A selection from the Carriage Collection at Swingletree. Click here to see some more vehicles in the collection. All the carriages are in full working order. The collection is only open to the public by prior appointment.
ROYAL MAIL COACH
This is probably the most famous coach in Great Britain and as such deserves a whole page to itself. To read more about the coach click here.
c. 1870 by Holland & Holland
Private coaches or Park Drags were the Rolls Royce of their era & built for gentlemen who wished to drive their own four-in-hand teams for pleasure. The body was painted in darker colours than that of a mail or road coach, possibly in the family colours, the owner's crest discreetly adorning the door and hind boot panels. The rear boot is hinged at the bottom so that it can be let down to form a table & in this coach contains the original zinc lined picnic boxes.
or BODY BREAK
1880 Built by Lucas
A general purpose, coachman driven, country vehicle which would have been found in most large establishments. Used for coursing, picnics etc. It has an unusual flexible pole end which enables the pole to lower as passengers disembark - the reduced weight raising the break. As passengers mount the vehicle, the pole raises. There is no change to the pole strap adjustment.
c. 1870 by Shanks of London
The Sociable is a low-hung, pair horse, box-seat driven vehicle which carried four people sociably sitting opposite each other (hence its name). Protection against the weather is provided by a hood. Normally put to a pair but also suitable for a single horse or team. The Sociable was the favourite vehicle of Edward Prince of Wales.
The Town Coach is a less formal version of the state coach built for city or family use. They were developed from the cumbersome coaches of the 17th Century but by the end of the 19th Century were more elegant. This coach was built in Germany, its axles and running gear in London, but spent its working life in France.
Hearses, designed to convey a coffin, were constructed in large numbers in varying degrees of grandeur, always painted black except those for children which were finished in white. Horses were usually black - if not they wore drapes. This hearse used to be the property of the Co-Op of Hadleigh, Suffolk. A country style hearse it was last used in London in 1979. Folklore forbids a hearse from being cleaned or repaired unless it has a firm engagement booked - the superstition is that if it is readied the hearse will always find itself work!
© John Parker