Gail Thornton
a pictorial archive of horse


The Brougham

The Brougham, pronounced broo-em, was introduced in 1838 to a design requested by Lord Brougham. He required something on the lines of a street cab but more refined and elegant, a carriage for the gentleman, which was light enough to be pulled by one horse. The first carriage was built by Robinson and Cook of London and was fitted with a sword case as weapons had to be carried for protection, particularly on long drives. This feature was omitted in later designs. If you owned a Brougham you would also need the Coachman as well as these were not vehicles that you would drive yourself.  The top hat was common attire for the Coachman along with well polished boots. Unfortunately this card has not been postally used and there is no information to help identify the driver or the house however written in pencil on the back of the card are the words “Kendal? Broadgreen, Barrowgreen, Oxenholme?” so maybe there is the clue.

Broughams became one of the best known and widely used carriages and were built by many coachbuilders each with their own ideas for improvements or adjustments.  The Brougham therefore can be seen in all shapes and sizes, some seated four, some were drawn by a pair, some had a square-front and some had a bow-front.   A luggage basket was often put on the roof so that cases could be carried as can be seen in this postcard.  The Brougham is outside the public house of Samuel William Moore, Licensed Victualler, Retailer of Wines, Spirits, Ales and Tobacco.

The interiors of many Broughams we re fitted out luxuriously to make journeys more comfortable.  The de-luxe version would come with reading lamp, looking glass, card pocket and even a clock.  Brougham’s were seen as the carriage of convenience for the gentleman and as such it became the vehicle of choice for many doctors and as a result was often referred to as the “Pill-Box”.  Once again there are no clues as to where the photograph has been taken or whose carriage it is.

This is a very impressive turnout with a well matched pair of horses and smartly dressed Coachman and Groom.  With the guardrail on the roof allowing for parcels and luggage to be transported along with passengers this was often referred to as a Station Brougham. The postcard was purchased from Arthur Davidson, Stationer, Warrington and posted on November 6th, 1904.  It was sent to Mr, Jas. Waring, 39 Scotland Road, Blackburn from Annie.  The card reads “Sorry you are not here you are missing a treat.  I have just been to see the stables with our Bert.  I shall want to come back, we are having a ripping time, Yours Annie".  Whether Bert was the groom seen here in the photograph we shall unfortunately never know.

Here we have two vehicles for the price of one outside what looks like a county seat.  You can just make out a maid stood looking out of the window upstairs. Given the buttonholes the coachman and groom are wearing, and the white bow half way down the whip one can assume that there has been a wedding.  With the luggage stacked on the second vehicle maybe they are waiting to take the bride and groom away on their honeymoon.  The wicker basket on the roof of the Brougham adds weight to the suggestion of this being a very wealthy family. The second vehicle looks like an Omnibus.

It wasn’t always necessary to have the money to purchase your own turnout you could still turn heads by acquiring it via a Jobmaster. A single Brougham could be hired for around £220 a year at the end of the 19century.  The vehicle would be turned out to a high standard, painted to your requirements and come with the horse, harness, food, shoes and should the horse become unfit for work it would be replaced. A liveried coachman would also be provided though not as the hirer’s servant, which at times caused problems.  Whether this vehicle is privately owned or hired we will never know. Neither do we know the location as the card has not been postally used or written on.

Though the front of the vehicle is difficult to see it does look like there is two windows at the side.  If this is correct I would guess at this being an example of A Double Brougham with Square front pulled by a beautiful dapple grey horse.  What looks like a white bow tied on the whip could suggest that they are on their way to or from a wedding. Unfortunately this card has not been used so we will never know.