Manchester Area 1913
Herbert LomasHerbert Lomas Ambulances Ltd became a Private Limited Company with a date of Incorporation of 8th December 1913 having a Company Registration Number of 00132628.
(Ref : http://www.rtrehearn.plus.com/lomas_ambulances.htm)
There is some evidence of the Lomas name being associated as a Wheelwright around the Manchester area possibly with links back to the 1860's.
The Lomas factory was located at the Handforth works near Wilmslow, Cheshire. They continued building vehicles right through until 1981.
The start …..In 1948 the first Land Rover was built, called today the Series 1 LandRover 80, but then just the Land Rover. The company Rover had spare capacity in its factories following WW II, so they were looking to expand its manufacturing into vehicles. With such Issues as the lack of steel available following the war, a utility vehicle was built using aluminium panelling, of which there was surplus from building aircraft.
The first Land Rover was born……….Click Here for a history of the LandRover
Altrincham Cheshire 1965
Our Ambulance was built in 1965, on a LandRover Series 2a Cab and Chassis as a civilian model, it was then used as a demonstrator by Herbert Lomas themselves for a couple of years, hence its Registration of VTU104E, which is 1967, two years later. This was the year it was first registered and sold to somerset County Council.
Minehead, Exmore & Somerset 1967
Her First Proper Job !After her spell as a demonstrator and registration she started work in 1967 in Minehead working in the Exmoor area, (an ideal part of the country for a LandRover)
During this time we believe she would have been painted blue, which was the colour of Somerset County Council.
We have heard there is a photograph in existence of her at the hospital, but have yet to discover it. Any news would be welcome.
As you would imagine the Land Rover would have made an excellent choice for the rural countryside around this area. Ambulances at this time were all about transport, without the modern paramedic capabilities you have in todays vehicles. Sometimes with a nurse, basic first aid and help would be provide, but it was all about getting the patient to a hospital.
For significant incidents a doctor would often follow up in a separate car or meet up with the ambulance at the indent.
Whilst the old leaf-spring suspension would have been useful in the outdoor tracks and roads, I can't imagine the ride back to a hospital with any sort of injury, broken bones etc. Not what you call 'air suspension'
Humans were a hardy bunch in those days!
Highbridge 1970's we think?
A new Paint JobFollowing service with Somerset Council she moved to Highbridge hospital, situated on the edge of the Somerset Levels. Here we believe she was re-painted cream, which is the colour she remains to date.
Again we have very little details of her during this time.
The ambulance was fitted with Winkworth bell on the front bumper (now with a replacement today) which was designed to be electrically operated. There is a quote from a policeman from around the 1960's who referred to the bells as frequently failing because of the exposure to the elements. He had a piece of 'emergency string' which he used to tie to the bells clapper and feed into the cabin of his vehicle.
I like to think this is a possibility for our ambulance. Hurtling along at the huge speed of 40MPH with a driver furiously tugging his piece of string to ring the bell whilst all the time trying to keep a Landy in a straight line. A great image…..
the Red CrossAs you can see in the photograph above, it would have made an ideal vehicle for motor cross racing support and off-roading events. The photograph above is actually our ambulance at work. We do not know where or when, but you can clearly see the registration number in the photograph. (or can in the non internet version of the pic which is slightly better resolution)
went private 1989
Acquired by Kevin LewisAfter her work with the red cross she was finally retired to Doncaster where a Series 2 fan acquired her and started to restore and maintain herI can only imagine how the years of outdoor life had battered her somewhat - Rusty subframes, wood framed coach build, she was probably in quite a tired old state. Unfortunately Kevin then lost the storage facility and then looked to pass the vehicle on to a good home..
Yorkshire ! 2001-2003
Adopted by Paul
There then followed an amazing story of her rebuild …………so I just thought that it would be an easy rebuild. HOW WRONG WAS I. we all do this, we start then it gets bigger and bigger, then we wish we had not startedPaul LundWe are fortunate that Paul documented his re-build and there is a link on the button alongside to a website with a detailed account of Pauls story with the ambulance
still in Yorkshire 2004-2007
The shows and fame
There followed over the next few years many other shows. Paul used to have an old bed pan which he used to collect for the 'Air Ambulance ' charity.
