Gallery, Decorated Heavy Horses

R.J Bradshaw

For several years now, the author has made a collection of these old images hoping that, one day enough will be at hand to publish as a book on the subject of decorated heavy horses. If anyone has any of these historic images they would like to share, please feel free to scan them, and attach as a jpeg file to an email addressed to, thank you.


A nice line up ready for the local show from R. Chambers of Alperton Middlesex, who was a sand and gravel merchant.

Judging the entrants at a ploughing match in Diss, Norfolk, 1935.


 A helping hand.  Chain horses were a common sight in this era, and could, for a small fee, be quickly attached to heavy loads at the foot of a difficult incline. 

One of a series of well known postcards with all the information on it; in this case a Lewisham winner.


Similar is to be said regarding this one, this time from the London Cart Horse Parade taken on the approaches to Regents Park, by one of the official photographers for the event.

 A Liverpool entrant for the Coronation Horse Parade in 1953, showing the style of floral decoration popular in the region.


Many thanks to Joanne Coleman of Conwy who very kindly sent in this photograph. On the back-board of this dray can be seen the name Willam Blythe of Church, which was part of Accrington in Lancashire. Blythes were a chemical works which explains the strange round bales seen on the cart, which were probably acid carboys mounted in wire-reinforced straw covers that afforded some protection against breakage; Not good odds on todays Heath and Safety Executive allowing such a load on todays roads!!! 

A superb photograph of a winning turnout from Wilkinsons, a Yorkshire grocer who won 1st Prize at the local show in 1905.