I have been hoping to get myself a
for some time and I am very happy
to show you all the Prince which I found and which is next on the list for restoration, there is a lot to do on it as you can see.
As catalogue pages of a Millson Prince seem to be non existant it is difficult to be able to prove Millson models and I have been searching for a Prince catalogue page for a while now to no avail. However, there is a photograph of a Millson Prince on page 59 of Jan and Geoff Swift's book which is the same as my Prince, which has the same shaped 'wings' and also has the Nanny's storage compartment, underneath the foot extension at the bottom of the pram. But also when I took the hood fabric from the frame and took apart the storm apron to make a pattern, on the reverse of each piece in pencil is written the date that they were made, day/month/64 and the word 'Prince' in pencil. So despite the lack of printed evidence to be found now I am sure that my pram left the Millsons factory as a Prince and nothing less. I will take photographs and upload them onto the site as soon as possible. It is this sort of evidence that we need to seek out when we are trying to find out what model of pram we have from any manufacturer. Millsons catalogues are in particularly short supply and I have never seen a London Baby Coach catalogue at all unfortunately, so I have no idea what model my LBC is.
Isn't the lovely little pram seat absolutely gorgeous? I have never seen one before but had heard of them. There are even two separate storm aprons, one to cover the toddler on the child seat from the rain and the other to cover the baby lying in the body of the pram.
After I picked up the pram in Burnham on Sea, I went straight to my friend Fi's house in Martock, Somerset which is where I had my first really good look at the Prince. I removed the rubber mat from in the foot well only to find that there was quite a puddle of water in the bottom of it. The plywood had buckled and I lifted some of the paint off to help it to dry out. The bottom of the pram will have to be replaced, I would certainly never dare sit a toddler in there at the moment.
Because the Prince was not sitting level on it's straps, the water had seeped out of the foot well and onto the moulding only on one side of the pram. I'm hoping that I can get this sorted out by filling the moulding and rubbing down, I hope not to have to replace the moulding which would be a big job.
As you can see, the chrome has absolutely gone and hopefully you can see the balancing axle in this photograph too. One interesting fact is that the wheels are 24 and 22 inches, which I have never come across before.
This earlier Prince model has a dropping handle saving quite a lot of room when storing the pram.
The balancing axle is clearer in this photograph, taken in my painting shed, I put the Prince in there with the little tubular heater under it to gently dry it out before I can start work on it. This balancing axle actually comes of the Prince great for painting or whatever. The Fred McKenzie that I have also has a balancing axle but it does not come off and so is going to be a lot more difficult to paint the chassis on that one. Now the first task is for me to decide what colour I am going to paint my Prince, I just don't like it all navy blue, unfortunately. I think it will be a lot lighter, but it will still have it's lovely seat and all three of the storm aprons.
Here you can see the fixings for the toddler seat. I took this picture to help me remember how to put everything back together again. Everything that I took off the pram I have put into individual polythene bags and written on them exactly what is inside because by the time I put it back together again I'll never remember where everything goes.
I have made a start on stripping down the Prince, removing the hood, the handle, the chrome fittings for the hood, hood arms etc etc
I stripped the hood fabric off the frame and immediately made a paper pattern of it, I did the same with the apron. Because the original hood and apron is marimo - a natural fabric - it can shrink when taken off the frame for any length of time and so best to make a pattern of it as soon as possible. The same with the Apron, I took it apart and made a pattern from that too for the same reason.
How the handle is attached (and a close up of how it is secured when in the upright position, it is very much how the old pushchairs of the 60's and 70's were secured).
I thought I would have to have the hood arms re-chromed, but when I cleaned them I saw that there is only really one 'rod' from one hood arm that needs chroming, the rest have come up a treat with my nylon scourer and own label cream cleanser, it works a treat I have to say.
Handles off the pram
I cleaned all of the chrome as I took it off the pram and it is a very worthwhile thing to do, I would have sent the whole lot for chroming if I had not cleaned it up first. No amount of cleaning will make the rust on the wheels disappear though I'm afraid.
Canopy knobs, top one before cleaning the bottom one after cleaning ( I hadn't cleaned the thread part yet in this photograph), but they came up a treat with a bit of TLC. Poor pram must have been very wet for a while to get in this state I think. I wonder where it has been for all of these years?
18th October, 2011Well today I took the Prince body off the chassis in order to take it to be powder coated. I wanted to take the balancing axle off because there are so many moving parts there and so they would be better taken off. I found that the nut and bolt holding the B. axle in place was seized up and going around in circles, so my husband kindly cut them off for me using an angle grinder. A little 'scarring' where the angle grinder has cut the chassis but once powder coated this won't be noticed especially as this is the bottom of the chassis. This (above) is the balancing axle once free of the chassis, what a mess it's in. The bolt that was cut off is at the front of the photograph. I try to replace all nuts and bolts with new ones if I can, not always possible to replace them with modern metric equivalents but these two should be ok.
This (above) is how the balancing axle, hook and spring fits onto the axle again.
Have you seen on many pram axles that there are loads of washers which 'space' out the wheels, so that they don't get too close to each other or indeed the axle itself? The Prince has something much simpler, there are 4 little stainless steel 'sleeves' which fit over the axles, as you can see above and which act as spacers in place of the washers. They should clean up beautifully and look very smart eventually.
The 4 sleeve/spacers removed from the axles and which need a good clean now.
I had a good talk to John, the powder coater about colours and what he has in stock. I got the colour I really had been fancying for the Prince, I was amazed that he had it in stock to be honest! I am not giving the game away just yet though. Because the powder coatings are given RAL numbers it means that I can safely use the same RAL number to get paint for the body of the pram, hopefully they will match, that is the theory at any rate.
20.2.2012 Here is the Prince chassis back from the powder coater having been done in a very dark maroon, it's called black red. Trouble is that I am now having second thoughts about the colour. I can't help thinking that I should have done it in a lighter colour! Shall I set up a Poll and you can all have your say? I have put the wheels back on the Prince for now, it is easy to keep it in the shed on it's wheels, that way I can keep moving it out of my way!