A TOUR GUIDE AT BLENHEIM PALACE

You may recall that in my last post about my recent trip to England, Sandra Mettler and I spent my first day in London touring the City on the Hop On, Hop Off bus. It was a glorious day, and the summer weather continued, as you’ll see by the headline above. Having spent the past thirty years living in Southwest Florida, 27c (or 80 fahrenheit) was a nice cool down for me and Sandra was just happy to be out from beneath the snow piles she’d left back home in Wisconsin.

So next day, we decided to take the train out to Blenheim Palace, as I hadn’t been there before, believe it or not. In addition, they were holding an antiques fair on the grounds that weekend.

Blenheim Palace, above, was gifted to John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, as a reward from a grateful nation after his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. Of course, there’s a lot more to the story, which you can read here. Likewise, the grateful nation wanted to gift the Duke of Wellington with a similar “Waterloo Palace” after his victory at that battlefield two hundred years on. The government said they’d like to give him something along the lines of Blenheim and, upon hearing that Wellington had never seen Blenheim, a contingent of ministers took him out to Oxfordshire to rectify that oversight. As I looked at Blenheim for the first time, I could only imagine Wellington’s face as he took it all in. Ever practical, his answer to their offer of a similar pile was, “Oh. Hell. No.” Or words to that effect. Instead, he chose Stratfield Saye, already built and much more in the style of a family home.

Here are some bits of the Blenheim facade in photos I took on the day. I couldn’t fit it all into a single frame . . . .

 

 

 

 

The ceiling of the entry portico is decorated with six eyes: three blue and three brown and all of them left eyes. They were painted in 1928 by artist Colin Gill based on strict instructions from Gladys, the beautiful, American, eccentric 2nd wife of the Ninth Duke of Marlborough.

And the dining room is set up in what should naturally be the entry foyer . . . .

The rest of the Palace is a bit less eccentric –

Consuelo Vanderbilt, 9th Duchess of Marlborough
The First State Room
The Long Library
The Green Writing Room
Winston Churchill’s boots
The Chapel

After touring the Palace, Sandra and I took a turn around a portion of the gardens –

And then carried on through the grounds to the nearby market town of Woodstock.

The gate leading off the estate and into Woodstock

Woodstock was established in 1179, when King Henry gave the town a Royal Charter. From the 16th century, the town was known for glove making, but the town changed substantially once the 1st Duke of Marlborough took up residency at Blenheim and by 1720, the primary business of the town was fine steel work, evolving shortly thereafter into the manufacture of cut steel jewelry.

 

Except for the cars and modern day street signs, Woodstock retains most of its historic charm, the streets lined with period buildings.

 

The Bear Hotel has stood in Park Street since the 13th century and continues to draw in customers today – Sandra and I were unable to pass it up, choosing instead to stop in for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up.

As we sipped our drinks, I mentioned to Sandra that, once we’d returned to London, I’d like to swing by the Duke of Wellington pub, near our hotel in Sloane Square and where we’d be meeting my friend, Ian Fletcher, the following night.

This we did and you can no doubt imagine my shock when I found the place locked up tight, the furniture cleared out and the sign board gone . . . until the next installment!

THE DEATH OF WELLINGTON AT WALMER

The Duke of Wellington by Count d’Orsay

The Duke of Wellington died at Walmer Castle on September 14, 1852

 From The History of Walmer and Walmer Castle by Charles Robert Stebbing Elvin (1894)

“The Duke of Wellington was Lord Warden (of the Cinque Ports) for nearly four and twenty years, and during all that time rarely missed coming to Walmer after the prorogation of Parliament, staying usually till about the middle of November; and, before leaving for Strathfieldsaye, generally held at Dover a Court of Lodemanage, to discuss and settle the affairs of the Cinque Ports’ pilots.

” . . . The Duke was accustomed to rise early, but, on September 14th, 1852, when his valet called him as usual at six o’clock, he found the Duke particularly drowsy, and thought it best to leave him undisturbed for an hour longer. He therefore withdrew, but remained within hearing. It was fortunate he did so, for soon after he was alarmed at hearing groans from the Duke’s room, and on re-entering was requested to send for Dr. Hulke of Deal, who came, prescribed some simple remedies, and, seeing nothing serious in the Duke’s condition, departed. Shortly after this, however, the Duke became much worse, and messages were despatched for further help. On the return of Dr. Hulke with his son and Dr. McArthur, they found his Grace breathing laboriously, unconscious, and very restless. To assist respiration he was raised and put into his easy chair, where for a time he breathed more freely; but the end was very near, and at five and twenty minutes past three he expired. A message had meanwhile been sent to London for Dr. Williams, who only arrived in time to find the mortal remains of his illustrious patient laid out upon his little camp-bed.

