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Take a step back in time with our 1955 Winchester Pipit
This new year not only sees the extension of our caravan family with the addition of our new special edition Winchester Caravans Lunar Inspiration range, now in stock, but also the recent arrival of a charming ancestor to the modern caravans of today.
We are excited to introduce to you the 2 Berth Winchester Pipit, currently on display inside our sales centre. Hailing from 1955, she has been with us for just over three weeks now and has certainly been turning heads with her elegance and old-world charms.
Our Winchester Pipit
With help from the previous owners of the Pipit as well as from staff and volunteers at Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection, which is based at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, we have managed to uncover a wealth of photographs and information relating to the history of the Winchester Pipit, and also the company that created it, Bertram Hutchings Caravans Ltd.
Bertram Hutchings Caravans Ltd, was started in 1912, by Bertram Hutchings himself, a health food shop owner from Winchester. After he had been caravanning, he felt there was a market for a smaller caravan than those he had holidayed in. He had relatives in the coachbuilding industry, and started to produce his own models, first producing horse drawn timber-framed caravans. However, these were still quite heavy, and he felt a lighter, easier to handle caravan would be better, so employed craftsmen to build his own more bespoke designs, and eventually in the 1930s the Winchester caravan range was truly born.
Bertram Hutchings Caravans displaying the Winchester range at a caravan sales show
Built in Winchester, the range included stylish designs such as the Widgeon, and the Royal, and of course the Pipit. The name Winchester became synonymous with “quality and fine craftsmanship” as well as tradition.
Bertram Hutchings would take his family away in many of the models across the country and also abroad, to test them thoroughly. Over the years, the Winchester range won various awards to highlight the high standard of design, build, and customer satisfaction. Models of the range won the Caravan Road Rally in 1954, as well as the Trade Class (with Bertram Hutchings himself at the helm) in the Concours d’Elegance at the Caravan Club Road Rally in 1955. The Pipit itself also gained the overall title at the Caravan Road Rally in 1956 too! Take a look here some of the earliest video footage of the 1955 Caravan Club British Road Rally, featuring a Winchester Pipit, just like ours (skip to 5.43 if you can’t wait!) Bertram Hutchings was an innovative, forward thinker, who also experimented with building early motorhomes, and took all of his own promotional photographs for his company.
This care and consideration for the craftsmanship of the range resonated with its customers, evidence of which can be seen in the many outstanding reviews the products and company themselves received. Lord Garvagh stated: “..most satisfactory in every way. The gas-powered lighting and cooking are simply grand. The caravan tows at high speed to perfection”. The Winchesters found their way across the globe with great reviews coming from as far afield as Vancouver and Tasmania!
Back in Hampshire, our Pipit, nestled in the corner of our showroom, is a fine example of a Winchester Caravan. We are looking to restore her to her original glory so that she can be here to delight our staff and customers for years to come. She still tows well and a lot of the original features are present; she has been very well looked after over the years, giving a good idea of the luxury that could be afforded to a high-grade caravan of the era.
Her light grey bodyshell is “coach built throughout of specially selected and seasoned timbers and materials’’, and her silvery windows - including the stunning front bay window - are thoughtfully “positioned lower than most makes to facilitate good vision through the caravan from the driver’s mirror”.
The Pipit features a high-class finish including “tailor-made” soft furnishings with sprung, reversible beds as well as wardrobes and cupboards which are “cabinet made in figured oak and polished with superior-finish lacquer”.
By taking a step into our Pipit you are not only taking a step into the height of traditional 1950’s craftsmanship but also a step back into caravanning history. It is evident in comparison to our 2019 models how caravans have changed over the years, especially with regard to advances in technology and building methods.
Nowadays, top of the range models have full electric lighting, fridge freezers, television aerials, radios, and microwaves often as standard, as well as some of the most recent innovations such as solar panels, motor movers and electronic levelling systems, available to be fitted as extras.
The Winchester range was known as the “Rolls Royce of Caravans” in its day, gaining this reputation from the quality of its construction and its contemporary features, such as 12v interior lighting, a heating stove for those wintery excursions and an internal toilet (a luxury back then) as well as a gas cooking stove and folding worktop.
So, take a nostalgic trip back in time with us - pop in and view our latest model, she is certainly very special!
And, if you happen to have been lucky enough to experience the joy of a holiday in a caravan like the Winchester Pipit and have any treasured memories you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you!
-From all the team at Winchester Caravans
-With special thanks to Mr and Mrs Caddy of Romsey, and Richard Noyce and colleagues at the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection, at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
The workers of Bertram Hutchings Caravans Ltd, at the factory in Winchester
A holiday snap of the Winchester Pipit
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