Thrupp & Maberly

Last updated

Piccadilly scene Hatchetts - the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly by James Pollard.jpg
Piccadilly scene
Promenade carriage or shooting brake for Queen Maria II of Portugal Royal Charabanc (19th century) (26769741549).jpg
Promenade carriage or shooting brake for Queen Maria II of Portugal

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

Drag (and greys) James Pollard - John Smith Barry's Private Drag and Grey Team - Google Art Project.jpg
Drag (and greys)

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] Though his best known coachbuilder descendant was 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 his nephew Henry East Thrupp (1774-1852), [note 2] father of coach builder Robert (1813-1871), together with Joseph's much younger fourth son Charles Joseph Thrupp (1791-1872), [note 3] who left his nine surviving children £30,000. Those nine children included George Athelstane Thrupp (1822-1905) and it was G A Thrupp's sister, Ellen (1829-1914), who married business partner George Henry Maberly (1836-1901) in 1869. [4]

and Mr Maberly

A decade before, at the beginning of 1858, coachbuilder George Maberly (1797-1883) had merged his own 70 Welbeck Street business with Thrupps becoming their partner. [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]

on a Humber Snipe 80 chassis 1934 Paris - Retromobile 2014 - Humber Snipe 80 Landaulette par Thrupp & Maberley - 1934 - 004.jpg
on a Humber Snipe 80 chassis 1934
Drophead coupe
on a Derby Bentley chassis 1934 1934 Bentley 3.5 Litre Thrupp & Maberly DHC - svl.jpg
Drophead coupé
on a Derby Bentley chassis 1934
2-door tourer
on a Rolls-Royce chassis 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Thrupp & Maberly 1935.jpg
2-door tourer
on a Rolls-Royce chassis 1935
Thrupp & Maberley at the very left of this picture, Oxford Street 1875 Oxford Street, looking west from Duke Street. Site of Selfridges on the right.jpg
Thrupp & Maberley at the very left of this picture, Oxford Street 1875

George Athelstane Thrupp

Head of his family's coachbuilding firm George Athelstane Thrupp (1822-1905) 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 Athelstane 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 sister's son, Gerald Clare Maberly (1871-1961), became a barrister.


For many years this business operated from 269 (renumbered 425) Oxford Street, London, with access from the side street, George Street (now Lumley Street). In 1914 their premises which had included their workshops were purchased by the store on the opposite side of Oxford Street, Selfridge & Co, to open Selfridge's household department [6] though war seems to have disrupted Selfridge's plans and Thrupp & Maberly's showroom remained at that address until 1916. That year they moved the showroom along to 475 Oxford Street then moved again in late 1921 to 20 North Audley Street, all in the same locality. When the Rootes brothers took control Thrupp & Maberly was moved a mile further south and set up in Rootes' new premises in the new Devonshire House, Piccadilly, opening there 22 September 1926. [7] There again they advertised 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 new member of the Rootes Group. [9]

In 1863 they advertised they were Coach Builders & Harness-Makers by Appointment to the Queen. 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 being made for staff cars during World War I. [10]

Pullman limousine
on a Humber chassis 1949 1949 Humber Pullman MkII.JPG
Pullman limousine
on a Humber chassis 1949
Open two-seater 1953
Sunbeam Alpine Sunbeam Alpine Mk1 1954 in Morges 2012 - Side 2.jpg
Open two-seater 1953
Sunbeam Alpine
Humber Imperial 1964
a Humber Super Snipe with luxury finishes Humber Imperial.jpg
Humber Imperial 1964
a Humber Super Snipe with luxury finishes
Notable family members Notable Thrupps.jpg
Notable family members

After the 1914-1918 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 catalogued open-top Humbers. [10] By the mid-1960s, this work was also in decline, and the Cricklewood factory closed in 1967 [11] when employee numbers had fallen to 1,000. [12]

At the time of its sale in January 1968 the Cricklewood factory on Edgware Road by the North Circular Road contained 120,000 square feet on a site of six acres. [13]

West End addresses

1. 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

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

2. 475 Oxford Street until 1922

3. 20 North Audley Street until 1926

4. 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. [14]


  1. Thrupp, Henry East, son of Robert, St James. Apprenticed smith to Henry East, 8 January 1789 - Blacksmith's Company apprenticeship abstracts (possibly his grandfather)
  2. ODNB shows an incorrect death date

Related Research Articles

H. J. Mulliner & Co. company

H. J. Mulliner & Co. was a well-known British coachbuilder operating from Bedford Park, Chiswick, West London. The company which owned it was formed by H J Mulliner in 1897 but the business was a continuing branch of a family business founded in Northampton in the 1760s to hire out carriages. In December 1909 the controlling interest in this company passed to John Croall & Sons of Edinburgh. Croall sold that interest to Rolls-Royce in 1959.

Sunbeam Motor Car Company automotive and engineering manufacturer

Sunbeam Motor Car Company Limited was a British motor car manufacturer with its works at Moorfields in Blakenhall, a suburb of Wolverhampton in the county of Staffordshire, now West Midlands. Its Sunbeam name had been registered by John Marston in 1888 for his bicycle manufacturing business. Sunbeam motor car manufacture began in 1901. The motor business was sold to a newly incorporated Sunbeam Motor Car Company Limited in 1905 to separate it from Marston's pedal bicycle business; Sunbeam motorcycles were not made until 1912.

