The fieldworkers took a keen interest in the horse-drawn vehicles that were still being used in the rural locations they visited. They took photos and produced illustrations to record what these contraptions looked like and how they worked. 

The fieldworkers were keen for the important role the horses played to be remembered once they were replaced by more modern, motorised alternatives. Some informants talked of the railways, but carts and the use of horses and donkeys were the main focus of the fieldworkers’ questions, drawings and photographs.


Most of the carts recorded were wood-armed, horse-drawn vehicles. The following images record their appearance and use. Those showing farm workers are particularly valuable for bringing these traditional means of transport to life.

‘Wood-Armed Dales Cart’ (LAVC/PHO/P1195) by Werner Kissling Muker, North Yorkshire, 1966.

‘Manure Cart’ (LAVC/PHO/P1199) by Werner Kissling. Shaw Cote Farm, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, 1964. The cart has been fitted with pneumatic tyres.

As well as taking photographs, the fieldworkers also got their biros out to make a range of illustrations that record the details of these horse-drawn vehicles.

Illustration of cart, Thistleton, 1952. Recorded on page 5 of the Response Book.

‘Thistleton Response Book’ (LAVC/SED/2/2/5/7/10) by Peter Wright.

Illustration of cart, Lyonshall, Herefordshire, 1952. Recorded on page 1 of Response Book.

‘Lyonshall Response Book - 15He7’ (LAVC/SED/2/2/15/7/10) by Peter Wright.

Handwritten notes in an SED response book

Illustration of Oxfordshire Farm Cart, Eynsham, 1952. Recorded on page 2 of the Response Book .

'Notes [Eynsham Response Book]’ (LAVC/SED/2/2/25/4/10) by Peter Wright.

Illustration of farm cart, Netteswell, Essex, 1952. Recorded on page 1 of Response book.

‘Notes [Netteswell Response Book]’ (LAVC/SED/2/2/29/11/10)

Farmers relied on carters to make sturdy wheels for their horse-drawn vehicles. In a recording made by fieldworker Stanley Ellis in 1953, Thomas Moscrop from Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland described the process of making a cartwheel in detail. He explained the components, including the nave (wooden block at centre of wheel), spokes, felly (section of the wooden rim), shoulders, hoop (iron rim around the wheel), and bush (the metal lining in which the axle sits).

Listen here

'Thomas Moscrop interviewed by Stanley Ellis in 1953' ( LAVC/SRE/D/2/D82 )

A transcription for this audio can be found (here.)

Donkeys were relied upon for transporting heavy loads. This donkey, photographed in 1962, was used for carrying milk to Castle Bolton village in North Yorkshire from a local hillside.

‘Donkey as Pack Animal’ (LAVC/PHO/P1572) by Werner Kissling

In her interview with fieldworker Stanley Ellis in 1955, Rebecca Jefferson in Longtown, Cumbria recalled milking kye (cows) in the byre (cow-shed) and delivering milk by donkey.

Listen here

'Rebecca Jefferson interviewed by Stanley Ellis in 1955’ ( LAVC/SRE/D/2/D88 )
A transcription for this audio can be found (here)