CoachBuilt Prams



Most of   you  will be  aware  of  Jack Hampshire,   he is  the   man  who  wrote   what  has been   the  most  sought after  book on  prams  ever  written,   Prams, Mailcarts  and  Bassinets, published in  1980,  which he  wrote after  realising that  there   just  were  no  reference  books    available about  prams.     

Jack lived in  a large house   called   Bettenham Manor nr  Sissinghurst,  Kent,  where  he  had  a  collection  of  prams  which he  describes in his  book as  numbering  350 prams at  the    time of  writing.    (The  Jack Hampshire (JH)  prams   are  clearly  marked   as  being   part of  his collection   by  the    white painted    JH  name  and   the  number of the pram in his collection,  by  the  way).

Jack  said   in   the Preface  to his   book   "We are destroying too much, too fast, without realising how much we are losing ... if not now, then later, we shall all have cause to regret this loss."

How many  times  have   we heard  similar  sentiments   from  people   who  also love  the prams  that  we have  left?

When  I  bought the Millson  Portman twin pram    and  added it to the  site,   a  friend of mine,  Daniel   Olaizola    emailed  me  and  said that  she  knew that  pram,  she   had  spent  the night with it  on a  few  occasions!   Of  course, I had  to  ask  the  question  didn't  I?  It  appeared that  Dani was   a  friend of Jack's  and  used to  visit  him and his   family at  Bettenham Manor.    She  said that    in the  bedroom  where  she  slept  there  were     quite a few prams,  in fact  she  said that  she  had  to climb over  them     to get into  bed  practically!    One of these prams   had been my Millson twin,  which  excited me   no  end of  course!     Dany  sent me    some photographs  and   said that it  was   ok  for me  to add them  to the web site to show you all,   so here   they   are  finally, it has  taken  me  a  while to  get around to  posting them on here  which can be  a little   time  consuming sometimes.

I'd  like  to  thank  Dani  sincerely  for allowing me  to put the photographs onto  the  site.

Not the  best   views of  the  Millson    I'm  sure you  will  agree,  but this   pram  handle (bottom  right  corner) and  side  panel  with the  twin red  coachlines  is  my  Millson  Portman

A better    photograph of  it  an  looking  a lot   better   than  it  did  when  I  got  it.  The poor  pram had  been  bought after  JH  died  from  the  sale  of his  collection  of  prams  which I    believe  was in  2002,  although it  seems that  there  may  have  been more than one sale I have  just  heard.  After  being  sold  my  Millson  seems  to have  been left  to   it's own  devices in  a   barn in  the  south of  England  somewhere,  along  with    quite  a few  other JH  prams,  all slowly   degenerating.   It   didn't have  the  best    resting place  that's  for  sure.  Photographs    of  the pram   when I  bought it    are in  the  section   Millson Portman

This  is a photograph  of   some of the prams  leaving  Bettenhall Manor  after  JH   died. I  wonder if the  Millson  is  in  among them  somewhere? Apparently  there   were  well  over   400 prams   in the  collection  before  they had  to  be moved  out,   either  for  sale or  to  go  to  the  Museum  at Pailton, Rugby, Warwickshire   which  housed the  remainder of the prams.

Jack   with    one or  two of  his  many prams.

This is   Danielle  Olaizola  along with  Katie  Ball  another  friend  of    Jacks  who  used  to  stay  at the  house regularly.  (I  must thank  Lorna Kent here,  for  giving  me  that information)  Dani is   having  a rest   in one of   JH's   lovely prams,  can you see  her   legs  making the  most of the  foot  extension?  I have no idea  what  the    pram is  I'm afraid,  I need  some  help  if  anyone   knows  please?

Wilson La  Dauphine,  I have  heard  a  rumour  that    JH  didn't    really favour   Silver Cross and  Wilson prams,  how  true   it  is  I  can not  tell you.

How  about  a   Marmet Queen    for  a  towel  rail in your bathroom?   That  is  surely decadence isn't it?

What   we  would  all give to  go  and  see  hundreds of prams  like this.

Could  this  be  a  Millson Prince?  Not  sure,  I'll  check.

And my husband  would love the train!

There  has  been  a  great  deal of  interest  in  the  Jack Hampshire photographs   which  Dani,   kindly   allowed  me  to  put onto  the  site.  I have  had offers  of more  photographs  from   various  other  people   and  the  first of them  came  from Jan Oakes (JanPram  to many of us)    Jan  herself has a    fine collection of  prams   and  her  website is:-   My  thanks  to   Jan  for  letting  me    'borrow' the photographs.

What  a  lovely  site,   Bettenham  Manor   what  a   beautiful house and   that pram  looks made  to   go onto  that  lawn  doesn't it?

Jack obviously  enjoying the  comfort  to be  found in a   well  sprung  baby carriage.

I have  been   so  happy    to hear  from  lots  of  you who have  so  enjoyed   seeing the  JH  photographs  on   the  site,  I   didn't    quite   understand  just  how  much  you  would  enjoy  this  feature  I have  to  say.     I have  heard   from  quite  a  few  people  who  have offered   to    let me  have more  photographs  and  memories  of  JH  and his prams as well.   One  lovely lady  who  I have  been  talking  to  and who  has sent me   photographs  is  Lorna Kent.   Lorna  was  another  friend  of  Jack's  who  used  to go  and  stay    at Bettenham Manor  along  with her  friend Eva  and  Eva's   daughter Linda.  Eva  and  Linda    come  from  Sweden.   I  will be  putting those photographs on  next  within  the next  few days.  So  keep   looking,  there  will  be  more  to see.


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