Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A Parade of Prams

The prompt for Sepia Saturday is a lovely young Viennese lady, with a perky baby in a pram (ca.1900-1919). She’s wearing traditional costume, and judging by the rather grand surroundings could well be the nursemaid, rather than the mother. We will probably never know her identity, but she looks rightly proud of her charge in his lovely 'baby carriage' with richly decorated blanket. 


The first in my own ‘Pram Series’ goes even further back, and is a good deal fuzzier. It’s my late Mother-in-Law’s grandmother, with one of her children, somewhere in the early 1880s. The style of the baby-carriage is similar to the prompt picture and the baby looks equally perky. It must be the seaside air he’s enjoying. The original word for a baby carriage was ‘perambulator’ and mothers and nursemaids would ‘perambulate’, or walk, their babies in them.


And here’s my own grandmother wheeling my mother’s brother in a surprisingly modern looking buggy in 1920, when she would have been expecting my Mum as well. This was a ‘beautiful baby’ competition I believe, and also featured in my post ‘Beautiful Babies, Bugles and Buggies’.

The next picture is of my own mother. Regular readers know her from previous posts, but I don’t think I’ve ever taken you as far back as her babyhood in Spring 1921. As the image is taken from a different angle to the others I can’t comment on the carriage style. It’s rather grainy too, but I can see that her pram cover was just as pretty as the prompt picture. I can tell that it’s been lovingly crocheted, either by my grandmother herself, or by her mother, as they were both accomplished needlewomen. You can see more of my Gran’s beautiful work in this post. Mum looks slightly apprehensive, and not so perky as our original baby. As well as using prams for transporting the baby, they were used as outdoor cots. Many a baby has been parked in the garden, in the hope that the fresh air and birdsong would lull them to sleep. 



Pictures 3 (1952) and 4 are me! Again, my pram cover is hand knitted, probably by my Mum, who inherited the needle skills of the women in her family. By picture number 4 we can better judge the style of pram, which was still very large, with a useful shopping basket. Mum didn’t drive and she would have taken me on shopping trips, parking me under the window of the butcher’s the baker’s or candle-stick maker’s whilst she selected her purchases, keeping a beady eye on me at the same time. I appear to be distinctly unhappy. I was probably smiling at the point when Dad was about to take the picture and my little face dissolved into an unhappy mask at precisely the moment he pressed the button. There was no digital photography in those days and once the ‘snap’ was taken that was it. This is what babies do of course, but these days we click away hoping for one perfect shot and discard those showing the crumpled faces of miserable infants. I look like the ‘Desperation’ image in the Fry’s Five Boys Chocolate adverts.


And here’s my husband (1949), demonstrating the other Fry’s Five Boys expressions whilst lying  in his cosy pram in his lovely hand-smocked dress: Pacification, Expectation, Acclamation, and Realization. You may have to click on the link above if you aren’t familiar with the famous chocolate bar which was still around when I was a child.


For more expressions of delight, join us on Sepia Saturday this week and see what other contributors have made of the prompt. Do join me in my perambulations. 

23 comments:

  1. I'm doing babies in buggies through the generations too. Interesting how similar all the babies look.

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  2. This is so awesome, Nell! Loved seeing you all as babies.

    Kathy M.

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  3. Perhaps we've lost something in the world of 0s and 1s, with all those shots sanitised out of our digital archives? I must say I'm rather intrigued by those series of very similar images of babies taken by doting parents. In my experience it's usually the first child which has to suffer in front of the camera for hours. By the time the 2nd, 3rd, etc come along, we seem to be a little over it - or am I being callous in my observations.

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  4. Wonderful. For some reason, I like the one of you asleep the best. It just looks like the ultimate bliss.

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  5. Whenever I look at photos of babies, who then grew up to be people I know, I think about the babies I see around me now. Who knows what they will become. It's so hard to believe it.

    They are all lovely, but your mum was absolutely adorable!!!!

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  6. yes! Chocs!!!! I guess babies saw a lot more "outdoors" in those days? No its all car transport???

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  7. A wonderful collection of prams, pram decor, and baby faces. The very old prams with lovely linen and coverlets are so luxurious. What a lovely way to introduce Baby to the world.

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  8. I thoroughly enjoyed your family album. The pictures are fabulous from way back.

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  9. You have a great bunch of pram pictures. I can't understand how the "Fry's Five Boys" would help sell chocolate.

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  10. I prefer to perambulate with the classic perambulators.

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  11. There used to be fierce competition for cast-off pram wheels for use on homemade 'go-carts'when I was young. The old style prams with the large wheels weren't very sturdy though.
    Great collection of pram photos; the babies are not bad either.

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  12. These are just all so super cool! I have to say at first (until I really looked at the photo) I thought oh dear what is a pram? Funny how we can have so many different ways to say things! Your family album is perfect. Mine didn't have so many, and time was running out, so I didn't use my family for mine!

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  13. Thanks for the perambulations with the perambulators - the pram covers are amazing feats of craftwork, and Picture 4 is just adorable :-) Jo

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  14. Simply fetching memory pics. Little treasures indeed! And I simply adore the Fry's depictions......!

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  15. @Brett, my mom told me that the exact phenomen you described is why there are three times as many photos of my sister as there are of me. I suppose that by child number two and onward, parents are more focused on keeping their kids out of the emergency room lol.

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  16. I think I will make ‘perambulate’ my word for the week, It's interesting that a "pram" is also a flat bottom boat, babies vehicles always seems overly engineered, then and now.

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  17. Quite a nice parade of prams!! Perhaps you were just tired of sitting there in the sun, or maybe you had other concerns which needed tending to...
    Hubbie on the other hand looked quite contended!!
    ;)~
    HUGZ

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  18. What a wonderful collection of photos. I especially liked the crochet and needlework as it reminds me of my grandmother and mother. That hand smocked dress looks exactly like one that my mother made for my daughter when she was a baby.

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  19. This was a great theme Marilyn and yielded some great photos and stories. I think the one in my photo was used many years before we came along and I am so glad to have that photo.
    QMM

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  20. It's a wonderful series! Thanks!

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  21. Amazing wheels on the 1880s photo, what a gem. You look very comfortable sleeping under the crotched blanket. Your comment about being parked outside the butchers reminded me of the days when lines of prams were left outside the local 'Woolies', it would never happen today.

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  22. Lovely pictures. Isn't it strange that the young women of 50 to 100 years ago would all have a picture of their pram in their collection whereas the ones of today all have a picture of their prom in their collection.

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