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The History of Windsor Carriages
The story of horse-drawn carriages and their special place in England's transportation history dates back to 1649 when they were first licensed as hackney carriages. This intriguing tradition continues to this day, notably represented by the iconic black motor cabs, a familiar sight in London and major UK cities.
In 1849, an interesting shift occurred when the famed Long Walk ceased to be a primary route for public and trade vehicles. It's essential to note that this change took place before the era of motor cars, so these vehicles were exclusively horse-drawn carriages. However, a unique twist in the tale unfolded during Queen Victoria's reign when the Crown Estate granted special permission for hackney carriages to continue using the state entrance for taxi services.
Even today, The Long Walk and the vast Windsor Great Park remain off-limits to commercial and private vehicles. The Long Walk itself is exclusively open to visitors on foot. Remarkably, more than 175 years later, Windsor Carriages operates under the same hackney carriage license that originated during the Victorian era.
This makes us the last licensed hackney carriage operation in the entire UK, carrying forward a fascinating tradition that has stood the test of time.
Let me share with you a story of timeless tradition and dedication that has kept the legacy of hackney carriages alive and thriving since 1849. It is the reign of each coachman, as they pass down the cherished Victorian-era hackney carriage license from one generation to the next, that has maintained the continuity of this remarkable tradition.
The legacy you have the privilege to witness today is a testament to the enduring devotion of a remarkable figure in Windsor's history, the venerable Windsor Coachman John Seear. For more than five decades, he graced The Long Walk with the clip-clop of his horse-drawn carriages. John's passion for carriage driving was unwavering, and he made a steadfast decision not to transition the license from carriage to motor car, an act that set him and his legacy apart and is the very reason we continue to operate to this day.
John's legacy, a genuine symbol of a profound love for tradition, has been passed down through the generations. In the twilight of his years, his daughter, Rebecca, returned to the carriages, to work alongside her father just as she did during her childhood.
Since 2013, Rebecca, affectionately known as the coachman's daughter, has been the driving force behind the business you now see on this website and along The Long Walk. Her unwavering commitment to preserving the heritage and enchantment of Windsor's hackney carriages is a deeply heartfelt tribute to her father, and those coachmen who came before him, as well as their enduring legacy.
We hold a profound sense of honor as stewards of this extraordinary tradition, one that continues to capture the hearts of all who have the privilege of encountering it.