Gail Thornton
a pictorial archive of horse


The Victoria

Opinions differ as to the origin of the Victoria. Some say it originated abroad and was introduced to England by the Prince of Wales  for his mother. In Gilbey, “Modern Carriages’, 1905 it states that there is evidence to show that this carriage was designed by an English builder, Mr. J.C.Cooper. However the Victoria is a coachman-driven vehicle which was popular with ladies as due to their voluptuous dresses entering was easier than in other carriages. They were also able to be seen and admired even if their admires were on foot. Victoria’s were for summer afternoon drives during ‘the season’, which was usually Easter to July. This postcard gives no indication of location.

The Victoria was mostly popular amongst the wealthy. It has a low body with one forward facing seat for two passengers and a raised driver's seat supported by an iron frame. It was essentially a fine weather vehicle, the folding hood useful only during a shower. With the hood up the passengers could not be seen and if it was raining the hood would not protect their finery from the wet. The vehicle remained popular throughout the reign of Victoria. This Victoria is outside a house in Valarno, Finland but other than that has no other information to assist with identification.

Another beautiful example of a Victoria but once again there is no information to identify the coachman or the location. However you can clearly see the mud guards on this vehicle which prevents the occupants from getting dirty.

This vehicle is along the lines of a Victoria but it has no hood or raised driver's seat.  With the additional padding on the right hand seat and the whip in its holder it would appear that it has been desiged for the person seated on the right to also be the driver.  The front wheels are also very small.  It could be a very expensive and comfortable invalid carriage or a bespoke vehicle for the rich owner who preferred to drive themselves and the style would suggest a woman though this would not account for the very smart liveried person stood in front of the grey pony.  Maybe he is the driver transporting his rich, elderly lady around town in the summer months.  Unfortunately there is nothing written on the card to identify where it is or who it belongs to but it would appear that it is somewhere in Britain.