Dickey or Rumble Seats

(Rob Reilly) #1

Many times over the years people have asked me if my Mark V has a rumble seat. I guess they see the shape of the boot and the location of the boot handle and that’s what they think of. Now it has happened with the SS.

So I got to wondering, going back to the Swallow Coachbuilding days in Blackpool, did Lyons and Walmsley ever do a rumble seat? I have just about every Jaguar history book ever printed going back to 1957 and I don’t recall ever seeing a Swallow bodied car with a rumble seat. Anybody know?

(Peter Scott) #2

I guess the nearest to this was John Black’s Triumph Roadster that used the same engine as the 1776 cc Jaguar. But to be honest the concept of a rumble seat never really made much sense in the UK climate despite its use in several cars during the 1920s and when did you ever see such a concept in an already four seater body.


(Ed Nantes) #3

Well, now we mention it…

The only SS that comesto mind was pictured in one of those coffee tale Jaguar books. A coachbuilders conversion on a very first model SS1 wherethe trunk had been converted to a dickey seat.
But for one by Lyons himself there is this Swallow Sidecar

At leas a father could relax seeing his daughter off to the drive in in that.
But the triumph Roaster [ which I remeber featured in a police series in UK set on Gernsey [ or similar[ the words " Bungle in the Rumble’ come to mind.

(ronbros) #4

i do know Ford and some GM cars had Rumble seats! called convetable coupes.

altho the most sought after were the cars with the Fold down windscreens, these were called roadsters!

of course Cadillac had to out do everybody, with DUAL COWL twin cockpit cars 16 cylinders!


(Rob Reilly) #5

Love that sidecar.
Snowbound for awhile at the nursing home, the mind wanders to the web.
Curious to know the origins of the terms rumble seat and dickey seat, I found a book online printed in 1903 entitled Stage-Coach and Mail in Days of Yore, which is about the horse drawn coaches of 1550 to 1875 in Britain, Scotland and Wales.

Before about 1670 even the king’s coach did not have springs. From about 1700 to 1780 stage coaches were just a box on springs seating up to 6 passengers. Luggage was carried in a big wicker basket attached, not to the box, but to the rear axle crosstree, so it had no benefit of the springs. Coachmen and ostlers were careless with the luggage, tumbling it into the basket anyhow. Proprietors discovered that people were willing to ride on the roof for half fare, lying flat or sitting hanging onto ropes and handles. If the roof was full, the unfortunate last outside fare went into the basket, which was a very uncomfortable ride due to the lack of springs and the terrible roads of those days, bruises and sore bones being commonly expected. Convicted felons in chains also rode back there on their way to Newgate, Horsemonger Lane, the Tower and the Clink, taking that last opportunity to give their opinions to the public as they passed. The basket became known among the regular passengers as the “rumble-tumble”.

So perhaps the term “rumble seat” may have been derived from those stage coaches in Britain.

From 1780 to 1848 was the era of the Royal Mail coaches, which carried the mail and the mail revenues, and needed an armed guard, who rode way at the back on a high seat so he could see the would-be robbers, and get a shot at them with his blunderbuss. The mail bags were carried in a locked box under his boots, and he had a long horn or a keyed trumpet to announce his approach to the next town where horses were changed, in some cases playing a popular tune. The single seat was known as the “dickey seat”. Mail coaches and the competing stage coaches gradually acquired more seats on the roof for more half-fare “outsides”.

The book unfortunately does not reveal the reason for the name, variously spelled dickey, dicky or dickie, but this was also a term used for any tiny bird. Theories on the internet mostly revolve around a little musical dickey bird on a high perch, or the name Richard.

(Peter Scott) #6

You don’t need to include Scotland and Wales when talking of Britain. Britain includes both Scotland and Wales. What I find really annoying is where people talk of England as if it includes Scotland and Wales. What Britain does not include is Northern Ireland so the totally inclusive term is the United Kingdom or U.K.


(Roger McWilliams) #7

Also called the “mother-in-law” seat.

(Rob Reilly) #8

Thanks, Peter, I did not know that.
The author used both names seemingly at random, but now I think about it, he may have used Britain when writing about coaches that crossed the borders, and England when on coaches that stopped at Birmingham and Manchester and Liverpool. There was no mention of Ireland except as the reason coaches went to Holyhead.
He also had nothing good to say about motor cars, predicting that his beloved hills and dales would soon be leveled out so the smelly dust raisers could go 30 miles in an hour.

The origin of mother-in-law seat is not too difficult to imagine. :laughing:

(Ed Nantes) #9

Just wondering them, what is the difference between Britain and Great Britain?
Perchance a leader needing to ’ Make Britain Great Again?
And oddly there is always an English Cricket team, but never [ to my knowledge] a Scottish Test team… or Welsh or Ulster.
My main concern with Brexit, is that if it goes ahead, cCots are talking about preferring to stay in Europe and re-visiting the separation from UK again. If that happened the St Andrews cross would need to be remove d from the Union Jack.
And where does that leave the Australian flag, and NZ and Hawaiian that also incorporate the Union jack.
It seem that the Irish Customs issue isn’t the only matter not thought through.
And would a Scottish secession be commonly known as " Sexit"?

(Roger McWilliams) #10

In modern use, Britain and Great Britain often are used interchangeably when referring to country. The Greeks, a while back, referred to the big island as Great Britain and the Irish island as Little Britain.

(Roger Payne) #11

You have to love the nuances of terminology as supposedly shared by countries all claiming to speak English, although surely Scottish-English, American-English and Indian-English should now be classified as dialects.

I did wonder if Britain just meant the mainland, and Great Britain added the adjacent/included islands but maybe not.

In the same vein, as part of my worldly education back in the 1970s travelling around Britain camping in a tent, somewhere North we got talking to a very friendly Scottish Couple offering us Strawberries and Cream, a local delicacy that she had to fully explain to us, as surely we colonials didn’t know what they were, let alone tasted them.

But we were advised that within the English Press, if a Scot won a gold at the Olympics/Tennis/soccer etc he was referred to as British. But if an Englishmen won gold he was English.

On the other side if a Scot committed murder/rape/crime etc, he was a Scot, but if an Englishman committed murder he was British.

I then made it my business to check the English press, albeit in mid 1970s, and indeed this was very accurate advice! Don’t know whether it is still the case these days, but given Brexit I am sure its still the case.

(Peter Scott) #12

I’ve always just assumed that Great Britain was just a piece of self agrandissement.

Peter (not the great)

(Ed Nantes) #13

Odd ly the mention of the term Little Britain conjures up th e following image ell that and Marjorie daws, fat fighters and Daffyd [ te only gay in the village. I wasa little horrified to se pics froma " Little Britain USA" show. That can’t be right. It’s about as likely as a US Test Team.

(Lovell) #14

Greetings All,

Well…Standard had this…IMG_1031 `

(Peter Scott) #15