Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Sedan Chair

While pondering the question of stairs or no stairs in The Silk Weaver's House, I decided to work on a little something that has been lurking in the stash for a number of years.

I bought this Sedan Chair at Miniatura a long time ago.   I don't know why - it didn't relate to anything I was working on at the time but I liked it and now that I have a property of the correct period, I thought I'd dress it up a bit.

*In 1634 the Sedan Chair was introduced into London as a cheaper alternative to the Hackney Cab, popular too because of its ability to pass through the narrow streets.

They were carried by individuals known as "Chairmen" and it was helpful if you weren't prone to motion sickness as they swayed and bounced when travelling at speed.

They were popular with the gentry as travelling in this fashion enabled them to keep their shoes clean.

They were also very popular in Edinburgh's Old Town again where carriages weren't able to travel due to the narrow streets ("closes").

They were legally permitted to travel on the pavement with the Chairmen shouting "Have a care" or "By your leave" although this didn't always work out well and occasionally chairs tipped over.

Chairmen were licensed and Sedan Chair stations were set up allowing travellers to hire a chair.    They were available all day but from midnight the fare was doubled.   After dark they would be accompanied by "link boys" or torch bearers.

The very wealthy would keep their own Chair, decorated to reflect the décor of their homes and kept in the hallway.

As cities grew bigger, travel by Chair became impossible and by the mid 19th century it had virtually disappeared from the streets.

*Taken from an article The Sedan Chair by Ellen Castelow, Historic UK.


  1. Hi Irene! I LOVE what you have done with your chair! And to think it knew you would need it "someday"! LOL! I am fascinated to read the details of this mode of travel... it is so European... I think we never really had the need over here... cities being so small back then. What a wonderful kit and what a great job you've done with its decor! I love it!

  2. Wow! I'd heard of Sedan Chairs but I didn't know the history. This is really cool and I'm so glad it has a home now.

  3. Très joli objet, vous avez eu raison de l'acheter.

  4. Great Sedan chair and you dressed it up very well. Thank you for telling us everything about the history of this chair.

  5. Hello Irene,
    It is beautiful. I really love the finishes you used and the interior looks very comfortable...well, as comfortable as a sedan chair can be. Terrific work my friend.
    Big hug

  6. So awesome! There was a local mansion that used to have public tours, and they had such a chair on display.

  7. It looks great, Irene, I love all the detail you have added the green colour works really well - those tassels!! How lovely that you finally had a project where you could use it.

  8. You took a pretty posh sedan chair and poshed it up even more. It looks so luxurious and comfy now. Love it.

  9. Storia interessante e bel lavoro di rivestimento. ;-)