Conserving history: The Thornycroft J Type vehicle

Here is the fascinating story of the Thornycroft J Type vehicle. This incredible object, part of the Hampshire County Council collection, cared for by Hampshire Cultural Trust has a special place in both automotive and wartime history. Join us as we explore the remarkable adventures of this unique vehicle and its significance in the past.

During World War I, the government ordered the Thornycroft J Type vehicle to assist in the war effort. It was one of 5,000 lorries supplied by Thornycroft Basingstoke to the war office. This special vehicle was originally equipped with an anti-aircraft gun, making it an important asset on the battlefield. Its design made it one of the most successful vehicles of its kind during the war.

A group of men carrying guns

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Thornycroft J Type fitted with an anti-aircraft gun

Once the war ended, the Thornycroft J Type vehicle underwent a transformation. The anti-aircraft gun was removed and sent back to a Thornycroft agent in Manchester. There, a new body was fitted to give the vehicle a fresh start in civilian life. This modification allowed the vehicle to be used for various purposes outside of the military and the transformation showcased the vehicle's versatility and adaptability beyond its wartime duties.

The Thornycroft J Type vehicle became part of the collection because of its historical significance and its connection to Thornycroft, the company was based in Basingstoke, Hampshire. You can find out more about the history of Thornycroft on Basingstoke here.

A history of Thornycroft of Basingstoke | Hampshire Cultural Trust Online Collections
The Thornycroft name has been associated with shipbuilding, marine engineering and other activities for well over a century. However, there are many people living today who can remember when the Thornycroft company, despite its mainstream nautical activities, was once a notable manufacturer of comme…

The vehicle was purchased by Hampshire County Council 33 years ago for the museum collection. It was displayed as a static exhibit at Milestones Museum until 2015. Exciting plans are now underway to conserve and restore the vehicle, thanks to the support from Engert Watford Motor Museum.

An old truck parked in front of a building

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Thornycroft J-Type outside City Museum, Winchester

The Thornycroft J Type vehicle is a special object that takes us back in time to an era of innovation. From its crucial role in the war to its transformation for civilian life, this vehicle has witnessed remarkable adventures.

Stay connected with Hampshire Cultural Trust as we work to preserve this extraordinary piece of history. We are dedicated to conserving the J-Type, enabling it to make appearances at various events and venues within the wider community. Be sure to stay updated for all the exciting progress we make along the way!

To find out more about this project, click here.

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This article was written by:
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Emma Banks

Collections Programme Manager
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