Ralph Cousins has asked me to mention the 90 local history titles that are now available from the Spring Arts Centre in East Street, Havant.
Anything you wish to know about the Havant, Leigh Park, Bedhampton, Waterlooville and Langstone areas, plus the Hayling Island railway, are all available at minimal cost.
One booklet that is apt for this year is the Havant Roll of Honour from the First World War. It’s a worthy read, believe me.
Among the collection there’s even an abridged version of my book The Naval Camps of Bedhampton and Leigh Park.
If you do not live at Havant or unable to make it to the town, give Ralph a call on (023) 9248 4024 or e-mail the man himself at email@example.com.
The books can also be read online free at thespring.co.uk/heritage/local-history-booklets/.
Ralph sent me the lovely picture of the horses and carriages.
However, to find out exactly what they were I had to go to the man with the knowledge of all types of wagons.
Brian Clifford says: ‘I would describe these vehicles as wagonettes. I suggest they are not large enough to be omnibuses.
‘Wagonettes did come in many sizes (the larger ones being licensed as omnibuses), and seated the occupants longitudinally, with room for another passenger on the driver’s box.’
He adds: ‘In the 1880s the principal Hackney carriage operations were located at The Bear Hotel, East Street, Havant.
‘In your picture, the second driver appears very smart, and the two horses are a matching pair; so obviously a special occasion!
‘I assume the picture is of a wedding party; quite a modest one, I guess, as there appears to be no trace of landaus or Victorias.
‘The roofs are interesting; I have never seen a covered wagonette before – probably because most of my research has been in respect of coastal resorts. Clearly shown are the dished wheels – the spokes inserted at such an angle as to prevent detritus from the road being deposited on the passengers. Interestingly, this second wagonette appears to have a transverse seat behind the driver’s box.
‘Many cab proprietors of some substance offered bespoke wedding transport. F Coker, who took over the Mile End Mews Livery Stable, Commercial Road, Portsmouth, from Arthur Hollings in 1885, was advertising a single-horse wedding carriage for five shillings, or a double-horse carriage for nine shillings, both with a liveried driver.’