Humber Limited automotive company

Humber Limited was a British manufacturer of bicycles, motorcycles and motor vehicles incorporated and listed on the stock exchange in 1887. It took the name Humber & Co Limited because of the high reputation of the products of one of the constituent businesses that had belonged to Thomas Humber. A financial reconstruction in 1899 transferred its business to Humber Limited.

Coachbuilder occupation

A coachbuilder, or body-maker, manufactures bodies for passenger-carrying vehicles. Coachwork is the body of an automobile, bus, horse-drawn carriage, or railroad passenger car. The word "coach" was derived from the Hungarian town of Kocs.

The London Taxi Company was a taxi design and manufacturing company based in Coventry, England. It formerly traded as London Taxis International and Carbodies.

Hooper (coachbuilder) British coachbuilding company

Hooper & Co. was a British coachbuilding company based in Westminster London. From 1805 to 1959 it was a notably successful maker, to special order, of luxury carriages both horse-drawn and motor-powered.


Sunbeam-Talbot Limited was a British motor manufacturing business. It built upmarket sports-saloon versions of Rootes Group cars from 1935 to 1954. As Clément-Talbot Limited it had made Talbot cars since 1902.

Mulliners Limited of Birmingham was a British coachbuilding business in Bordesley Green, with factories in Bordesley Green and Cherrywood Roads. It made standard bodies for specialist car manufacturers. In the 19th century there were family ties with founders Mulliners of Northampton and the businesses of other Mulliner brothers and cousins but it became a quite separate business belonging to Herbert Mulliner.

Humber Pullman car model

The Humber Pullman is a four-door limousine which was introduced by the British Humber company in 1930 as a successor to the Humber 20/65 hp and long-wheelbase version of the Humber Snipe.

Cunard (coachbuilder)

The Cunard Motor & Carriage company was a British vehicle coachbuilder. It was founded in London in 1911 and continued in various forms up to the 1960s.

Barker (coachbuilder) coachbuilder

Barker & Co. was a coachbuilder, a maker of carriages and in the 20th century bodywork for prestige cars.

Corsica Coachworks

Corsica Coachworks was a small coachbuilding business founded in 1920 just after World War I. They were builders of true bespoke car bodies employing no in-house designer. They realised clients' designs for them. Almost every Corsica body is unique.

Hillman 20

The Hillman Wizard 75, Hillman Twenty 70, Hillman Hawk and their long wheelbase variants Hillman Seven Seater and Hillman 80 models were a series of 20 horsepower medium priced 5-7 seater executive cars made by Hillman during the 1930s.

Arthur Mulliner

Arthur Mulliner was the 20th century name of a coachbuilding business founded in Northampton in 1760 which remained in family ownership. The business was acquired by Henlys Limited in 1940 and lost its separate identity.

Darracq Motor Engineering Company Limited was a London importer, retailer and wholesaler of French-made Darracq and Talbot automobiles, a coachbuilder making regular production runs of bodies for S T D group products and a property holding company on behalf of its parent S T D Motors Limited.

W & G Du Cros

W & G Du Cros Limited also well-known as W & G was a business established in 1901 as a motor importers and dealership by Harvey Du Cros, founder of the pneumatic tyre industry also founder and head of the Dunlop Rubber Company and a major investor in businesses connected to the automobile. It grew into a major taxicab business and car and commercial motor-body builder which manufactured it own brand lorries and passenger vehicles.

Joseph Cockshoot was an English coachbuilder and car dealer based in Manchester.

Mayfair Carriage Co

Mayfair Carriage Co Limited owned a London coachbuilder and dealer in second hand large cars in Kilburn then, from 1934, at The Hyde, Edgeware Road NW9.

Holland & Holland coachbuilders

Holland & Holland were a London firm of coachbuilders active over the century before the First World War. Their showroom was at 254 Oxford Street West and their works at 10, 25 to 27 and 45 North Row between Grosvenor Square and Oxford Street.

Grosvenor Carriage Company

The Grosvenor Carriage Company Ltd was a British coachbuilder founded in around 1910 and based in Kilburn in North West London. They ceased operations sometime in the 1960s.


  1. "200 Years Of British Coach-Building". The Times (54744). 12 April 1960. p. 3.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Goodman, Bryan K. (2004). "Thrupp, George Athelstane (1822–1905)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  3. Greenwood, Martin (2004). "Thrupp, Frederick (1812–1895)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  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 (22922). 20 February 1858. p. 2.
  6. "Selfridge's New Capital". The Times (40481). 26 March 1914. p. 23.
  7. The Times, Tuesday, 21 September 1926; pg. 3; Issue 44382
  8. Classified advertising, The Times, Tuesday, 3 May 1927; pg. 2; Issue 44571
  9. Rootes Motors Limited. The Times, Monday, 21 November 1949; pg. 8; Issue 51544
  10. 1 2 3 4 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, 19 June 1967; pg. 24; Issue 56971.
  12. J. S. Cockburn, H. P. F. King, K. G. T. McDonnell, A History of the County of Middlesex - Volume 5 - Page 77, Institute of Historical Research, 1976
  13. Design increases floor space. The Times, Monday, 22 January 1968; pg. 15; Issue 57155
  14. Robson's London Directory for 1842, Robson & Co, Cheapside 1842

Further reading