The Evolution of the Pram: How Your Most Important Bit of Baby Gear Came to Be

There’s plenty baby bits and bobs you can do without, but one of them definitely isn’t the pram. The pram/stroller/buggy/mini-chariot is a long-term investment that will see you and your tot through many a nap (here’s hoping), shopping expedition – what else are those handles for if not for weighing down with grocery bags?! – and, eventually, all those times when, even though your kid can walk, you’d rather get to your destination sans the whinging over tired legs – or a feral child running rampant.


You know you need it, yet do you know how this irreplaceable sanity-saving invention came to be?

In 1733, the Duke of Devonshire asked William Kent, a well-known garden architect to build a mode of transport purely for the entertainment of his children. Kent set to work constructing a shell-shaped basket on wheels in which the children could sit – whilst being carted around by a goat or small pony.

When other well-to-do folks clapped eyes on the contraption, they quickly commissioned someone to build a similar such novelty for their own brood.

While the carriage speedily became a status symbol for the rich – the design work was ostentatiously ornate and the materials ridiculously luxurious – dragging the kids around in the thing soon became tiresome (for the nanny, that is).

American innovator Charles Burton decided to revamp the prototype model so parents (or nannies) could push their little cargo instead of pull them.

His revision was immediately popular with royalty across the pond; trendsetting Queen Victoria bought three.

In 1852, Burton filed a patent for the “perambulator” (‘pram’, in modern mum vernacular). Although each year saw a fancy new pram update affordable only by the wealthy – the Silver Cross brand emulates ‘exclusivity’ along with the original OTT aesthetic – the once-upon-a-time horse-drawn baby carriage eventually became a staple in almost every parent’s arsenal across the globe…although it did take around a hundred years to happen…

….however did mums manage their shopping before that?