It’s time to get carriage(d) away, there’s a new vehicle on display in Making the Modern World. With Rocket, the first modern steam locomotive, on tour in Newcastle we’re excited to reveal the original Brougham carriage!
The Brougham (pronounced ‘broom’) marked a significant change in the design of horse-drawn carriages. It was built by London coach-builder Robinson & Cook in 1838 to the specifications of Lord Henry Brougham, after whom it is named.
Lord Brougham was Britain’s Lord Chancellor from 1830 to 1834. As a member of parliament, he campaigned for education, legal reform, and the abolition of slavery. Lord Brougham was also a co-founder of and prolific contributor to the Edinburgh Review, one of the most influential publications of the 19th century, covering topics from science to poetry.
This really was the leader of the pack. Unlike the high, heavy, bulky coaches of the time, the Brougham was a light and compact carriage that could be drawn by a single horse. Cheaper to buy and ideal for travelling around busy streets, the new carriage became an instant success with middle-class and wealthy families.
The carriage was designed to be cosy and intimate with space for two forward-facing passengers inside and room for a third next to the coachmen. Broughams and the Clarence, which developed from it, were the most popular types of closed carriages built in the late nineteenth century. They influenced the construction of carriages across the world and even early car designs.
Recognising its historical importance, the carriage’s fourth owner Earl Bathurst presented this Brougham to the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers in 1894, from whom it has been on loan to the Science Museum since 1895.