Sunday 13 January 2013

Prams and Problems

Prams were a Victorian invention, which I have covered before (see here). They were not always popular. Here's a couple more pieces which I stumbled across today ...

We are glad to observe a disposition on the part of the metropolitan magistrates to contest on our behalf the last piece of ground which has been left to the unfortunate pedestrians of the London streets. The fooway is, it appears, still our own, and we are to be protected in its enjoyment. The case of Mr. George Peachey, who was sujmmoend the other day before Mr. Knox at Marlborough-street, will, we trust, be a sufficient warning to those who venture to encroach upon our rights in this respect. Mr. Hetton, of Twickenham, the complainant in the case in question, said that on the 25th of July, he was walking through Rathbone-place with two friends when the defendant drove a perambulator against him. On being remonstrated with, the defendant told him he ought to get out of the way. The complainant replied that if the defendant ran against him he should charge him with assault. The defendant thereupon caleld him a blackguard, used the most abusive language to him and his friends, and a second and third time ran the perambulator purposely against him. The defendant, refusing to give his name and address, witness gave him into custody. The perambulator was a large one, and took up nearly the whole of the pavement. The case being clearly proved against the defendant, Mr. Knox observed that it was monstrous to take up the pavement with these perambulators, some of which were of large dimensions. The pavement was for passengers, not for vehicles of this kind. He refused to look closely into the charges and counter-charges of rough language; the evidence had made it clear that the defendant was pushing a perambulator on the pavement, where he had no business, and that he drove it against the complainant. He would have to pay a fine of 20s. and costs. We hail this decision with much satisfaction; for if, after the cabmen have driven us from the roadway, the pavement is to be made impassable by the "furious diving" of large perambulators, we may as well give up the attempt to traverse the streets at all.

The Pall Mall Gazette, 2 August 1873


Emma Morris - a young woman in service in Earl's-terrace, Kensington, appeared before Mr. Saunders to answer a summons at the instance of Chief-Inspector Skeats, for wheeling a carriage, to wit a perambulator, on the pathway so as to cause an obstruction. Mr. Gerald Wheeler, a barrister, appeared for the defendant. Police Constable Barton, of the T Division, said that on the afternoon of the 28th ult. he was in High-street, Kensington, when he saw the defendant and another young women, each with a perambulator abreast on the pavement. He followed them for about 150 yards, both young women walking abreast and talking to each other. The pavement was only six feet wide, the road narrow, and the traffic very great. He had cautioned the defendant previously. There had been many complaints, and he had been directed to report cases of obstruction. An elderly gentleman and lady tried to pass, but could not on account of the perambulators. On the day before he counted 37 perambulators passing to and fro between Young-street and Wright's-lane. - Mr. Saunders inquired of the constable what the young women were to do with the perambulators. - The constable said he did not know. - Mr. Saunders said it came to this, perambulators in such a neighbourhood could not be used, as they obstructed the pavement, and could not go into the road on account of the danger. - In answer to Mr. Wheeler, the constable said it was illegal to draw two perambulators side by side, as they caused an obstruction. He added that Mr. Paget had decided that a person had no right to draw a perambulator on the footway at all. - Mr. Wheeler said they were not talking together. The baby in the perambulator was a "frisky child" and often kicked the rug off. On the day in question she stopped to tuck up the child, and at that instant the young woman came up. Alice Heritage who was also summoned was called as a witness for the defendant. She confirmed Mr. Wheeler's statement, and denied that she and the defendant were looking at shop windows. They never thought of doing so with perambulators. - Mr. Saunders said he did not like to dispose of a case off-hand that a perambulator on the pavement was an obstruction. Perambulators were a great convenience and ought to be encouraged, if they were not an obstruction. In this state of soceity and civilisation they must give and take. He dismissed the summons, as he did not think the case was made out.

The Morning Post, 13 March 1882

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