Gail Thornton
a pictorial archive of horse


The Gig

The first gigs were built around 1780.  These were simple two-wheeled light vehicles drawn by a single horse and seating two people.  Though driving tandem, one horse in front of the other became popular later. This is a very smart turn-out and could possibly be attending a wedding given the presence of the bows. The card has been used and reads "Shall be calling tomorrow" posted in Hornsea, possibly in 1906 and sent to Miss Dunn, Regents Lodge, Hessle. Whether the person driving is the person who has written the message we shall never know but it looks like the location is Hornsea as there is a church in the background.

Mrs Lewis Waller was the actress Florence West (1862-1912) who appeared with her husband in many of his outstanding successes, notably as Miladi in the Three Musketeers. This gig is very elegant as you can see by the upholstery and the turnout of the groom. The postcard was posted in Lisburn (possibly in County Antrim) on the 15th January 1903 and sent to Mrs Hunt, Conway House, which was somewhere beginning with D but the rest is unreadable. The postcard is one of the "Yes or No" Series.

This gig looks similar to the Stanhope or Dennett gig having a boot under the spindle-backed seat. Vehicles of this design are often referred to as Spindle-Back or Stick-Back gigs. In this photograph the most interesting thing is that you can clearly see that the horse has been docked. It was common to "dock" the tale of carriage horses to stop them getting their tails caught in the carriage. Nothing is written on this card to identify it in any way.

This vehicle is along the lines of a Liverpool gig as it squarer in outline to most other gigs. There is plenty of space under the seats for carrying luggage.

Gigs were commonly used by businessmen or commercial travellers though it is difficult to tell what these two gentlemen are about as one looks too young for work. However neither of them look particularly happy. The postcard has no information on the back to help identification.

This is a photograph rather than a postcard but it shows a beautiful example of a baskey weave gig.  One would assume, given the dress of the lady driver, along with what appears to be a servant in the background standing in the front garder of a double fronted 'lodge' that ths person is very well to do.  

Another well turned out gig with a gentleman driver in top hat.  It is hard to know whether this gentleman is the owner of the large house "Maxwelton" or the driver waiting for the "Master".  It has not been postally used so no clues as to where this has been taken.

A beautiful dapple grey horse is harnessed to this gig.  Given the other vehicles that can just be seen behind this gig, and the area it is stood in, it could be that this is a vehicle for hire.  its squar appearance would suggest another Liverpool Gig.

It is difficult to say whether the decoration on this gig is for a wedding or a fete.  With the gentleman in a straw boater it could suggest the latter.  Unfortunately though the card has been posted and written on the message does not relate to the real photograph on the front.  It has been posted in Huddersfield and sent to Miss Wood, 4 Arthur Street, off Victoria Street, Cleckheaton.  It reads "Dear Friend.  Just a line to say that I got home alright I had not long to wait a car and some one asked me if I had not been where they had a garded. They thought that what I had was real.  My brother as been to the Dr this week for his cough and it is a lot better. If you go to see Mrs Mortimer this week give my love to her hoping she is much better. Your sincere friend. It was posted October 1912.