General Transport Galleries
As part of a visit to the Transport Museum don't miss the Dalchoolin Gallery, named after the racing-winning horse belonging to the former owners of the site.
Highlights of the Gallery include:
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, before horse drawn vehicles became commonplace in towns, sedan chairs provided a taxi service in most British and Irish cities. The sedan chair allowed people to negotiate muddy streets without getting their clothes or shoes dirty. A sedan chair was carried by two strong men. Chair-men were licensed and their chairs had to display a number, just like modern taxis. It was very hard work being a chair-man.
Pictured above is Jackie Robinson being lifted by Curator Mark Kennedy and Sedan chair maker Robert Andrews (get closer by clicking the image).
These public hire sedan chairs died out in the 1840s and were replaced by horse-drawn cabs, which were cheaper to operate. Wealthy families often owned their own private chairs. They were popular with ladies and elderly people. Built of wood covered with leather and fitted with a cushioned seat, a sedan chair cost around £45.
Originally used by a member of the Dublin gentry and later by Jane Coulson from Lisburn, the daughter of a successful Damask cloth manufacturer. The sedan chair remained in Jane's family for 150 years. Coulson employees were carried to church on their wedding day in the chair.
Although common 200 years ago, sedan chairs are now only to be found in museums. There are two sedan chairs on display. The black one dates from the late 1780s and was built in London by Holmes and Griffin, makers to the King. The red one is a modern replica used for educational work.
Many rural horsedrawn vehicles used in Ulster within living memory, such as slide-cars and solid wheel cars, have very ancient counterparts. The only known surviving examples of several types of these forms of transport are preserved and on display in the Museum.
The museum has the largest collection of Irish coach-built vehicles in the world. Some of the finest examples of coachbuilding can be seen in our Horsedrawn Vehicle collection, with examples by well-known Ulster makers to the most famous London names such as Peters & Son.
Ask an Expert
If you would like further information about this collection you may contact the
curator by following this link and
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