Rachel's writing and research and Regency History blog summary
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Rachel's month

January has been a much more productive month than December! ‘A Perfect Match’ is with my editor (aka my wonderful husband, Andrew) for a final read-through. One last set of changes and then I need to proofread the whole thing before formatting it for publication. I am already thinking about the next book…
Have a great month

Napoleon's carriage being captured after the Battle of Waterloo

What happened to Napoleon's carriage?

by Rachel Knowles

I was fortunate to be able to visit the Waterloo at Windsor 1815-2015 exhibition on Monday. One of the prints that particularly caught my eye was of Napoleon’s carriage when it was on display at Bullock’s Museum in London. You can read about the print here.

I decided to find out more about this carriage and what happened to it. The above print appeared in Ackermann’s Repository in February 1816. It depicts the capture of the carriage by Major Von Keller as Napoleon fled the battlefield at Waterloo. The Prussian Major “reserved the carriage as his own booty”. (1)

It is not clear whether the carriage was sold to the British government by the Prussians or sent as a present to the Prince Regent. Either way, the carriage came to England and was sold to Mr Bullock. It went on display at his London Museum, at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, and then, at the Prince Regent’s desire, went on tour throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. The carriage excited a good deal of interest and it was estimated that Mr Bullock made in excess of £26,000 from the exhibition!

After the tour, the carriage and its contents were sold by auction and bought by someone who wanted to exhibit it in America. Unable to realise his intentions, it was sold again and then taken by a coach maker as part payment of a bad debt! In 1842, this company sold it to Madame Tussaud and Sons where it formed part of a special exhibition about Napoleon.

The carriage was exhibited at Madame Tussaud's until 18 March 1925 when fire swept through the waxworks. A report in The Times confirmed that the fire had destroyed the Waterloo coach. The owner, John Tussaud, commented that: “You cannot put a price on the Napoleonic relics…which cannot be replaced.” (2)

(1) From Ackermann’s Repository (Feb 1816).
(2) From "Waxworks Fire." Times [London, England] 20 Mar. 1925: 11. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 6 Feb. 2015.

Sources used include:
Ackermann’s Repository (Feb 1816).
The Military Carriage of Napoleon Bonaparte, taken after the Battle of Waterloo, printed for Madame Tussaud and Sons (1843).
"Waxworks Fire." Times [London, England] 20 Mar. 1925: 11. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 6 Feb. 2015.

© Rachel Knowles 2015
Links to my January posts:
Strawberry Hill
A Survey of London board game c1820
Dancing at Almack's 1822
Anne Seymour Damer
Rachel at the 2014 Jane Austen Festival Regency Promenade
A voucher for Almack's and a Regency reticule
A promenade dress with a huge muff Jan 1814
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