English Heritage

“The Union Jack now drooped at half-mast high upon the castle ramparts; announcing to the world that the Iron Duke, the nation’s idol was no more. The body of the departed hero remained at Walmer Castle until the eleventh of November, in the irregularly-shaped room shown in the engraving; which still retains the name of “The Duke’s Room.” The scene at Walmer, subsequent to the removal, cannot be better described than in the following extract from a contemporary record, which conveys a most graphic idea of all the solemn proceedings of this time :—” In the small irregularly shaped death-chamber lay the body of the Duke, inclosed in an outer coffin covered with crimson velvet, and with handles and funeral decorations richly gilt. On the lid, near the head, rested the ducal coronet, and beyond it the pall, gathered back, to give visitors a complete view. The coffin rested on a low stand, covered with black cloth, round which candelabra with huge wax lights and plumes of feathers were arranged. The walls and roof of the small apartment were, of course, hung with black cloth, the single deep-recessed window closed, and candles, reflected against silver sconces, barely relieved the gloom of the sombre display. Visitors entering at one door passed by the end of the coffin, and then out at another without interruption. The ante-chambers and corriders were also darkened, hung with black, and lighted with candles placed at intervals on the side walls.

“The first day for admission of the public was Tuesday (Nov. 9th). Through the low strong archway of the entrance the visitors passed, first, along the curved glass-covered passage, then through the dimly lighted anterooms into the chamber of death, and then along corridors and down staircases and across the garden on to the beach. All the way at a few paces distance from each other on either hand, the guard of honour of the Rifle Brigade were placed, each man with his arms reversed, and leaning in a sorrowful attitude on his musket. Along the beach, as far as the eye could reach towards Deal, a long train of visitors dressed in mourning passed and repassed throughout the day, while from greater distances conveyances arrived and took their departure in quick succession.

“The stream of visitors continued throughout the Tuesday, and until four o’clock in the afternoon of the following day; during which time upwards of nine thousand people are said to have visited the chamber of the late Duke to witness the lying in state. But about 7 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 10th), the body was removed to Deal Station, en route for London, under an escort of about 150 men of the Rifle Brigade, commanded by Colonel Beckwith, and attended by mourning coaches in which were seated the Duke’s eldest son and successor, Lord Arthur Hay, Captain Watts, Mr. Marsh of the Lord Chamberlain’s office, and others.

“As the funeral cortege prepared to leave the grounds, the solemn booming of the minute-guns resounded from the castle walls; while the wind brought back the echo from Deal and Sandown, where the like honour was paid to the memory of the deceased. Down the “sombre avenue,” lighted by the lurid glare from the flambeaux with which a body of men led the way, and through the silent crowds who lined the road undeterred by chill darkness of a November night, winded the slow procession; moving with measured tread, until at length they reached Deal Station; the melancholy march of a mile and three-quarters having occupied no less than one hour and a half. There they were awaited by Mr. James Macgregor, M.P., the chairman of the South-Eastern Railway Company; and the hearse having been transferred to a truck, the journey onward to London was resumed at a quarter past nine.

“On arriving at the Bricklayers’ Arms station, the hearse with the coffin was removed to Chelsea Hospital, under an escort of the 1st Life Guards; and there the remains of the Duke continued to lie in state till removed for the Grand State Funeral which took place on the following Thursday, November 18th.

“In 1861, shortly after the appointment of Lord Palmerston (as Lord of the Cinque Ports), several articles were removed from (the Duke of Wellington’s room at Walmer) to Apsley House, with the consent of Lord Dalhousie’s executors, in consequence of a threatened sale by auction; but these have all been recently restored, through the generosity of the present Duke of Wellington, as related further on; and “The Duke’s Room” is once again as it used to be, even to the yellow moreen curtains and the orignal bedding and chair-cover. The bookshelves have, however, been wisely covered with glass doors, and so converted into a cabinet, in which many articles of interest are kept under lock and key; including the Duke’s set of his own printed despatches, in twelve vols., the first volume of which has been despoiled of its title-page by some thief, or thievish collector, for the sake no doubt of the autograph. This cabinet also contains, among other things, two pairs of “Wellington” boots, and a volume of Statutes relating to the Cinque Ports, of the date of 1726. The latter was presented to the Duke of Wellington by Lord Mahon, and contains the autograph of each. One pair of the “Wellingtons,” described in the schedule of heirlooms as a pair of “Field Marshall’s ‘Wellington’ boots,” are believed to be the same that were worn by the Duke at the Battle of Waterloo. The famous camp-bedstead has now a green velvet coverlet, presented by the Countess of Derby in 1893.

