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Homepage. This page: Five photographs of a pre-war Morris lorry on a family holiday in the early 1950s.

1930s Morris Commercial.

Alan kindly sent over the five photographs that are featured below. The lorry belonged to his father, and is seen here on a family holiday to Dymchurch in Kent, in 1953. Despite the old Morris looking quite long in the tooth, these photos are a reminder of how common it was to see well-worn vehicles continuing to be worked, many years after they first took to the road. The Morris in these photographs date to the mid/late 1930s, so was getting on for 25-30 years of age by the time of these photos, and had lasted the duration of the war.
The Morris' registration was BUR 365, a Hertfordshire number from 1936 onwards.
The first of Alan's photos shows a side view of the pre-war van, with the family sat alongside. Note how both cab doors are drooping, a clear indication of the vehicle's hard life.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Pre-war Morris Commercial van
Photograph number two is a close-up of the children sat in the van's cab, the "Morris-Commercial" badge clearly in evidence on the radiator surround. The driver's door also has evidence of droop, also note the semaphore indicators fitted behind the cab doors. Whereas saloons usually had semaphores set flush into the side of their bodywork, old commercials tended to have semaphore indicators (or "trafficators") housed within boxes attached to the outside of the body.
Looking into the Morris' cab
The next picture shows the same scene but from slightly further away. Either the Morris is parked on very uneven ground, or else the nearside springs are sagging somewhat. Perhaps a combination of both. The Lucas sidelamp appears to be missing from the nearside front mudguard.
Front view of the Morris
The van had been extended at some point for increased carrying capacity, the extension can be clearly seen in this next family photo.
Extended van body
The last of these photos shows the family sat at the roadside, preparing to sup a cup of tea. The unscheduled stop had been caused by the Morris acquiring a puncture. Alan remembers the old Morris well, and adds:
"Photos of dad's 1936 Morris "Commercial", which as you can see was a bit of a wreck from having a hard working life before dad bought it. Dad got pulled up by the police several times because of it's extended body causing it to sag in it's rear end, it's age, & the missing side light, (which dad replaced), on the front mudguard."
Stop to repair a punctured tyre
"You are right about people repairing their old vehicles in the 1950s etc., because I remember that food coupons were still in use then for various items, & most people were prudent with their money. Dad bought the van because it cost him only 12 pounds.
Although the van was old, in Aug. 1952 dad drove us in it from our home in St. Mary Cray, Kent to Kingkerswell in Devon for a 2-week holiday in a farmer's field (with his permission), on the outskirts of this village. It had a rotor button failure on the trip there, & dad had to walk approx. 5 miles further down the road to Lyme Regis to buy a new one, & then walk back to fit it. It was a great holiday with nice warm weather & great coastal scenery in the area. I don't have any photos of that trip because dad didn't have a camera then.
I revisited & photographed this village & the field that we camped in there when I was on holidays in England in 2001. The village & field were exactly as I remembered them!
As you can see in the Dymchurch photos, it was very cloudy, cold, & windy almost ever day of our 2-week August 1953 holiday there. My brothers & sisters & I slept in the back of the van on both of these holidays.
Several times dad let us three boys sit on his lap & steer the van on "quiet" roads. Great fun!"
Thanks for sending this latest set of photos over Alan. Later his family moved to Australia, and photos of their late '40s Bedford wagon/estate car can be found on this page.
Other Morris Commercials featured on the site include a signwritten R-Type Morris Commercial, and a well-worked Leader also from the 1930s.
Return to Page 12 in the vintage and classic car gallery.

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