Before the “minicab era”
The rich and powerful never wanted to mingle with the commoners, to dirty their feet on the muddy streets, to sweat or to fight rain on their travels through the city. The need for a means of transport that can overcome these issues was more than evident. This is how the „litter” was invented, based on the needs of the rich people. We can now say that the litter is actually the ancestor of today`s minicab. The litter occurred in some areas of the world such as India, even before our era, being used both for passengers and in religious rituals. Usually on the platforms you could see people, animals or statues of deities.
As an embodiment, a litter means a bed or a chair in a structure built of wood, sometimes covered, so the person can be protected from rain and sun. It could be carried by people or animals (like horses, elephants and camels), their number ranging from one to four. In some cases they could exceed 12 people, if they were dealing with an important ruler or a high priest. Several names designate this ancient means of transport, the best known being: litter (in ancient Rome), palanquin (in France, India,Ghana), kago or norimono (in Japan), jiao (China), and sedan chair in England. The Spanish and Portuguese seafarers and settlers brought with them from South America this vehicle that was first popular and expanded quickly in Spain, then in France and England. In those days, the streets were full or dirt and mud and the nobility and wealthy people were delighted that they could avoid it.
Evolution of the sedan chairs was rapid and the popularity of this mean of transport increased really quickly. A courtier of King Charles I (1600-1649) was holding the monopoly in 1634 in London, being one of the few that could provide this kind of high transport services (at that time). Sir Saunders Duncombe took out a 14 year old license to provide chairs to the public as vehicles for hire. They quickly became popular in London because they were cheaper than a hackney cab and provided cover to the extravagant wigs and gowns that were currently in fashion. The sedan chair was very popular in the spa towns, such as Bath, since the spa towns were attracting many people with mobility problems and the chair was a practical way to get from the chamber to spa and back again.
The ladies belonging to the high class society could not be carried in any kind of chairs, so the sedan chair started to look better and better, the seats became more beautiful, decorated in styles according with the time period, as seen in the painting by G Borgelli, from the nineteenth century, where a lady was sitting in a splendid blue chair built in rococo style. Can you imagine a journey to the airport with this means of transport? Of course not, especially when you have just 30 minutes to catch your flight. Fortunately, with 247 Airport Transfer you get to your destination in time, enjoy the journey and you still remain classy … just like in the old days of the 17th century.