If your babies were born in the 1960s and 1970s, did you have a brand-new pram, or did you have a family heirloom that was passed down through the generations?
New mums in the ’60s wanted new and modern prams for their babies, and they had plenty to choose from.
Silver Cross had been manufacturing coach-built prams since 1877 and it was the make of choice for the Queen in 1948 when Prince Charles was born.
The poster ads of the time featured Rolls Royce cars in the background, leading to Silver Cross becoming known as the “Rolls Royce of Prams”.
Royale prams, founded in 1930, described their range as “the world’s most beautiful prams”. New colour schemes included Cornflower, Windsor Grey and Peony, but with price tags of around £26 to £31 in the ’60s, both Royale and Silver Cross were too expensive for most.
People were more inclined to buy locally back in the day, so the brand chosen often came down to location.
Silver Cross prams were (and still are) made in Leeds; Royale, Swallow and Pedigree prams were made in London, Churchill in Glasgow, and Tansad in Staffordshire.
Other available brands included Swan, Osnath, Dunkley, and Marmet – did you choose one, or was yours a hand-me-down?
Marmet made a range of prams for Mothercare in the ’60s, but the manufacturer preferred the term “baby carriage” to pram. The Mothercare-SUPER was available in three popular two-tone colour schemes: white and royale, white and jade, or white and sable.
It cost £19.19.6, but a slightly smaller and less luxurious model, the Lyham, was available for £14.14.0 in the same two-tone colour choices.
The advertising slogan for Swallow prams was “There’s a ‘Proud to Push’ Feeling with Swallow Prams” and mothers certainly took great pride in not only showing off their babies but also their prams.
Prams were picked out and ordered before the baby was born, but it was considered very bad luck to have the pram at home until after the birth.
It was common practice for shops to deliver after being notified of the baby’s safe arrival, or to offer a full refund in the event of the pram no longer being needed.
Some accepted payments in instalments, others invoiced for the full amount after delivery, but once the pram was in pride of place at home, it became a treasured possession that was buffed and polished in the same way a car might be today.
Of course, prams of the day were much larger and heavier than today’s lightweight pushchairs, but this was a time when very few people owned a car. Walking with the pram to the local shops was the way to get the grocery shopping done, and prams were simply parked outside – often in a long line – while the mums went in to get what they needed.
Getting daily fresh air was considered an essential element of baby care back in the day, so when babies weren’t being pushed along to the shops, they’d be parked in their pram outside the house or in the garden.
The days of leaving a baby unattended in the street may be gone, but, like all fashions, the days of coach-built baby carriages are making a return.
If you’ve got one languishing up in the attic, now might be the time to turn it into cash!
Thanks to our friends at Mothercare, who allowed us to photograph their catalogue archive from the 1960s and 1970s.