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Vintage Prams & Pushchairs

Alex & Tony have a collection of Period Prams, Pushchairs and Baby related memorabilia that is quite unique and attracts a lot of attention when they bring this to our events. They are registered fund raisers for Help for Heroes.  Here, Alex tells us about her collection:

I started collecting Prams in 2003 and this has escalated over the years.  Although lately they are getting more expensive to buy, due to more people wanting to re-enact. I love the old fashioned shape of period prams; the quality and the comfort these prams give. How many of today's prams and pushchairs will be around in 60 years? The craftsmanship is breathtakingly beautiful in my eyes.

In May 2009 at Brewhouseyard, Nottingham, I placed a potty on the floor. By the end of the day I had 16 worth of change in the bottom of it. I spoke to Tony and we decided that we would donate any monies to Help for Heroes. So we registered with them and started officially collecting. By July 2010 we had raised over 3000 for H4H with our displays and holding different events.

Rather than let these Prams be stored doing nothing we use them for a purpose now. To know that we are doing our bit to help our injured soldiers is satisfaction enough.

If anyone has a Vintage Pram/Pushchair or baby memorabilia that they would like to donate or want a small fee for please contact us. The more we have to display the better as a varied display helps raise funds for Help for Heroes. Obviously we have to be sensible and cannot afford to pay out too much, as this is a hobby and not work so we do not earn any monies from this.

Restoring prams:

I started to do the odd small repair job just to make them more cosmetically appealing. I then bought a 1940 old, battered Silvercross that was in need of a complete overhaul. This one I decided I would have a good go at. Here is what I had to do:

  • I stripped it down to the bare basic shell. I had to use a mask as the older prams had lead paint coverings.

  • I then painfully & slowly resprayed it Black, layer after layer.

  • The chrome on most is often Shot.  This is expensive to correct, so I leave it as it is  (chrome paint looks cheap and nasty on).

  • Often these prams have horse hair fillings which I take out as they are full of vintage dust, muck and germs. The mouldy smell is often caused by the horse hair filling getting damp.

  • The hoods and aprons are nearly always frayed, ripped or broken.  These, too, are not easy to replace. I had a number of goes, but have yet to perfect this to the standard I would like.

  • I had newer but vintage tyres put on and painted the wheel rims Black & Silver.

  • Leather support straps were made by a local cobbler.

I would never part with this one as such a lot of dedication and hard work went into it.

Just the time spent basically cleaning up old prams is hard work, as there is often 50 to 60 years worth of grease, dirt and scratches on them. To restore a pram fully takes hundreds of pounds. As they were coach built made in factories, a lot of the work was professionally done. Restoration often looks easy, but on trying, proves very difficult. So I basically I clean and touch up the prams and pushchairs so they look cosmetically good for re-enactment purposes. I do get some prams and pushchairs that hardly need much doing to them at all.

Although not to today's British Safety Standards I would put a baby in these prams as I feel they are safe to use. I'm not a professional restorer.

The prams I currently own:

  • 1932 Millson Twin ( needs restoring but very rare due to 5th balancing wheel, only purchased by the very rich)

  • 1939 Silvercross Black (restored)

  • 1948 LBC Navy

  • 1930 French Bucket Pram (restored)

  • 1930 German Paper Mache and Cane Pram

  • 1930 British Manton Pram Black (restored)

  • 1930 German Pushchair cream

  • 1957 Royale green & cream

  • 1958 Royale navy & cream

  • 1950 Osnath Black restored

Other items:

  • Collection of Baby Items and home front items.

  • 1940 Crib (on loan courtesy of Phil & Maureen May)

  • Baby bottles, clothing, toys, photos, books, pram canopies, pram seat and much more.

I have some Reborn dolls at present which I use in my prams. I have just started to place the dolls so that they have a story to tell in the display. The newborn baby I have always fools people into believing its a real baby. This intrigues people how life like it is.

We have had our first Grandson Harry Oliver Roebuck who we took to the Jacksdale Event. He loved it in my Silvercross Pram and got lots of attention. ( although our son dislikes the Prams he would sooner Harry was not put in one) Harry always has a good sleep in my Prams so it goes to show they are more comfortable than the modern ones of today. My prams are priceless as they are vintage items.


Alex's collection on display during 2010


Alex at Crich Tramway Museum 


The 61 "boy reborn" - it REALLY is a doll.  Alex used it until she and Tony had their own baby boy in early 2011.


Harry T Jacksdale with Miriam playing her accordion to him, he was asleep not long after this picture.  Harry was a baby which Alex had "borrowed" for the weekend.


Tony dressed in his Wavy Navy Uniform. Clumber Park 2010.