Articles in LRM and LRM magazines followed, copies of which we still have stored safe with the ambulance.
Then came the real fame …………………….
The production team at Heartbeat and the Royal came knocking and asked if the Lomas could appear on the show. She did..
She appears in a number of episodes over that time. 'Special Permission' was granted to allow the ambulance to have the North Riding Crest livery added for the filming
The Norwegian Adventure !
Over the preceding years a Norwegian Land Rover collector had been busy buying and collecting a huge range of quite specialist old Land Rover vehicles. They were being shipped out to Norway and his intentions were for the collection to go on show as a form of museum for the vehicles.
Paul agreed to sell the ambulance understanding it was going to a good home as a museum type exhibit, even being told there were other emergency vehicles, including a fire engine, that it would be exhibited beside.
Unfortunately in 2010 it became apparent to the Norwegian authorities that there was a problem with the collectionThe hobby became a passion, then the passion became an obsession. But no one man can sensibly deal with so many Land Rovers.Classic LRO Feb 2011Unfortunately the collection of 97 Land Rover vehicles had been left in a sorry state at a lock-up and down. Many vehicles had been left outdoors and left to the elements, vandals and thieves.
This was the case with the Lomas. She was out doors, with her glasswork smashed, parts stolen and all the interior period ambulance equipment (stretchers etc.) again stolen.
There are youtube clips which show them being discovered, and which also show the lomas ambulance. Click on the link to view the clip…
Back in the UK 2013
Saved !John Craddock and Exmoor Trim bought 31 of the rarest models back into Britain from the full collection. From whom it was purchased in 2013 for the start of a re-restoration here in the UK.
UK October 2013
The Restoration begins (again)
Deapest Wigan (ish) Oct 2015 - April 2015
Adopted by us here Near Wigan, with more Work ! and a refitWe had been looking for a VW camper van to be honest, for 18months or so, hiring one in the summer of 2015 to attend a music festival and enjoying the whole experience. But what to get, and the prices were soaring …….
This is where I Blame George Clarke (Him of TV fame)
Sitting in the lounge around September we were watching George Clarkes Amazing Spaces on television, when up pops on the credits a quick flash of an old converted ambulance camper van. "What about an old ambulance" queried the good lady, already scrambling for the iPAD and google… two searches later up popped Annie. Land Rover Series ambulance for sale. Now I have always loved Land Rovers having a farming background, and it would make a great camper. Double win !!!
A quick trip to Thirsk in North Yorkshire, and two weeks later we are the very proud owners of one ambulance. (Not at that time did we realise its unique history)
Still near Wigan Oct 15 - May 16 (Cont)
Ambulance? Camper? ? ? ? ? ?Along with Annie came a lot of information, documents and CD's, as well as this we had started to do some googling as you do. Annie's history started to become apparent.
Not least of all is the fact we believe her to be the only Civilian Lomas Land Rover ambulance from this Period still running.
The question then was what do we do with a fit-out. An engineer and draughtsman by trade I started to have a slightly mad plan that we could fit out the back of the ambulance as a camper, however keep the design modular, lift-in / lift-out. This concept would also allow us to remove the camper inners fairly easily and re-fit with period ambulance equipment, allowing her to be shown in her true self for shows, or even more TV work.
We also wanted to start to use her for festival camping in the Spring of 2016, so this gave us the winter to do the fit-out.Many scribbles, measurements, ideas, swearing, and sketches later we had a design.
Space to sit, then convert into a double bed
Two cupboards, one for the stove, and kitchen, the other for storage.
Both cupboards are hooked in place and can be lifted out to use when camping with an Awning.
The Fit-OutA whole stack of Marine ply and Beach veneer ply later, and some work from an excellent local Joiner / cabinet maker, we started the fit-out. First an interlocking frame, then the seat and bed tops, finally the bespoke cabinets. Then onto the soft furnishings and seat covering. (Sounds simple. !!!! ) You can see some pics on the gallery page, but just a couple her to help visualise the work.