In the Museum there is an example of an Edwardian pram. It is well worth looking at closely. It is one of the museum's special items and it was donated to the Society after being used in the locality.
The history of the pram is an interesting one and is outlined below.
The Perambulator, to give it its correct name, is basically an old fashioned traditional style coach-built carriage. This is the alternative to a pushchair, which is the British version of a stroller. The pram was invented at the end of the nineteenth century and was made presentable by Queen Victoria. The appearance of this rolling vehicle into baby-care was a logical consequence of the common child-rearing practices of the more affluent classes of society at that time. It was quite usual in wealthy families to have their children raised by nurses and nannies, often completely outside of the family circle. Not having to look after your own children as parents was a sign of a household with sufficient staff that would take over the child-rearing chores. The poorer members of society had to rely on unconventional means to transport their children, such as slings or coats transformed in a way to make carrying easier. There is no doubt of the advantage these buggies brought; with their ability to be pushed from the rear, allowing the infant to be in eyesight at all times. Steering could in the early days be difficult, with wheels appearing to have a mind of their own, but modern prams are now effectively four wheel drive, making it a reasonably stress free practice - unless the infant is playing up that is! Creative engineering sees the pram developing significantly from early versions; these days it is possible to get innovative buggies which possess 2 separate sets of wheels.
Carriage built prams, or coach built as they are also referred to, are a style of perambulator which is built like the coaches which preceded them in history. Wide, high bodies, with large folding hoods are their characteristic, as is a traditional suspension, either using springs, spring leaves, or leather straps to suspend the body of the pram on the frame. Carriage built prams have connectors which allow the carriage body to be removed from a frame, or to be rotated to face toward or away from the handles. These carriage built prams also have arms on the hood (usually of metal) which allow it to be locked into open an position. Releasing the bows allows the hood to open and lie in a folded position. There is a system of straps, usually somewhat like a vest, which acts as a harness and is used to keep the baby or toddler anchored in carriage built prams or pushchair. These may be built into the vehicle, or could be a separate accessory. A fabric or vinyl or a combination of both shield, covers over the open top of carriages body, usually offering protection from all weathers. The carriage built prams are usually very comfortable and roomy for the baby, allowing it to lay flat. The chassis of the carriage built prams are vital; a need for a soft spring suspension is important, as the baby needs a smooth ride.
Antique wicker prams are nowadays very popular and much sought after. The antique wicker prams are often lined with satin ribbon for an extra touch. They can commonly be found with brightly coloured accents, with wooden wheels on a metal rim and wooden handles. Frequently these antique wicker prams will be decorated with stencilling and come with port hole canopies.