Local Folk

Which Mr Blaker built the 'Fly'?

By Josie Campbell

The subject appears to possess sufficient interest to warrant me in transcribing the following passage from the History of Brighthelmstone, the twelfth, and concluding part of which was published at Brighton, in December, 1862, its painstaking and talented author, Mr. John Ackerson Erridge, having dropped dead on Nov. 5, aged 52, 'whilst talking cheerfully to the publisher.'

'During the erection of the royal stables, in Church Street, in 1809, a carpenter who lived in Jew Street, named John Butcher, uncle to Mr. Butcher of the present firm, Messrs. Cheesman and Butcher, chairmen, North Street, accidentally fell and injured Himself. Upon his recovery, not being able to resume the heavy work of his trade, he constructed a machine of a similar make to the sedan chair, and placed it upon four wheels. It was drawn by hand in the same manner as Bath chairs, while an assistant, when the person being conveyed was heavy, pushed behind. Its introduction was quite a favourite feature amongst the nobility, and a second fly in consequence was soon constructed. These two vehicles were extensively patronised by the Prince of Wales and his sedan chairs, except for invalids on their conveyance to and from the baths. Butcher, from, the great success which attended his project, being desirous that his fly should have a more elegant appearance than his ability in the ornamental could effect, sent one of them, for the purpose of being repainted and varnished, to Mr. Blaker, coachmaker, Regent Street, Brighton, and he, having an eye to business, purloined the design, and improved upon it by making two or three to be drawn by horses.'

Which Mr Blaker?
This Mr Blaker would be John Blaker but which one? My great great great grandfather John Blaker 1800-1856 Coachmaker of Regent Street, or his father John Blaker 1779-1845 Coachmaker of Regent Street, I am guessing the latter.

This page was added on 22/03/2009.
Comments about this page

Thanks Josie, for this article,very interesting. My gt gt gt gt grandfather (Charles Gandey) was a 'Fly' propreitor in Brighton. Elizabeth Campbell's daughter married his grandson.

By Jane Faccini (neƩ Hanick) (24/03/2009)

My 3 x great grandfather Joseph Vicary (1763 - 1833) was a flyman in Brighton. I was wondering if any of your records mentioned him or any register of flymen that might give me a clue as to his origins.

Editor's note: We don't hold any physical records or archives. The best place to post a question like this is on the Message Board where it will be answered by one of our local historians.

By Ian S Vicary (26/10/2009)

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