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Vulcan Dropside Lorry.

Thanks to Ray, who scanned and sent over the first picture, showing a vintage British lorry parked close to a traditional public house.

Commercial vehicle photograph:

Vintage lorry from the Vulcan company
Rays says ... "Thought you might like this old pic of a Vulcan Lorry from about 1923, taken, I believe, in Deal Kent. It says "W. Jones Sandwich" on the front. Just why my grandparents took this picture I do not know! "
In the background is an old gasworks, with "Cook by Gas" emblazoned on the tower. There are in fact two lorries parked up, but only the one can clearly be made out. It looks like a Vulcan, possibly still on solid tyres, which if this is the case, possibly dates the lorry to pre-1920. Perhaps an expert on Vulcans can shed light on this?
In the shadow of the gasworks is a public house, called The Jolly Gardener, purveyors of Thompson and Sons ales? A closer look at the Vulcan shows a puddle of fluid underneath the front of the lorry, so perhaps it had boiled up, or sprung a leak outside the pub? There seems to be quite a gathering of people on the grass to the left of the photo, I wonder if something was going on, hence the photographer taking a quick snap? I guess we'll never know.
A search online for this particular pub, in Deal, Kent, brings up a planning application in 2003 to build 3 townhouses on the site of a disused pub called The Jolly Gardener, at 37 Golf Rd, Deal, so perhaps, if this photo was taken in Deal, the pub no longer exists? Saying that, another application for the same public house, this time no. 31 Golf Rd and in September 2006, details a plan to build a first floor rear extension, so does this place still exist? or was it levelled to provide space for more boring new houses? either way, I'm sure the Vulcan lorry isn't still around.

Vulcan Motor & Engineering Company

The Vulcan works was originally located further north - Southport, Lancashire to be exact, and was founded in 1904 when the first Vulcan motor-car was put on sale. They manufactured a number of vehicles, although financial woes in the 1920s and 1930s led to the Brockhouse trailer company buying them up, their interest being in the buildings and land rather than lorry manufacture. Tilling Stevens bought the rights to the Vulcan in 1931, and moved production down to Maidstone in Kent. The name finally disappeared in the early 1950s when T-S were themselves absorbed into the mighty Rootes Group empire.

A line-up of Vulcans in Australia.

Kevin in Freemantle turned up and sent over the following scanned image, which shows a fantastic line-up of Vulcans. Presumably these vehicles were supplied in kit form for assembly in Australia, to then be bodied by local coachbuilder(s). The completed lorry to the left of shot, perhaps a two-tonner, bears the legend "Motor Body Builders Fremantle" on its scuttle. Note the slim front wheels and heftier rears, both furnished with solid rubber tyres. All four lorries demonstrate the meaning of the term "positive camber", the term used for when wheels (here those on the front axles) are angled in the manner shown in the photograph. I wonder if the lighter-coloured vehicles had yet to have their engines installed (despite the presence of starting handles)?
Click to view:
Four Vulcans in Australia
The three other vehicles, all painted in a light colour, could well have been photographed shortly after being built up from kits supplied by the UK factory. They await their locally-constructed cabs and rear bodies. Two have pneumatic tyres, while the smaller example to the right has the solid rubber variety. It's very likely that the coachbuilder whose name is given on the first lorry, commissioned the taking of this photograph, perhaps for promotional purposes. The company responsible for the photograph was Illustrations Ltd, of Perth.
Happily, Kevin's scan was at quite a high resolution, revealing plenty of detail. Here's a closer look at the completed lorry, what a magic old workhorse:
Closer look at lorry number 1
Thanks for sending it over!

A WW1 Vulcan ambulance.

Bryan Ball kindly sent over the following photograph, of a WW1-era Vulcan ambulance. He adds:
I am doing my family history research. A great uncle called Frank Horton used to be employed by Vulcan Motor Company in Southport as a chief test driver. He was a medic with the RAMC during the First World War. Attached are some photos I have of him. One standing with his ambulance that was donated by Vulcan as part of the war effort, the plate on the front reads "Presented by the Directors of the Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co Ltd to be controlled by the RAOB Southport & District Motor Ambulance Corps".
WW1 Vulcan ambulance donated by the factory
What a fantastic old photo. The Vulcan was registered FY 1726, a long-running Southport registration series that lasted from 1905 right through to 1927. It's interesting to note the complete lack of tread on both front tyres (the twin rears appear to be well-endowed in this respect), and minimal lighting arrangements. Protection for the driver was also an after-thought, as was often the case on these early commercial vehicles. No windscreen or side windows to protect from the elements, although at least there was a roof. Does anyone recognise the cobbled location of this photograph? Perhaps the ornate fencing in the background offer up a clue? Thanks for sending the photo over Bryan. RAMC was the Royal Army Medical Corps, while RAOB stands for the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, an organisation that supplied a number of motor ambulances during the Great War.
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