Bertram Hutchings (1886-1967) was a pioneer of British caravanning and the founder of Bertram Hutchings Caravans Ltd, makers of high-quality and bespoke designed caravans and motorhomes from 1912-1959.
Harry Bertram Hutchings was born in Winchester, Hampshire, in December 1886, the son of Harry Albert Hutchings (1860-1937) and Diana Rose Lamb (1861-1938). He married Grace Eva Ings (1887-1977) and died aged 80 years in March 1967. They had two children Gwendolyn and Lionel.
Hutchings was an enthusiastic amateur photographer and frequently took pictures of his caravans for publicity purposes. He was a member of the Royal Photographic Society which he joined in 1933. He became an Associate the same year and gained his Fellowship in 1941.. He exhibited regularly in the Society's annual exhibition during the 1930s and 1940s with his photography typical of the pictorialist tradition prevalent amongst amateurs then. He had a specially made enlarger for his darkroom work. He was made life President of Winchester Photographic Society.
Bertram Hutchings was the owner of a health food shop in Winchester. He began caravanning after living in a tent for four months buying a horse-drawn caravan in September 1911. After designing a lighter and more portable caravan by 1912 he was building caravans commercially for hire. After the first world war the two-wheeled trailer was introduced in 1919 and the Winchester streamlined model at the 1930 Motor Show. This set the standard for caravans. The company advertised its caravans under the slogan 'the Rolls-Royce of caravans' and has as its company slogan: 'always to excel and be superior to others'.
During the second world war the production of caravans for leisure use ceased, although they were used for billeting troops and to support the war effort. After the second war war the company struggled to complete with its hand-crafting and quality materials unable to compete with cheaper, mass-produced models. Manufacturing of the Winchester models ceased in 1959. Bertram and his son, Lionel, supported the making of a new version of the Winchester by the company Stephens and West Ltd of Cirencester until 1963.
During their production the Hutchings caravans were consider the Rolls Royce of the caravanning world. The remaining archive of Bertram Hutchings Caravans, later known as Winchester Caravans, was deposited the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection in 2015 and is now housed at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.
- Harry Bertram Hutchings Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- Obituary. The Photographic Journal, April 1967, p. 154. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- RPS membership details. Supplied by email. 17 January 2021
- Items of interest. The Photographic Journal, February 1942, p. 54.
- A brief history of touring caravans. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- A drawing room on wheels. Mail Online, 30 March 2012.
- Stephens and West Ltd caravan manufacturers. Retrieved 17 January 2021
- Bertram Hutchings Caravans. Hampshire Archives Trust. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- 1926 Bertram Hutchings Voyageur Caravan. Bonhams Auction. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection. What's New. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
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