King Charles III visits Windsor Carriages
Updated: Sep 13
A short history of horse drawn deliveries in Windsor, visited by HRH Prince Charles, our now Majesty King Charles III, written by Rebecca Seear, daughter of, and groom to; Windsor Coachman John Seear, Windsor Carriages Coachman from 1949 to 2016.
Flash back to the 1960's and goods were still being delivered around Windsor Town by horse and carriage as they had been for centuries before. One such tradesman was Mr Leslie Jones of The Token House, Windsor, who was renowned for continuing to use his horse drawn delivery van, driven by Windsor Coachman when they weren't working on their hackney carriages.
The Token House sold fine china, lead crystal glass, silver and antiques across the world and held Royal Warrants from both Her Majesty The Queen and Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. It was simply THE place to hold ones wedding gift list and continued to deliver its fine china and goods around Windsor by horse and carriage. Most notably it delivered Christmas gifts direct to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
John Seear, Windsor Carriages Coachman from 1949 to 2016, was the last coachman to drive the delivery van and pictures from the period show a delivery round coming out of The Henry VIII gate at Windsor Castle shown below.
The delivery van would also deliver around local towns such as Marlow, shown here with John driving seated next to the china shop owner Mr Leslie Jones.
I remember Joan, Leslie's wife making me my first cucumber sandwich which I took with me on the carriage with dad when I must have been around 6 years old. I remember their home and the mutual affection dad and Mr Jones had for each other and their shared loved of carriages. The delivery van was kept in their garage and was the shiniest thing I had ever seen, show level, which must have caught dads imagination...as he entered it as a trade vehicle in carriage driving trade classes for many years at Royal Windsor Horse Show, shown below with a team!
The Token House was located at 26 High Street, Windsor, where The Glorious Britain gift shop is now located.
We managed to find a picture of Her Majesty Queen Mary (Great Grandmother to Our King) visiting The Token House shown below <photo missing, we are searching!). (copyright 2024904_photography_ProvidedCHO_TopFoto_co_uk_EU015005.jpeg).
Prince Charles now King Charles III also stopped by to chat with John Seear on one of his rounds.
The horses!...Gypsy and Tinker
We think this was my fathers first pair that he trained to drive for the Windsor Carriages in the early seventies. Seen here with the Token House China Van. Tinker, on the left, was originally meant to be a TV star. He was bought by a cigarette company for an advert involving 20 coloured horses. However Tinker at 14hh Tinker was too small for the project and came to live with us. Around the same time my mother fell pregnant my older brother, so my father was quick to re purpose my mothers riding cob, Gypsy, right, for driving. The potential of a matching and yet unmatching pair would not have gone unnoticed by my entrepreneur father and so a pair was created.
Growing up, we all rode Tinker for many years at pony club and he also became a lead in dads team of four horses seen above at Royal Windsor.
Franco the horse also shown in the lead of the team at Royal Windsor
Dad explains 'Franco was born in Argentina herding cattle and bought to the UK where he worked his way up to International High Goal Polo. And then a friend of mine, Bambo*, who sponsored the <polo> team sold him for quite a lot of money to a young banker who played him for many years.'
'Bambo' was the notable entrepreneur, Harold Bamberg, chairman of Cunard Eagle Airways, the Eagle Airways Polo Team and also owner of Cowarth Park, now the hotel. This young banker who played polo has been identified as John Brown, MP for Winchester.
My mum advises, 'he was actually given to me when he retired from Polo with a bow tendon / torn tendon, which finished his polo career. I schooled him and he hunted in his retirement with The Duke of Beaufort and was used by mounted stewards at Badminton Horse Trials'. After which dad decided to make him a carriage horse as a pair with Tinker and a lead in the team.
When speaking to dad about any of his horses, over 50 years later, Dads voice would falter with the memory, the love for each and everyone brimming over and he would share stories contributing to much that I have written above. For Franco, a horse immortalized in an oil panting dad had commissioned, dad would describe the excitement of their drives; 'As soon as Franco saw the polo fields, his ears went up and he was back on the pitch, five years old again. Absolute magic.'
...and absolute magic continues on The Long Walk with history around us and fond memories of the horses and coachman before us.
Thank you for reading.