Listed in 1 collection

Listed at 1 museum

Listed for 1 maker

Quick Details

Carriage Type

Private Drag

Date of Production


Accession or Inventory Number

NT 272894.1

Materials used

Paint, Wood, Iron, Leather, Wool Box Cloth, Bone, Brass, Rubber

Summary of Private Drag

Private Drag for a team of horses. This carriage has a centre pole and is sprung with telegraph springs. The interior is in dark blue wool cloth.  A heraldry crest is on both side panels. Painted black with yellow lining. Built in 1896 by J. A. Lawton and Co., Liverpool.

This Private Drag can seat 12 on the roof – the owner who would drive, nine passengers and two grooms and space for four inside.  The name drag is a slang term for a gentleman’s private coach driven to four horses by the owner.  Drags were used to attend meets of coaching clubs and for driving to sporting events, such as cricket matches or race meetings, where they made excellent grandstands.  This coach has many of the fittings you would expect to find on a private coach, including a basket for umbrellas, a folding step ladder for access to the roof seats, zinc-lined mahogany boxes and a baize-lined drawer in the hind boot for the stowage of food, drink, cutlery, crockery and glasses. The boot door is hinged at the bottom edge so that it can be used as a serving table.

Sir Dymoke White of Havant, Hampshire, the former owner of this coach, was a member of The Coaching Club from 1939 until his death in 1968 and was president from 1956 to 1968. During this period he attended nearly every meet of the club with his coach and was one of the most successful competitors in coaching classes at horse shows.  He died shortly after the conclusion of a coaching marathon at the Aldershot Show in 1968. 

Arthur Showell, former head coachman at the Royal Mews, worked for Sir Dymoke for 9 years.  He described them as the happiest years of his life.  “He had a black Lawton coach which was the best one, used when we went to Ascot or anything like that.  Race days we would get to Ascot at 12 o’clock.  Sir Dymoke loved to drive up the High Street with all the traffic and hustle and bustle, and he would have George Abbott blowing the horn all the way!” At the last show they attended, Aldershot 1968, Sir Dymoke was driving with his sister beside him. Arthur recalls what happened - “We were trotting, and I was sitting at the back.  The next thing I heard was Miss Pauline calling, “Arthur! Arthur!” and Sir Dymoke had fallen backwards; and do you know, those horses stopped quick as anything, although we were trotting!”  A doctor was called and Sir Dymoke was taken to hospital, where he died.  Arthur finishes this sad incident: “A chap came up and says to me, “If I were you I would load up and go home”, and that remark really brought me up short because nobody had told me what to do for nine and a half years. Sir Dymoke never told me what to do. He knew he never had to, we just talked roughly about what was going to happen.”


Height: 7ft 10" 

Length: 12ft 5 1/4"

Width: 6ft 1 1/4"

Full description

A typical four seat coach body with fore and hind boots. Three kicking bars are fitting to the on front boot to help to reduce damage if the wheeler horses kicked out. Access to the front boot is through the hinged floor of the footboard and by lifting up the seat back of the front seat inside the coach. On the rear boot the tailboard is hinged on the bottom edge. The roof seats are overhanging and have double rails on the coachman's and grooms seats and single on the passenger seats with leather skirting. In the rear boot is a baize lined cutlery tray/drawer above two zinc lined cellarets with 18 wickerwork bottle partitions in each.

The coach has doors on concealed hinges with brass T. Handles and locks with a brass flap concealing escutcheon. Each door has Lowering windows in doors and lowering panel blinds. At the bottom of the doors are double rectangular jagged plate steps, the lower step folds. Other steps on the coach are on the outer stock loops of the front wheels and jagged plate treads on outer roller bolts. Two rectangular skeleton steps are on front boot and rectangular skeleton steps are on the irons beneath the back of the hind boot. A folding iron ladder enables access to the tops of both boots with stowage hooks beneath the grooms seat board. Two dial fronted lamps with single tier round chimneys are held in brackets fitted to the front side panels of the body of the coach.

This Private Drag has 12 and 14 spoke English pattern wheels with flat iron tyres on mail axles. The open futchell fore carriage is sprung on telegraph springs which are also on the hind carriage, the wood perch is compassed to match the profile of the underside of the body. A ever action brake has wood blocks and a linkage running under the body via a lever on the fore-boot to the hand lever.

Paintwork consists of the body, wheels and under carriage in black with fine yellow lines on the body mouldings and broad yellow lines on the wheels, fore-carriage and box seat risers. There is evidence of red paint underneath in the areas where the newer paint has flaked off. On the outside the coach has black ribbed rubber mats on the footboard and the tops of both boots with a punched design. All of the outside cushions are upholstered in dark blue cloth with black leather piping and have buttons covered with black leather. The removable back rest for the box seat passenger is covered in blue cloth as is the coachman’s seat. Box seat fall in dark blue cloth with black leather welting. Inside the coach the upholstery consists of buttoned dark blue wool cloth with dark blue leather covered buttons. The broad laces except the glass strings are in black and blue worsted. A leather hat net is fitted to the heaven in roof.


On the axles: Made for J.A.LAWTON &Co. LIVERPOOL 3 – 96 (probably March 1896) J.A.LAWTON & CO LIVERPOOL Muruman St

Access information

This currently in the care of The National Trust at the Arlington Court Carriage Museum.

Arlington Court,


near Barnstaple, 


EX31 4LP

Picture credit

The National Trust/Elizabeth Jamieson