Britzchka Chariot, Shugborough

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Date:1829

Description:This Britzchka Chariot is an Anson family carriage from the Shugborough Estate and is owned and cared for by the National Trust. It was built in 1829 by the prestigious firm of Adams & Co of Haymarket, London for the second Viscount Anson, created Earl of Lichfield in 1831. The first Earl of Lichfield incurred a large amount of debt leading to a complete sale of all the contents of the house at Shugborough in 1842, including the carriages. Only the Britzschka Chariot survived this sale and may have been in use by the Earl on his travels at the time. It is likely he would have used the carriage to go on his Grand Tour travelling to Europe to study culture, art and classical architecture, and to visit spas to try to cure his chronic gout.

The Britzchka Chariot, also known as a sleeper carriage or a dormeuse is a heavy duty carriage. This type of carriage was built for long distance travel and was used by wealthy families when travelling at home and abroad and especially when journeying for several months at a time. Diplomats and King’s messengers also used them on their expeditions and they continued to be built until the development of the railways made them redundant.

The Chariot can carry two people and servants with substantial amounts of luggage. It was specifically designed to maximise passenger comfort on long journeys. The interior was designed to convert from seating to sleeping accommodation. The front boot, known as a dormeuse, opens from the inside to allow occupants to lie full length with their legs in the boot. Light could be well regulated when travelling. During the day sunshade, known as the calash, fitted above the front window could be lowered to reduce glare. It was the servant’s job to light and extinguish it from their seat. Servants, usually a ladies maid and valet would sit in the rumble seat at the rear: a folding leather head would have provided some protection against the weather. Luggage was carried in pine, leather covered cases.

This carriage has undergone extensive conservation work on the textiles, leather and paintwork revealing the original rich colours.

This horse-drawn carriage is from the National Trust's collections at Shugborough. You can find out more about the Brtizchka 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/britzchka-chariot/


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1850s
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1870s
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1900s
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1920s
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1940s
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1960s
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1980s
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2010s
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Donor ref:NT 1271499 (37/35616)

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.