Today, we are used to mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers pushing prams along. We give the parent or grandparent an encouraging smile and we might try to peep into the pram as it goes by. Sometimes there is a cuddly toy or mobile hanging down from the hood.Babies riding around in prams are nothing new. Babies had to be moved from place to place in the past too, of course. First of all, they were usually carried in wraps or slings on the mother or father’s back but, by the seventeenth century, well-to-do people had already begun to build prams to get their children from place to place. These were pulled by animals. The English architect William Kent came up with a pram on four wheels that could be pulled by a pony, goat or dog. At the end of the seventeenth century, the prams were more often pulled by servants and the harness for the animal was replaced by two handles. To make the prams safer, they began to be pushed rather than pulled. That gave the parent or servant a better view of the child.
Read more in Daphne’s Diary 03-3019.