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Thrupp & Maberly

Thrupp & Maberly

The prestigious firm of Charles Thrupp and Co had been building coaches in George Street (near Portman Square), London, since 1760 and had showrooms in fashionable Oxford Street. In 1858, Thrupp and Maberly Ltd. was formed by a merger of the carriage builders Joseph Thrupp and George Maberly.

The nineteenth century was the pinnacle of horsedrawn carriage making with some half million in use by the end of the century and Thrupp and Maberly established themselves as one of the leading manufacturers with a reputation for quality and innovation. From horse drawn carriages they moved into making car bodies in 1896 with an electric Victoria for the Queen of Spain. More commissions followed and the business expanded rapidly by bying up a number of competitors. The firm regularly exhibited at British motor shows from 1910 onward. During WWI, large numbers of bodies for staff cars were made and after World War I they produced a range of bespoke landaulets, limousines, coupes-de-ville and cabriolets, frequently on imported chassis like Delage, Hotchkiss and Minerva.

In 1924 they moved to new premises at 108 Cricklewood Lane, Cricklewood, London but kept a showroom in North Audley Street in the West End of London which in 1925 was bought by the Rootes brothers. In 1926, the entire Thrupp and Maberly company was acquired by the Rootes brothers and gave the whole Rootes organization a flagship enterprise that catered to wealthy clients and their Rolls-Royce, Daimler and Bentley cars. Moreover, during this period a number of significant innovations emanated from Thrupp and Maberly: the tilting glass division window, which provided greater rear legroom, and hinged rear quarter lights for better ventilation.

Rather than becoming an in-house coachbuilder for Rootes, Thrupp & Maberly remained a prestige coachbuilder concentrating on luxury bodies for Rolls-Royce, Daimler and Bentley. The Rootes brothers had bought Humber, and with it Hillman, in 1928 and from 1932 some bodies were made for the top of the range Humbers.

In 1928 the company offered to build the body for the Golden Arrow racing car which, driven by Sir Henry Segrave, broke the World Land Speed Record on Daytona Beach at 231 mph. in front of 100,000 spectators.

More and more the company became an integral part of the Rootes organisation, finishing body shells produced elsewhere in the organisation and passing them on to the main factory in Coventry. A nearby factory in Warple Road, Acton, inherited when Rootes took over Talbot, was occupied by Thrupps in 1936. 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 World War II they again built staff cars on Humber chassis.

When peacetime production resumed the Acton works was disposed of and as the market for luxury coachbuilt vehicles was in major decline they concentrated on special bodies for Rootes Group vehicles including making all the open top models. The end came in 1967 when a rationalisation transferred the work done by Thrupp and Maberly to the main Rootes factory in Coventry. The factory closed its doors in August, 1967 and was sold off. 

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