Bath Chair

Contributed by Bath Museums

This early 19th century Bath Chair is rare, although chairs like this were once a common sight on city streets across Europe. The invention of the three-wheeled Bath Chair is attributed to John Dawson of Bath (b.1750), although its earliest antecedents were on the streets by 1760 when Dawson was still a boy. It carried the sick from their lodgings to and from the spa and the rich and famous about their business in the city. For a time Bath was the leading watering hole in Europe and the concept quickly spread to continental spas; Bath Chairs can still be seen at Lourdes and other healing centres in Europe. The chair's popularity eventually superseded the two-man Sedan Chair, probably because it cut the labour cost in half. Despite modification and improvement in the 20th century, the Bath Chair lost out to competition from motorised taxis and lightweight wheelchairs affordable enough to be privately owned. This Bath Chair is displayed at the Assembly Rooms, Bath.

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This example dates to the early C19


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