A rather short post this week, work and trying to find the time to get to some East London locations has delayed my planned post for today, however I hope these photos of an annual parade that was once held in London will be of interest.
During the past week, pollution levels in London have been very high. The thousands of cars, taxis, buses, lorries etc. that keep the city supplied and moving but congest the city’s streets, contributing to the smog that hangs across the city when there is no wind to blow it to the east. In previous centuries, it was the horse that was essential to the functioning of the city. Transporting goods and people from one end of the city to the other.
I have seen a range of different figures for how many horses were on the streets of the London, with numbers of around 300,000 in the year 1900.
Treatment of horses was very variable and dependent on the owner. Horses needed to earn their keep and when they could not, through age or illness they were of little use to their owner.
There were a number of initiatives in the 19th Century to try to improve the conditions of the city’s horses, one of which was the Cart Horse Parade, established in 1885 with the aim of encouraging the owners of horses to take pride in their animals and to show to their peers and the public in a formal annual parade.
The first Cart Horse Parades took place on Whit Monday in Battersea Park. A second annual parade, the Van Horse Parade started in 1904 and took place on Easter Monday.
The Cart Horse Parade moved to Regent’s Park in 1888.
The two parades continued to run as separate parades, however with the declining numbers of working horses across the city, the two parades merged into a single Easter Monday parade in 1966.
My father must have known the parade well as he lived a short distance from Regent’s Park and one year took a series of photos of the event. These specific photos were not dated, however from the photos on the same strips of negative I am sure the year was 1949. Judging by the crowds, this was a popular event.
As a final photo, the following shows one of the problems with film cameras. When I scanned the following photo I thought there were two negatives stuck together, however it is an example of where the film did not wind on correctly between taking two photos leaving them both on the same individual negative. There are a number in the collection where this has happened – very frustrating.
The combined parades have now moved out of London, but are still held on Easter Monday as the London Harness Horse Parade with the next parade being on the 17th April 2017 at the South of England Centre at Ardingly in West Sussex.
Details of the next parade can be found on the website of the London Harness Horse Parade.