 1949
Thrupp & Maberley at the very left of this picture, Oxford Street 1875
Open two-seater 1953
Sunbeam Alpine
Humber Imperial 1964
a Humber Super Snipe with luxury finishes

Thrupp & Maberly was a British coachbuilding business based in the West End of London, England. Coach-makers to Queen Victoria they operated for more than two centuries[1] until 1967 when they closed while in the ownership of Rootes Group.

Mr Thrupp[edit]

This family coachbuilding firm was started near Worcester about 1740. The founder's son, Joseph Thrupp (died London 1821), came to London about 1765 and ran a coach making business in George Street, Grosvenor Square.[2][3] As well as George Athelstane Thrupp (1822-1905) Joseph left a number of notable descendants[note 1] who were not coach carriage or harness makers.

Joseph's London business was continued by eldest son Henry East Thrupp (1776-1852) father of coach builder Robert (1813-1871) and by third son Charles Joseph Thrupp (1791-1872)[note 2] who left his nine surviving children £30,000. Those nine children included George Athelstane Thrupp (1822-1905) whose sister Ellen (1829-1914) would marry George Henry Maberly (1836-1901) in 1869.[4]

and Mr Maberly[edit]

Coachbuilder George Maberly (1797-1883) merged his own 70 Welbeck Street business with Thrupps and became their partner at the beginning of 1858[5] The firm's name was immediately changed to Thrupp & Maberly. Later his son George Henry Maberly (1836-1901) was taken into George Athelstane Thrupp's partnership.[2]

George Athelstane Thrupp[edit]

Head of his family's coachbuilding firm George Thrupp became a leader of his craft known to his fellows throughout the world. He was a founder of the Coach-makers' Benevolent Institution and helped form the Institute of British Carriage Manufacturers and the technical schools for coach artisans which were taken over by the Regent Street Polytechnic. He served as Master of the Coachmakers' and Coach Harness Makers' Company in 1883[2]

George Thrupp's publications included:

A History of the Art of Coachbuilding published in 1877, originally a series of lectures delivered in 1876 to the Society of Arts;
Coach Trimming with William Farr in 1888 and
he edited William Simpson's Hand Book for Coach Painters also published in 1888.[2]

His son George Herbert Thrupp (1859-1925) joined Thrupp & Maberly but his nephew Gerald Clare Maberly (1871-1961) became a barrister.

Locations[edit]

Until 1916 this business operated from 269 (renumbered 425) Oxford Street, London, with access from the side street, George Street (now Lumley Street). In 1863 they advertised they were Coach Builders & Harness-Makers by Appointment to the Queen. In 1914 their premises which had included their workshops were purchased by Selfridge & Co, whose store was opposite, to open Selfridge's household department.[6] though the showroom remained there until 1916. In 1916 they moved the showroom to 475 Oxford Street then again to 20 North Audley Street. When Rootes took control it was set up in Rootes' Devonshire House, Piccadilly, premises opening there 22 September 1926.[7] There again they advertised that they were by appointment to H.M. the King official retailers of Rolls-Royce cars and special coach builders to the Daimler Company.[8] In 1928 ownership passed to Humber Limited, a member of the Rootes Group.[9]

As far back as the 1880s Thrupp & Maberly began its move from making horse-drawn carriages to making car bodies watching developments in electric cars, fitting Immisch motors in carriages to order and in 1896 supplying an electric car to the Queen of Spain. By the spring of 1897 Thrupp & Maberley held the British licence for the Duryea Motor Wagon. More commissions followed and the business grew, leading to large numbers of bodies for staff cars being made during World War I.[10]

After the war Thrupp & Maberly produced a range of bespoke bodies for up-market British and European marques. In 1924, the works were moved to new premises at 108 Cricklewood Lane, Cricklewood, London, with a showroom at 20 North Audley Street in the West End of London, which in 1925 was bought by the remarkable salesmen the Rootes brothers. The Rootes brothers interests were then in distribution and repair and not manufacture. Thrupp & Maberly remained a prestige coachbuilder, concentrating on luxury bodies for Rolls-Royce, Daimler and Bentley automobiles. In 1929, they built the body for Sir Henry Segrave's land speed record car, the Golden Arrow.[10] The Rootes brothers bought Humber, and with it Hillman in 1928, and from 1932 bodies were made for the top of the range Humbers. Additional premises were obtained in 1936 in the old Darracq works in Warple Way, Acton, London, adjacent to a company called British Light Steel Pressings, with whom they merged in 1939. During the Second World War they again built staff cars on Humber chassis.[10]

When peacetime production resumed after the end of the Second World War the Acton works was disposed of, and as the market for luxury coach-built vehicles was in decline, they concentrated on special bodies for Rootes Group vehicles, including making all the open-top Humbers.[10] By the mid-1960s, this work was also in decline, and the Cricklewood factory closed in 1967.[11]

In 1968 the business was voluntarily wound up. [12]

West End showroom with workshops locations[edit]

The corner of Oxford and George (Lumley) Streets until 1916 (following its sale to Selfridges in 1914)
The multi-storey premises included their workshops accessed from George Street. They were demolished in 1937

  • 33 George Street (now Lumley Street), Grosvenor Square, .
    • a.k.a. 269 Oxford Street
    • a.k.a. 425 Oxford Street following re-numbering of Oxford Street
  • 475 Oxford Street until 1922
  • 20 North Audley Street until 1926
  • Devonshire House, Piccadilly (Rootes Group)

Thrupp & Sons were listed separately in 1842 as coach spring and patent axle tree manufacturers at 5, 6, 11 & 12 George Street (now Lumley Street) Grosvenor Square and Thrupp & Sons, tyre smiths, George Street Grosvenor Square.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ * Arthur Thomas Thrupp (1828-1889), Royal Navy officer
  2. ^ ODNB shows an incorrect death date

References[edit]

  1. ^ 200 Years Of British Coach-Building. The Times, Tuesday, Apr 12, 1960; pg. 3; Issue 54744
  2. ^ a b c d Bryan K. Goodman, ‘Thrupp, George Athelstane (1822–1905)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  3. ^ Martin Greenwood, ‘Thrupp, Frederick (1812–1895)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  4. ^ Birth Death and Marriage records 1837 to 1983 and censuses 1841 through to 1911
  5. ^ Classified advertising: CARRIAGES.-MABERLY, coach builder removed to 269 Oxford Street in partnership with Messrs Thrupp, The Times, Saturday, Feb 20, 1858; pg. 2; Issue 22922
  6. ^ Selfridge's New Capital. The Times, Thursday, Mar 26, 1914; pg. 23; Issue 40481
  7. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Sep 21, 1926; pg. 3; Issue 44382
  8. ^ Classified advertising, The Times, Tuesday, May 03, 1927; pg. 2; Issue 44571
  9. ^ Rootes Motors Limited. The Times, Monday, Nov 21, 1949; pg. 8; Issue 51544
  10. ^ a b c d Nick Walker. A-Z of British Coachbuilders. Bay View Books 1997. ISBN 1-870979-93-1
  11. ^ Bid to save car plants. The Times, Monday, Jun 19, 1967; pg. 24; Issue 56971.
  12. ^ "Thrupp and Maberly". Graces Guide. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  13. ^ Robson's London Directory for 1842, Robson & Co, Cheapside 1842

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Coachbuilding in London. Robert Vickers. London's Industrial Archaeology, No. 5, March 1994