Earl of Shrewsbury's State Chariot, Ingestre

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Description:State Chariots, also known as Dress Chariots, were used for court and formal occasions by royalty and families of high rank. This chariot was built in the late 19th Century by Hooper & Co. Ltd. of London, a firm famous for this type of carriage. It was built for the 20th Earl of Shrewsbury and displays the family crest on the door. State carriages were symbols of status and importance and as such were prominently decorated and more colourful than any others.

The State livery (uniform) for the coachman and two footmen was equally decorative and formal. All wore white wigs, knee breeches, silk stockings, buckled shoes and heavily braided livery jackets. The footmen would stand on the rear platform, known as the footman’s cushion, steadying themselves with the footman’s holders (straps) hanging from the edge of the roof.

This carriage was used at the Coronations of King Edward V in 1911 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It was also used for the state visit to Ireland in 1911.

As Lord High Steward of Ireland, the 21st Earl of Shrewsbury had a prominent role in the 1953 Coronation procession, and wanted to do it in style. The State Chariot was restored and new livery purchased for the footmen and coachman. The Chariot was transported by train to London and two horses were borrowed from Mitchell & Butler’s brewery, Birmingham. Although the horses were unsettled by the cheering crowds and the drums of marching bands, they managed to complete most of the 4 mile procession to Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, they came to a complete standstill about 200 yards from the Abbey entrance. At this point Lord and Lady Shrewsbury and their page jumped into an accompanying car and arrived just in time.

This horse-drawn carriage is from the Staffordshire County Museum collection. You can find out more about the State Chariot and see 3D imaging that you can rotate and zoom in to explore detail at the Staffordshire Carriage Collection website: http://www.staffordshirecarriages.org.uk/earl-of-shrewsburys-state-chariot/


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Donor ref:64.064.0005 (37/35614)

Source: Staffordshire Museum Service

Copyright information: Copyrights to all resources are retained by the individual rights holders. They have kindly made their collections available for non-commercial private study & educational use. Re-distribution of resources in any form is only permitted subject to strict adherence to the usage guidelines.