Return to home page
Index of Site contents
Thomson Caravans
Helpful advice and tips
Recommended Books and Manuals
Brochures Archive
Visit Our Features Section
My Health News
All about our Thomson T-Line Glen Nevis
Have a look through the photos of the various places we have been.
Caravn and Campsites information index page
Thomson Caravans and parts for sale
Contact Us
Looking for a website, try our comprehensive list of links.
Please Donate
Find us on Facebook
Use the search box below to find anything on Thomson Caravans History and Information
The Caravan reports on Road and site test no. 80

spacerTurbo-prop airliners were whistling softly over the Colnbrook depot of United British Caravans, on the edge of London Airport, as the test team left with the smallest Thomson, the 11ft. Glendale, on tow.
spacerPetrol shortage had made it impossible even to consider motor­ing up to the Thomson works in Scotland and we were grateful to UBC, the Home Counties distribu­tors, for their offer of a demonstration Glendale for test and for their considerable help in getting it out for the road.
spacer We were also indebted to the Standard Motor Company for our car, a spanking new Super Ten provided for the occasion so that THE CARAVAN could investigate the mysteries, or rather the simplicities, of towing with two pedal control. On the road the car and van made, quite by coincidence, a well-matched combination in tones of light brown. Inside, the furnishing scheme and colours created an immediate appeal which lasted throughout the test.

Behind the Standard Super Ten

spacerThe inverted boat shape roof, which since last year has taken the place of the familiar Thomson curved vee , looks well on a small van. The curved vee remains amidships but the ends are formed into the more rounded brows.
spacerThe stable door, although not glazed at the top, is a most attrac­tive feature to find in a small holiday van. Apart from this hot weather ventilation there is an opening window in each wall, three of them concentrated at the rear end where the children would sleep in two bunks. At the front, the dining, end, the users have the good lookout resulting from the popular wrap-round treatment. The front centre opening window is flanked by fixed lights, and there are two more adjoining them at the sides.
spacerOne of our aims with the Standard was to see how the automatic clutch would serve in stopping and restarting on a steep hill, but before attempting any strenuous climb it was felt advisable to weigh the outfit.
spacerTime, and a queue of railway vans at the weighbridge, prevented our taking the ex-works weight before loading up, but with a modest amount of personal gear, food and crockery aboard, plus a Dumpy gas cylinder and Aladdin heater , the Glendale came out at 14 ½ cwt. Of which ¾ cwt. was on the nose.
spacerTo calculate the team's kit at 2 cwt. would be generous, so that the van must have weighed 12 ½ cwt. to 13 cwt. as delivered. That means it is a lightweight in the absolute sense, but in proportion to its size it is rather heavy.

Sunshine in Burnham Beeches

spacerThe ¾ cwt. nose weight was heavier than it need have been but extra ballast had been placed at the front end to get the best towing performance. The, need for such experiments with weight distribution is quite common and all caravanners , at one time or another, have to do much the same thing.
spacerAt any rate, with the redistribution giving a by no means heavy nose weight, we found that the Standard Ten and Glendale was capable of a normal cruising speed if circumstances permitted. Our best speed, on a private track, and under ideal conditions favouring the car, was an indicated 52 mph. Behind a heavier and more powerful car there is no doubt the van would have towed at any reason speed desired.
spacerThe remarkably successful series of stops and restarts on a 1-in-6 hill, probably nearer 1-in-4 point, and after several climbs the team decided to call it a day. Just before dusk the outfit turned into a private site near Hughenden, Bucks. With the Aladdin heater giving out a healthy heat we found the Glendale comfortable and friendly. The red fitted carpet is warm and cozy and the large-patterned contemporary curtaining tones well with grey upholstery piped in yellow.
spacerAt the front end a three- seater dinette extends to a double bed measuring 4ft. 1in. x 6ft. 2in. by sliding out the nearside bedding and lowering the hook-on table. Both sides have top access bedding lockers with detachable lids and rounded bases. The lockers are also painted inside.
spacerA detachable table is secured to the front end wall by spring-loaded catches. When not in use the table is stowed conveniently against the offside wall behind as a backrest mattress and is secured by a wooden catch; a good point in a small van, surprisingly neglected by most makers.
spacerOver the centrally placed sink unit there are two large roof lockers containing a useful set of four cups, saucers tea and dinner-plates in racks. The crockery remained secure and undamaged throughout the test. The locker doors are bottom hinged and when opened one of them clears the nearby gas light globe by millimetres . The light is a bijou burner, and as it is the van's only after-dark illumination it could well be a number two.
spacerThe sink has a well- proportioned basin measuring 13 x 5 x 6 in. and when not in use is covered by an aluminium -lined lid which hinges back to form a drainer. The aluminium underside, with a well-intentioned projecting lip to stop water draining down the hinge line, has a nasty sharp edge which can scratch the back of the cook's hand when washing up.
spacerBelow the sink is a cupboard divided by a shelf and there is a similar cupboard, containing a, handy cutlery box, beneath the hot- plate recess. One or the other should be ventilated for use as a larder.
spacerCooking is done on a two-ring locker Dudley hotplate and the lid, which makes a substantial aluminium splashguard, carries a valuable folding plate rack. The front of, the hotplate recess drops down to make a small aluminium - lined working surface and is held in position by a chain.
spacerAt the rear end is a settee which converts into two single bunks, as the team discovered after vain attempts to make a double bed. It must be reported that the, task of erecting the top bunk was something of a chore. The comfortable settee consists of two mattresses, 6ft 1in x 1ft 10 ½ in., the second mattress forming a daytime back rest. Beams of wood run round the rear end walls some 33in. from the floor and to make the top bunk the loose platform is lifted on to the beams and the second mattress placed on top. The team made hard work of it and there is no doubt that a quarter or three- eights of an inch taken off the length of the baseboard would ease the job.
spacerBedding lockers run under the settee along both side walls and at first look it might appear that the central space beneath the settee should also be boxed in, but there are distinct stowage advantages in a holiday van in leaving it open, as indeed we found.
spacerThe wardrobe has a hanging space of 4ft. 3in, from a sliding metal rail and there are also four hooks for coats. There is an oval mirror on the outside of the ward­robe door and on the inside a second leaf folds round to form a partition when the door is opened.
spacerThere are no permanent vents anywhere in the body of the van. Presumably the makers feel they are unnecessary in a summer holiday model, but there is always the risk that inexperienced folk may raise an unhealthy and even dangerous fug in a cold spring or autumn spell. A small passage of air is however provided under the Perspex roof light (over the cook's head) even when this is closed; the roof light is of the frameless pattern but hinged on the forward edge so that a change of wind and rain direction creates disadvantages.

View of the centre Kitchen
spacerOn examining the fixed windows we noticed that the glazing is secured in the usual way by patent rubber mouldings and that, as on the opening windows, the walls are capped with aluminium . But in the case of the fixed lights the aluminium capping does not meet the glazed mouldings , so that a gap is left through which we could see the inside of the outer panelling and, in some cases, some of the wooden framing. Rain cannot reach these points but it would be better to protect them in case of condensation on the glass.
spacerIncidentally, although this was early spring the team experienced little trouble with condensation. Despite a trend with some manu­facturers to make their holiday van roofs with the outer aluminium and inner hardboard skins in contact, Thomson wisely provide the same cavity here as in the walls. Inner panelling is painted matt cream which, although it takes more care to keep clean, does cut down condensation. With the Aladdin heater (one of the most powerful on the market) turned full on in a cold van condensation was seen only on the windows.
View of the rear Dinette

spacerAn unusual point of construction by Thomsons is the pre-treatment which is given to the aluminium panelling . Called the Alochrom process, this is a chemical treat­ment which gives a particularly tough protective finish to the metal on both sides, Apart from providing a good paint key, its main purpose is to protect from the corrosion which aluminium is prone to suffer in certain atmos­pheres; this can even produce holes right through the metal sheet. The treatment is an excellent example of hidden value.
spacerChassis and coupling are by Brockhouse and we were impressed by the accurate matching of the over-run spring to the weight of the Glendale so that the drawpin was allowed to slide well back to apply the brakes without causing any hunting, the sign of too weak a spring. The brake size too is good for a small van.
spacerBy contrast, the brake linkage was a disappointment. Instead of being taken round a compensating pulley at the front, the cable is passed through a plain hole in the hand lever, the two strands being clamped together immediately in rear. On the test van the cable to one drum was shorter than to the other so that the two clamps needed undoing before equalizing the cable. To adjust the brakes the rear clamp is undone and secured again farther to the rear, thus shortening the effective length. A turnbuckle and compensating pulley would be simpler.
spacerThe mark of a real towing van is seen in the provision of side lights though the overall width is only 6ft. 9 ½ in. Rear reflectors are integral with twin tail lights which are fitted with twin filament bulbs to provide stop lights.
spacerDespite a few criticisms we found the Thomson Glendale the most appealing under-14-footer Thomson have produced for a long time. It is well within the scope of the popular light car and deserves a good market.

Data Panel

Price : £295.
Dimensions : Body length 11ft. 1in.; length overall 11ft. 4½in. shipping length 13ft. 10in. Overall width 6ft. 9½in.; interior width 6ft. 4in. Overall height 8ft.1in. approx.; maximum headroom 6ft. 3in, floor height 20¾in.
Weight : 14cwt. 2q. (as tested).
Undergear (not to scale): A angle 2 x 2 x ¼ in., B angle 2 x 2 x 3/16 in. Axle 1¼in. square straight. Underslung seven-leaf springs, 1¾ x ¼ x 37in. Four-stud ventilated wheels. Dunlop 4.50/4.75-16 tyres . Cam brakes 8in., cable-operated, balance and adjustment on Bulldog cable clamps. Brockhouse coupling. Four brace-operated legs.

Chassis Layout
Body construction: Body framing meranti , halved and screwed joints. Outer panels aluminium with aluminium alloy mouldings . Interior panelling cream hardboard, cavity behind. Furniture panelled in luan , visible framing obeche in contrast tone of mahogany stain. Moor yin. t. and g. Round-cornered polished alloy windows, four opening 30 x 20 in., four fixed 20 x 20 in. One frameless Perspex front-hinged roof light, 10 x 7 in. Stable door.
Three- seater double bed dinette 3ft. 9in. wide extending to 4ft. 1in. x 6ft. 2in. Top-access bedding lockers. Settee, 6ft. 1in. x 1ft. 10½in., converting to two single bunks, Top-access bedding lockers along both side walls. Mattresses to Thomson design. Dinette table 40 x 25 in. full-width front and rear end roof shelves. Roof locker over sink containing crockery. Perspex sink, aluminium -lined drainer, cupboard beneath. Two-ring Dudley hotplate with aluminium splashguard and plate rack above and cupboard below containing cutlery box. Ward­robe, 31 x 17 in., with hanging space of 4ft. 2in., sliding metal hanging rail, four hooks, shelf at bottom. Hinged panel on inside of wardrobe door forms partition. Oval mirror, 12 x 24in . approx., on outside of wardrobe door. One bijou gaslight. Fitted carpet, pelmets, curtains. Four grab handles. Full road lights.
Interior Plan

Layout : A roof shelves, B three- seater dinette, C table, D roof lockers, E sink unit, F hotplate, G bedding lockers, H settee, J wardrobe.
Makers : Thomsons (Carron) Ltd., Carron, Falkirk, Scotland. On NCC List of Approved Manufacturers.
Towing car for test : 1957 Standard Super Ten with two pedal control, weight with two crew l9cwt.

Reproduced from the May 1957 edition of The Caravan
Copyright © 2008 Thomson T-Line Caravans History & Information

Thomson Index
Use the search box below to find anything on Thomson Caravans History and Information

Please support Thomson Caravans History & Information Website by donating via Paypal
Parks index Photo Album Links Contact
Thomson Around The World
Copyright © 1998 - 2015 Thomson T-Line History & Information
Disclaimer - The information provided on this Website site is offered with no warranty as to the authenticity, suitability or competence of the individual, company or service quoted here in. The Website shall not be liable for any damage or difficulty, direct or indirect, arising from utilization of the information contained within these pages. Thomson T-Line History & Information is not responsible for the content of external website's.