“The engravings in this room include portraits of Mrs. Siddons, Mr. Burke, and Lord Onslow, as well as the Duke’s print of the Chelsea pensioners reading the Gazette announcing the victory at Waterloo; and in the adjoining dressing-room, is a curious piece of work, made by the Duke’s house carpenter and shown at the Exhibition in 1851, being the representation of Strathfieldsaye House, in the form of a picture, composed it is said of 3,500 pieces of wood. The Duke of Wellington thought so much of this picture that it used to hang during his lifetime in the dining-room.”

THE CARRIAGE HORSE – Part Two

From The Horse-World of London by William John Gordon (1893)

Thousands of horses are imported and exported annually. So great is the Continental trade, that at Harwich, for instance, the Great Eastern Railway Company have provided stabling for eighty horses, which is frequently full. As many as 120 have been sent across the sea in one boat, most of them being Irish; indeed, the whole Belgian army used to be horsed from Ireland, the shipments, of course, going direct. We import mostly for the cheaper kinds of work, and we export for hard work, breeding, and waste, and in a whisper be it mentioned, for various food preparations, though not largely for these last. Sometimes the exports exceed the imports; sometimes, and oftener, the balance is the other way; though it is always on the right side as far as cash is concerned, for the imported horses average 111. as their value, while the exported horse is worth 54L.

In 1890, 19,400 horses came into this country and 12,900 went out; in 1889, 13,800 came in and 14,200 went out; and in three years the exports realised 2,532,000L, while the imports were declared at only 804,000L In 1876, when our horse-world was in a bad way, as many as 40,700 came in, but the imports have ever since shown a tendency downwards. Of these foreigners London has always taken the largest share. They are of all classes. On one occasion Tattersall’s sold a batch of carriage horses from the States—good upstanding animals of sixteen hands or more, with good teeth and the uncut tail so much valued by jobmasters for their fashionable hirers, and these fetched in some cases 80 and 120 guineas. But the bulk of our imports are not of this quality, and come from nearer home. The draught horses come in from Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and Prance; the ponies from Norway and Sweden, and East Russia and Poland and Finland; the riding and driving horses from Hanover and Hungary. Some, as we have seen, come from the United States, some from Canada—the Canadian horse having many admirers—and even the South American mustang and the South Russian tarpan have figured in the carriages with less than four wheels licensed by the Board of Inland Revenue.

It is the general opinion that our carriage horses are not as good as they used to be, and we are told of the wonderful work that was accomplished by them before the railway monopolised the long-distance passenger traffic. A carriage horse that travels a hundred miles a week is now thought to be a treasure, but many horses in the past did fifty miles a day. The travelling carriage with its two horses would then do about ten miles at the rate of six or seven miles an hour, and halt for a quarter of an hour, during which the horses would wash out their mouths and eat a wisp of hay; the next stage would be about six miles, when there would be a halt for half an hour, during which the horses would be unharnessed and rubbed well down and fed with half a peck of corn; at the end of another ten miles there would be a halt of a quarter of an hour and a bait as before; at the end of six miles further there would be a halt of two hours, during which the horses would have both hay and corn; then would come another ten-mile stage, ending with a quarter of an hour’s bait; and then would come the remaining eight miles, at the end of which the horses would have a mash before their night meal. This was the way people travelled when George the Fourth was King, or perhaps it would be more correct to say, ‘the way some people travelled,’ for it is clear enough that this sort of horse was the exception and not the rule. Of course, a large number went by post-horses; and then there was the coach traffic, so curiously limited in its capacity.

There are coaches now; even during the winter there are half-a-dozen working on the roads to and from London; but these coaches can hardly be taken seriously as representing the coach of those ‘glorious old days,’ the recollection of which has lasted so much longer than their existence.

