The Rise and Fall of Britain’s Biggest Pram Collection

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I’m a sucker for a strange collection and have a ton of respect for people with an earnest, eager interest in preservation. And, as a new mom, strollers are on my brain way more than before. Until reading this piece from Atlas Obscura, however, I’d never thought about how strollers or prams, like many other objects that have evolved over time, really give you do give you a societal snapshot of the era in which they were manufactured and used.

“I have always been a keen collector and I hate to see antique objects destroyed,” Hampshire told the Kent & Sussex Courier in 1976. That year, his collection of baby carriages, wheeled bassinets, and coach-built prams surpassed 260. “My collection is a serious attempt to save something from the past,” he said, “and the pram is something no one else seems to want to collect.”

Hampshire, who died in 1996, remains a legend in the “prammie” community. “I would think we would have been lost … without his interest,” says Christine Horne, a pram collector and organizer of the annual “Pramtasia” convention and parade. But in 1976, Hampshire was right: No matter how beautifully made, or how long they’d been in the family, or how important an object of social history they were, no one cared about prams. His mission to save as many prams as he could became a mission to save a history that was fast being lost to landfills and dumps.

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