• Conservator Nigel Spender with The Little Giant
  • The Little Giant
  • Little Giant engine
  • Workshop at Chilcomb House
  • Little Giant
  • Thornycroft J type
  • £200,000 grant will fund restoration of three historically significant vehicles
  • Restored vehicles will be on permanent display or travel to selected events in the community
  • Transport collection open to the public for Heritage Open Days tour


Three historically significant vehicles can now be restored thanks to a £200,000 grant.

Hampshire Cultural Trust, which cares for Hampshire’s unique industrial heritage collection, has received a grant of £200,000 from The Engert Watford Motor Museum to repair the vehicles, which will be restored as part of a three-year project. The eventual aim is for the restored vehicles either to be on permanent public display at Basingstoke’s Milestones Museum, which is home to the majority of Hampshire Cultural Trust’s historic vehicle collection, or sufficiently operational to attend targeted events and venues in the wider community.

The three vehicles that are part of the project are a steam wagon, a World War I truck and an electric delivery van. Built in 1924, the Tasker Steam Wagon – or Little Giant – is the only surviving example of its kind. It has travelled nearly 3000 miles in the past 10 years to be showcased at public events, but is currently being operated with its original, nearly 100 year old boiler, which needs a major overhaul.

The second vehicle is a Thornycroft J Type which saw active service in World War I: originally fitted with an anti-aircraft gun, it was delivered to the War Office on 28 March 1916 and is now one of just a handful that are still in operation. The vehicle is a key part of the World War I story told at Milestones but is currently in need of a complete gearbox rebuild.

The final vehicle is a battery-powered Morrison Electricar, which was built in 1947 and originally purchased for Portsea Co-Op. Currently not on public display, the Electricar requires full restoration to return it to operational condition. Once conserved, it will go on display at Milestones Museum where it will help to tell the story of electric vehicle technology.

Emma Banks, Collections Programme Manager at Hampshire Cultural Trust, commented: ‘We are thrilled to have received this grant from The Engert Watford Motor Museum, which will enable us to carry out much-needed conservation work so that these vehicles can once again be seen and experienced both by visitors to Milestones and out in the community. The conservation facilities that we have here at Hampshire Cultural Trust are now rare in the UK – there are very few other organisations that have a specialist industrial heritage conservator, and all of our restoration and conservation work is done in-house. Not only will this grant allow us to restore these three really very special vehicles, but it will also allow us to invest in the latest technology and to retain and develop our traditional skills base, helping to ensure the future resilience of this highly specialist conservation area.’

On Thursday 14 September, there is a tour of the transport collection at Hampshire Cultural Trust’s site in Winchester as part of Heritage Open Days. Visitors will have the opportunity to get up close to some of the vehicles, look at archive material such as engineering drawings and meet staff and volunteers, who will be on hand to talk about the work they undertake to care for the collections.

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