The mails have been carried by train for a longer period than they were carried by coach. The first mail coach appeared in August 1784, it having been then introduced by Major Palmer, the Duke of Richmond’s son-in-law. What may be called the dominant idea of his invention was the cutting up of the road into short stages so as to change horses every ten miles, and use just as many horses as there were miles to be travelled. About 1835, when coaching was in its prime, there were seven hundred coaches at work, and these averaged ten miles an hour. Each horse ran for only one hour in the twenty-four, and stayed at home on the fourth day. He lasted about four years, and he cost 25Z. to buy; but the horses used within the tenmile radius of the large towns were very different from the roughish cattle that took their places along the country stretches. Nowadays our coaches are horsed with teams of level excellence all the way down. To horse the Brighton coach of 1891 forty-five horses were used, and these at Aldridge’s realised under the hammer 3,811 guineas, or an average of 85 guineas each. In 1877 the Brighton stud fetched 80L each; in 1878 they fetched 75L; in 1885 the Guildford horses fetched 74L 10s. each, and next year the Windsor horses fetched over 601. The truth is that our modern coachhorses are really hunters, while the business coachhorse of the past was more of an omnibus horse. Of course the only coach-horses that come into our London ‘world’ are those used on the home stage, and their number is insignificant in a herd of hundreds of thousands such as that with which we are dealing.

As with the horses so with the coach. The present coach is merely a drag for passengers only, and differs greatly from the old mail, which went swinging along, with a lurch every now and then, no matter how cleverly it might be ballasted. Its fore boot was full of parcels, so was its hind boot; its roof was piled up with baggage, with a tarpaulin lashed over the pile; game and baskets were hung on to its lamp irons; and underneath it was a ‘cradle’ of more luggage, all carefully packed, it is true, but giving a very different look to the whole affair than we get to-day in the handsome drags that leave the Metropole. The coaches, as now, were mostly supplied by contract. Vidler of Millbank was the great man, and he used to sell them right out at 140 guineas, or lend them out at so much a mile. And the horses were also hired out. Chaplin was the largest contractor; he had 1,700 horses at one time at work on the roads out of London. Horne was another contractor in an expansive way; he, like Chaplin, had been a driver, and the time came when he became his partner, and dropping coaching took to cartage, for which, as Chaplin and Home, they became better known.

As London now has its Cart-horse Parade, it had then its parade of mail coaches, which took place at Millbank, where the coaches were mostly built and the harness made. It was held on May Day, and brought together all the large London coach proprietors, the Sherborns, the Hearnes, the Faggs, and others, men who prided themselves on the fact that nowhere in the world were to be found such horses, such coaches, such drivers, or such guards. ‘The coaches and harness were either new or newly painted and furnished,’ says Mr. J. K. Fowler in his interesting Echoes of Old Country Life, ‘the horses in the pink of condition and beauty, the coachmen and guards in new liveries of scarlet and gold, each proprietor vieing with his opponent in an endeavour to produce the most perfect turn-out. Critics abounded, and the judges gave the awards unbiassed by any predilections for the teams which passed through their respective districts. The procession started, and dense crowds of spectators thronged the route from Westminster, through the Strand, Fleet Street, and Ludgate Hill, by the Old Bailey, to the General Post Office.’

THE CARRIAGE HORSE

From The Horse-World of London by William John Gordon (1893)

Four-horse coach weighs a ton; a single brougham, the lightest close carriage built, weighs about seven hundredweight: the carriage horse has thus not much of a weight to pull, but he has to pull it at a good pace, and it is the pace that kills. In quick work nowadays it is as much as an average carriage horse can do to travel fourteen miles a day for five days only of the week.

Eighty per cent of the magnificent animals that draw the family coaches to the Queen’s drawing-rooms are on hire from the jobmaster. If you keep them and shoe them yourself at your own stables, you can get them for a hundred guineas a year; if you want them only from April to July, you will be lucky to get them for six guineas a week, taking them by the month; or if you want them in the off season, you can, perhaps, have them cheap at sixteen guineas a month. If the jobmaster keeps them and shoes them at his stables, his charge is nearly double. This is for what is known as ‘state coach horses,’ but good carriage horses cost as much. Some jobmasters will provide you with brougham and horse, and everything but the coachman’s livery, for 200L a year, but only on the condition that you never go outside the seven-miles radius from Charing Cross. In fact, the first-class carriage horse is a somewhat unsatisfactory investment; it is safer to hire than to buy him; and hence the importance of the jobmaster in the horse-world of London.

There are some of the London jobmasters with 500 pairs out among the carriage folk, and several with over a hundred pairs. These horses are nearly all geldings, and they almost all begin their carriage work when they are four and a half years old; if they are bought before, they have to be kept till fit, which is another way of saying that there is little monetary advantage in buying them young, as the cost of their keep increases their price. Out of each thousand, three hundred are cleared out of the stables in a year to the auction mart, and about twenty-five die from accident or disease.

How many carriage horses are there in London? By the courtesy of the Board of Inland Revenue we are enabled to speak precisely with regard to the number of carriages. During the year ending March 31, 1891, the number of carriage licences issued within the Administrative County of London was 22,204. Of these, 7,955 were for carriages with four or more wheels drawn by two or more horses; 7,535 for carriages with four or more wheels but fitted to be drawn by one horse only, and 6,714 for carriages with less than four wheels. Of course, this is independent altogether of the hackney carriages which are given in the Metropolitan Police report, and of all vehicles, carts, vans and otherwise, used in trade. These carriages have probably about forty thousand horses, varying in value from the twenty-guinea pony up to the four-hundred-guinea state-coach horse; to average them is almost impossible, although the lot would certainly represent more than 2,500,000L at present prices.

There are just double as many private carriages in London as there are cabs, and they range from the fifteen-guinea pony trap up to the three-hundred-guinea chariot, and beyond to the gorgeous official coaches including the Lord Mayor’s carriage, which pays duty like the rest. How to sort out the proportions we candidly do not know, but if we adopt for the capital they represent the excellent principle suggested by Mr. Montague Tigg, ‘and put down a one, and as many noughts as we can get in the line,’ we shall have a million’s worth, and average our vehicles at 45L each, which is about half what they are generally said to amount to.

Doubling the million, then, and adding to it the two millions and a half for the horses, and another half million for the stabling and harness, we arrive at five millions as the approximate value of the London private carriages and their horses, with their stables and coach-houses. In the last half million we are well enough within the mark to allow for any excess we may have made in the other items, for a set of pony harness will cost 51., and much of the double chariot harness seen in St. James’s Street during a drawing-room is worth from thirty to forty pounds a set; and for stable accommodation the stock estimate is 151. per horse.

The stabling in a London mews has not the best of reputations, and its accommodation compares unfavourably with that obtainable at a country.town; in fact, it is owing in a great measure to the stable difficulty that so many people job their horses during the London season. The horse of pleasure is not like the horse of trade; he is worked at all hours, but rarely with regularity; he is kept healthy with exercise instead of work; and consequently he has to be carefully looked after, and wants the best of housing, which in London he does not always get.

A large number of these showy carriage horses are Cleveland bays, bred in North Yorkshire and South Durham, such horses as in recent years have been sold at from 30 pounds to 60 pounds as stud-book foals, at from pounds to 70 pounds as yearlings, and at from 60 pounds to 160 pounds as two-year olds. At one time the Cleveland mare was almost the only mother of our best carriage horses, but of late a good many of them trace their maternal pedigree through the Clydesdale breed, the result being a gain in hardiness and in the firmness and fitness of the feet for the hard paving of the town streets. But there are thousands which are neither Clevelands nor Clydesdales, and are bred from a Yorkshire coach-horse and a thoroughbred mare, or from the humble hackney stallion and half-bred mare, such as may occasionally be found in our omnibus and van stables. And there are thousands that are not home-bred at all. In every county in England the foreign ‘ machiner’ will be found ousting the native, and in Hyde Park during the season he will be found in dozens, unmistakable though unlabelled, crawling along as leisurely as if his owner or hirer were like the great Earl of Chesterfield rehearsing a funeral.

Part Two coming soon!

THE BREWER’S HORSE

From The Horse-World of London by William John Gordon (1893)

The brewer’s horse is a splendid animal, the most powerful as a rule of London’s heavy brigade. At the Cart-horse Parade, in which teams of all classes compete, the first, second, and third prizes were taken for the only two years in which they entered by Messrs. Courage, whose cast horses are generally sold for an average of 321. each, one of them having fetched fifty-one guineas, the highest price ever obtained for a horse cleared out of a stud as being past the work of the trade in which he made his first appearance in town. In fact, there is no stud in the kingdom of higher level excellence than that under Mr. Laird’s care at Horselydown, which is saying much, considering that the 3,000 horses owned by the larger London brewers are worth at the very lowest estimate 90L apiece.

