One of the UK’s most prestigious manufacturers of caravans is to be celebrated by the Caravan and Motorhome Club this summer.
Bertram Hutchings Caravans Ltd, later known more simply as Winchester Caravans, was located on Stockbridge Road in the Hampshire city.
Spanning across five decades and transcending two World Wars, the business was one of the few to successfully produce a range of horse-drawn, motor and trailer caravans, and is a largely forgotten story in the annals of Hampshire’s industrial heritage.
It was a brand that became known as ‘The Rolls-Royce of Caravans’.
A range of activities will be taking place throughout July and August including an exhibition and talk at Hampshire Record Office in Winchester, plus family activity packs at selected Club Campsites in Hampshire.
In 2015 a significant collection of photographs, ephemera and journals relating to Winchester Caravans was donated to the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection.
This vast collection has since been catalogued, digitised and researched in detail by a team of volunteers at the National Motor Museum.
It will be the first time that a significant collection of photographs, ephemera and journals relating to Winchester Caravans are shared publicly alongside their stories.
Born in Winchester in 1887, Bertram Hutchings opened the city’s first health food shop on Southgate Street in 1910, and his interest in a healthy lifestyle and outdoor living quickly led to the foundation of his caravan building enterprise in 1912.
A member of the Royal Photographic Society, Hutchings’ historic collection is bursting with pictures of his many caravan designs taken at locations across Hampshire.
Senior Curator of the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection, Angela Willis, said: “The arrival of Bertram Hutchings’ collection at the Museum was a real career highlight.
“It is unusual for the era that such a stunning visual record of a caravan business was created, but for it to have survived to this day is truly remarkable.
“I am delighted that Bertram Hutchings’ story is returning to Winchester this summer, and we can celebrate his legacy on leisure travel.”
‘Homes on Wheels’ – The Story of Winchester Caravans can be viewed at Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester, SO23 8TH, from 4 July – 31 August 2023 during Record Office opening hours.
Senior Curator of the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection, Angela Willis, will also be delivering a talk on the history of the caravan holiday in Hampshire at the Record Office on Monday 7 August 2023, 6.30pm – 8.30pm. Prior to the talk, visitors will be able to view the exhibition.