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Brougham (carriage)

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Brougham c. 1890
Brougham (1900)

A brougham[note 1] was a light, four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage built in the 19th century.[2][note 2] It was named after the politician and jurist Lord Brougham, who had this type of carriage built to his specification by London coachbuilder Robinson & Cook[2] in 1838 or 1839.[2][3] It had an enclosed body with two doors,[2] like the rear section of a coach; it sat two, sometimes with an extra pair of fold-away seats in the front corners,[3] and with a box seat in front for the driver and a footman or passenger. Unlike a coach, the carriage had a glazed front window, so that the occupants could see forward.[2] The forewheels were capable of turning sharply. A variant, called a brougham-landaulet, had a top collapsible from the rear doors backward.[note 3]

Four features specific to the Brougham were:

  1. the absence of a perch - the spring hangers were mounted directly to the body structure, saving weight and lowering the floor, to ease entry
  2. the sharply squared end of the roof at the back,
  3. the body line curving forward at the base of the enclosure, and
  4. low entry to the enclosure, using only one outside step below the door.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

Broughams are a common means of transport in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde mentions the brougham alongside a number of other carriage vehicles of the era, such as the omnibus, the hansom cab, the four-in-hand, and the victoria.

In L. P. Hartley's novel The Go Between a brougham is sent to fetch the character Marian (chapter 23, p.274 [1st ed.]).

In the book The Alienist by Caleb Carr, a frequently used mode of transportation for the characters is a brougham.

In Rudyard Kipling's poem "The Mary Gloster", the dying Sir Anthony complains bitterly to his son about never seeing "the doctor's trusty brougham to help the missus unload" – a reference to the effete Dickie's childless marriage and hence the extinction of his family.

In the novel The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michel Faber, William Rackham purchases a brougham as a surprise gift for his wife, Agnes Rackham, with the help of his beautiful mistress, a former prostitute known as Sugar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pronounced /ˈbru(ə)m/ BROO-əm or /ˈbr(ə)m/ BROH-əm.[1]
  2. ^ The OED gives a first usage in 1851, but the original design dates from about 1838, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica. Brougham died in 1868.
  3. ^ Compare the landau.


  1. ^ "brougham". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Haajanen 2003, p. 24.
  3. ^ a b Stratton 1878, p. 376.


External links[edit]