A barrel of beer weighs 4 cwt.; a brewer’s van carries 25 barrels, which means 5 tons; the van itself weighs not less than 35 cwt., some of them weigh over 2 tons; the harness weighs three quarters of a hundredweight; the men weigh—what? It is a delicate question. To answer it Mr. Laird weighed a drayman for us, a fine young man in his twenty-ninth year, he weighed 20 st. 10 lbs.! And the horse he drove, a five-year-old gelding standing 17*2 and still growing, was then put on the scale, and dipped the beam at just over the ton.

But this is hardly a fair average. Let us throw the men in with the sundries, and say these tremendous horses have to draw 8 tons; and this is for three horses worked unicorn fashion, two at the pole and one as leader. According to one horse-keeper, who had been twenty-seven years in his position, it now takes three horses to do the work that four did twenty years ago. ‘The vans have improved, the roads have improved, and the horses have improved, especially the horses’; but this is not the usual opinion, for even with the brewer’s horse the laudation of the past is the consolation of the many.

On most of these horses there is not a pound of superfluous flesh. They are working regularly every week-day, doing often their fourteen hours a day, sometimes doing sixteen hours, resting on Sundays, and having a light load on Monday, which is the brewer’s dull day; out at five o’clock in the morning, back into stable at seven at night; averaging six years of work; and then, in many cases, realising over 201. under the hammer when cleared out to make way for the newcomers.

Most of those under notice to quit look little the worse for wear, although perhaps their legs may have come over a little with the draught, which in the suburbs is severe, the load being no light one to drag over a hilly track at the brewer’s walking rate of five miles an hour easy. But it does not do for a team to have a weak horse, unless, maybe, the leader, who can shirk now and then if he chooses, for the rate of the slowest is ever the rate of progress; hence horses are worked together only so long as they work equally, and the weak one is rejected immediately he is found out, lest he should demoralise his companions.

 

There is a prevalent notion that hairy-legged horses stand heavy work better than others, but the value is not in the hair, but in the stout bone it should cover. One of Courage’s best horses is a Clydesdale, with his fore legs so fine, because fleshless and so thinly-haired, that the question has been asked if it was intended ‘to go racing with that animal’; but Clydesdales, though now improving every year, do not run quite heavy enough for brewers’ work, and nearly all the horses are shires. Some brewers—Barclay & Perkins, for instance —have nothing but shires in their stables; and this particular stud, a singularly fine one, averages seven and a half years of brewery life.

Of course all the brewers do not work their horses on the same system. Hoare’s, by way of example, work their 160 horses only five days a week, and no horse is allowed to be out more than ten hours without being examined by the horse-keeper. Their horses are bought at six years old and cleared out on the average at twelve, which is as soon as they show the least sign of decay; and there is not a horse in their stud weighing under 16 cwt. or standing under 17 hands, which compares rather awkwardly for the antiquarians with the 14 ‘handfuls’ which Henry VIII. fixed as the minimum of stallions in 1535. A range of twelve inches, unless the horses were of very different classes, seems too wide to be true. The thoroughbred racehorse increases a hand in height every century; in 1700 ho stood 13-2, he now stands 15-2; and it certainly looks as though the heavy horse had also grown a little.

It is noteworthy that these big horses should so very seldom have bad tempers; they are almost as intelligent as dogs, and quite as amiable. They are in rude health, it is true, and that may account for their being comfortable and pleased with themselves, more especially as they are kept hard at regular work, but it is scarcely enough to answer for their peculiar placidity under all circumstances.

Kristine and Victoria can personally attest to the fact that beer is still being delivered by horses in Windsor – as seen outside the Horse and Groom, opposite St. George’s Chapel.

The one great secret of keeping them in condition is attention to their feet. There is no animal more carefully shod than a brewer’s horse. Many of them have a different make and shape of shoe on each hoof. At Courage’s, for instance, no such things as standard sizes are known; the shoe is always made specially to fit the foot, and the shoes are never thrown away, but are mended—soled and heeled, in fact—by having pieces of iron welded into them again and again as they are worn. Some of the shoes are steel-faced; some are barred, the shoe going all round the foot; some have heels, some have toes; some have one clip, some have two; in fact, there are almost as many makes of shoe as there are in a Northampton factory.