Records of Hooper & Co (Coachbuilders) Ltd

Hooper & Co (Coachbuilders) Ltd

The materials in the collection held by the Science Museum represent the period of manufacture by Hooper & Co of carriages and bespoke motor car bodies from 1828-1959. Since the Science Museum does not hold the entire company archive, most of the series in the collection are incomplete and contain gaps.

A series of 10 order books (1879-1922) provides details of customer orders and includes the customer’s name, details of purchase, hire or repair required, charge made, details of vehicle (carriage or motor car). Each volume is indexed by customer name. The 20 Royal Warrants, (1830-1956) are indicative of the company’s appointment as coachbuilders (and later motor vehicles) to the royal family.

Production records (1840-1959) provide information about production work undertaken, delivery details, motor body numbers and specifications.

The collection also includes some financial records, namely a prime cost book (1828-1845), giving detailed costs of materials and processes necessary in meeting orders; smith’s journeyman's prices (for the use of the piecework smith), arranged by carriage type (c.1855); two volumes of client payment ledgers (1864 – 1907); 35 volumes of sales sheets from 1922-1944 and a volume comprising costings for standard saloon body manufacture, 1936-1938.

The three volumes of drawing registers (1929-1959) include an alphabetical list of customers with drawing numbers to indicate scale drawings produced for them; photographic copies of scale drawing number registers arranged in body number order and a register of full size drawings arranged in body number order,

Substantial series of photographs, art and design work comprise the largest part of the collection. This material provides a unique and insightful pictorial record of the designs and finished products and include: heraldic work which is represented in: a volume of monograms, crests and coronets etc. (1897 – 1937) which are hand-drawn designs arranged by date with an index by customer’s name; and 3 volumes of heraldic designs, dated from 1853-1895.

Photographic material consists of: a series of general photographs of Hooper motor vehicles, c.1920 – 1953; 80 photographs of Hooper-bodied cars with Rolls-Royce and non-Rolls-Royce chassis, 1909 – 1920; 2 photograph albums containing 92 photographs; a series of loose photographs of a variety of car bodies, showing interior and exterior views; a series of photographs of Daimlers, mostly Royal cars, presumably Hooper-bodied taken by press agencies and professional photographers, often recording the same event; 15 promotional photo cards; approximately 1500 original Hooper photos of cars as they left the factory, particularly in the 1950s, including photographs of interiors; photographs of carriages (c1901-1947); of particular interest is a black-and-white photo (1916) of the first aircraft to be built by Hooper & Co. Hooper aeroplane in the erecting shop: a Sopwith 1½ Strutter.

Design and art work comprises: 98 original Hooper motorcar artwork design drawings, known as renderings; 3333 Scale drawings, on tracing paper showing side views of cars and providing basic dimensions; 2 line drawings in light royal harness (no.2) and heavy ornate harness (no.6). drawn by Charles J Mackersie, harness draughts-man,

Publicity materials include off prints, articles and publicity photographs (c.1907-1957).


20.00 m; 10 plan press drawers (1.27 m per drawer)
Open Access
System of Arrangement: