Johnstons’ Sweepers

Johnston Mk1 Prototype Sweeper on the A24 opposite the Burford Bridge

A company named the Road Plant Construction Company operated from the site of this Museum in the early 20th century. It made agricultural equipment and road surface machinery and later moved to Vincent Road. In 1924 the company was taken over by Johnston Brothers.

An early piece of Johnstons’ Road Equipment on Dorking High Street

Johnstons had been set up in 1904 at Cannon Street in London to import stone from Germany for road use. With the growth of motor transport Johnstons had moved from the supply of materials into the road maintenance business, making tar spreading machines.

As road use increased Johnstons developed a wide range of road surface machines.

 From the Dorking site the company produced innovative gritters, snow ploughs and tar boilers. In 1937 Johnstons produced its first mechanical road surface cleaner, the Johnston Mobile Sweeper and Collector. It was a great advance in sweeper design. During the Second World War Johnstons’ snow ploughs were in use at 600 airfields around the country.

Still in business today; Johnstons’ are now known by the name of their parent company Bucher. The factory in Vincent Road produces road sweepers for markets all over the world, employing more than 300 people.

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