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‘Top Gear’, 1851 style

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Flip Report 10 May 2013 21:37

It'snot just toys for boys - I have watched all the Clarkson dvds - my OH gets them for Christmas from his son (one year I'll kill the little so-an-so). Let's hope he never finds your source of info, I'll be there for weeks.

I'm actually a Lotus enthusiast, sad isn't it? But I just love the coachwork, (not) it's the speed that counts :-D

Paul Barton, Special Agent

Paul Barton, Special Agent Report 10 May 2013 17:18

I was browsing through GR’s online copy of the London Gazette of 1851 and my attention was drawn to several columns devoted to the Great Exhibition. One article was a review of the latest carriages on display and it seemed to me just like the 19th century equivalent of a ‘Top Gear’ review by a Victorian Jeremy Clarkson, as if he was drooling over the latest Aston Martins and Ferraris at the Motor Show.

You wouldn’t imagine that carriages would qualify for such interest, but when you think about it we blokes are the same the world over and 160 years ago the latest ‘wheels’ would be just as exciting. Here’s a taster – just one of the models being reviewed….

‘A remarkably elegant park phaeton, by Messrs Hallemarke and Co of Longacre is conspicuous from the novelty and beauty of its design. The lower part is of the cockle-shell pattern, painted white, which is relieved by a bright blue above. The lamps resemble richly-cut-glass vases, with handsomely chased silver covers. They are quite new in design, and accord well with the character of the phaeton, which is decorated and finished with great taste and excites general admiration.’

Other reviews focus on the latest technology in suspension and comfort, one mentions a carriage with steps that automatically come down as the door opens and there is even a soft–top convertible.