Road Coach “Tantivy”

Serial No. 2176
F & R Shanks

This coach ranks with the Nimrod as the two best examples of English road coaches still in existence.

The Tantivy was built for John Thompson, an Irish coaching enthusiast then living in Dublin. In The Badminton Library book “Driving,” it is stated that Mr. Thompson ran the Tantivy from the Shelburne Hotel, Dublin, to Greystones in 1887, with Ernest Fownes as the professional coachman. In 1888 the route to Greystones was changed to a road passing through Bray and Dalgeny. About 1900, John Thompson moved to live in Maidenhead, a town on the River Thames, west of London. He ran the Tantivy from London to Henley or Maidenhead during the following three or four summers. In 1905, he had Dick Hunt, a livery stable proprietor in Brighton, organize a double coach run from the Metropole Hotel, Brighton, to the Calverly Hotel, Tunbridge Wells. Harry King was the professional coachman and a few noted amateurs drove on occasion, one being “Swish” Broadwood, who had been one of the sponsors of Jim Selby on his record-breaking drive from London to Brighton and back in 1888.
After John Thompson’s death in 1909, the Tantivy was acquired by Sidney Truett, a professional coachman and jobmaster from Hammersmith. One of Truett’s clients was Percy Hamilton Hughes, a London stockbroker who used the coach on different runs out of London for several years. The coach was bought from Sid Truett in 1932 by Noel B. Ducker, who only used it for pleasure driving. The coach was sold by Mr. Ducker’s executors at the Reading carriage auction in November, 1991, and Mr. Seabrook was the purchaser. The coach was then left in the care of Erik West, coach painter and refurbisher to the Royal Household, who restored it to its present condition.

Refer to the description of the Shanks mail phaeton.

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