Vintage Pram Fan

For Fans of Silver Cross and all Vintage Prams

Posted by Lucy On July - 8 - 2017

If you are planning to use an old coachbuilt pram for a baby then it is essential that there is no mould or dirt underneath the interior bed. This happens when a pram has been stored in damp, cold conditions such as a garage or loft. It is often assumed that if the interior of the pram has been thoroughly cleaned then it will be fine for a baby, but underneath the bed unit there may be lots of accumulated debris which has collected there over the years. If you are buying a secondhand pram and it is advertised as “baby ready” do make sure you ask questions about how it has been stored and the process used in making it ready for a baby. Mould spores can be dangerous to a baby, so please satisfy yourself that the pram is suitable.

This is a photo of the grime found underneath a pram bed (thanks to the owner of the pram for allowing its use).

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It is possible to check for yourself by removing the interior bed unit, to make sure it is clean and safe.

Removing the interior bed is relatively easy, first of all you will have to take off the hood by unscrewing the screws at the front, on the inside of the hood near the canopy knobs. The hood should then slide off, but it is easier if two people do this as the hood is slotted into the body with pegs and it is helpful if someone else can help pull the hood away from the body.

The bed is fixed with tacks along the sides,  and once these have been removed it should be easy to take out the interior bed sections, this can be in one piece or it may have side bars which will lift off.  On some models there will be two “brackets” at the handle end of the bed, these will also need to be removed. If the tacks are damaged when you remove them it is possible to buy replacements from any DIY store.

You may find it useful to take photos at each stage, so you will see how to reassemble the bed unit.

When the bed unit has been removed you will be left with the shell of the pram body, as shown in this photo. (If your pram has a detachable body the interior may not have wooden spars as shown here).

 

In light coloured bed units you may find the material has discoloured over the years, in this case I would advise having the pram relined instead of just cleaning it.

The bed in my first pram had badly discoloured over the years and it was an orangey colour, at first I was reluctant to have it relined but then realised it would look dreadful against the rest of the newly refurbished pram. Therefore I asked the lady who made my hood and apron to reline it for me.This is a picture of the discolouration in the bed on my own pram.

It is possible to reline the beds on detachable chassis prams where there is a fitted backrest, or on the older models where the ends of the bed are panelled. I was amazed when I saw what a fantastic job had been made on my pram, and below are pictures of a similar pram which has been relined. (photos courtesy of Jacki Canning).

This picture is of a pram with the panelled ends, with corded seams just as it was on the original bed.

The next picture is of a pram with a detachable chassis, in this one there is a  backrest which lifts up when a baby is able to support itself, or can be left flat for a young baby.

You can use a heavyweight pvc fabric (which must be baby safe) to reline a pram, but make sure you also replace any padding, in really old prams this maybe horsehair which will be full of accumulated dirt. Use heavyweight upholstery padding (again make sure it meets current standards of what is deemed “baby safe”) to cover the metal sidebars. It is imperative that the padding is thick enough to adequately cushion the hard sides of the pram,  some years ago a baby banged its head on an inadequately padded pram side with tragic consequences. For that reason it is better to have the interior relined professionally if you are unsure about doing this yourself.

Categories: Silver Cross

10 Responses

  1. lyn says:

    Extremely interesting, good reading and Jackie does a fab job, opened my eyes, it’s not as easy to redo a coachbuilt pram as people think ! Well done Jackie! lyn x

  2. Teresa Mould says:

    Wow, fab article as always x
    teresa

    • Lucy says:

      Thank you for your comments, hope this feature will help inexperienced pram owners to tackle a task like this.

  3. Emma says:

    Hi, we have been lucky enough to receive a traditional silver cross but it is in much need of restoration. We’d love to be able to do it ourselves but don’t want to ruin it.
    If we follow online advice is it possible for a beginner to restore the pram to a high standard or could we send it away? Many thanks

    • Lucy says:

      I am sure you will be able to restore your pram yourself, but do allow plenty of time if it is needed for an expected baby. There are lots of hints and tips on restoration on this website, just type in a keyword into the search box at the top right of the webpage and you will be redirected to earlier posts. Previously I have written about restoring chrome, cleaning tyres and other general restoration items. If you don;t want to tackle the restoration yourself then look in Yellow Pages for car bodyshops who may respray the bodywork and a chrome plater will be able to rechrome the wheels etc. Hoods and aprons can be sent away for replacing and more information on all these topics has been covered in previous posts, which you can find by doing a search. Hope this helps.

  4. naomi says:

    Hi, my mum has given me her kensington silver cross pram to use with my first child. Its in very good condition but after I read your book I decided I would take off the lining to check under the bed. I’ve taken all the tacks off, but it doesn’t lift out. The front and back faces fold down and the sides have flaps of material which are stapled together behind these flaps. It almost seems like the bottom is glued down though, I cant get any give at any edge – have you seen this before?

  5. Hello, I am an expectant mother living in Paris, and recently I was able to find a vintage SC Kensington pram for my baby (due in August). Beforehand, I had researched Kensington prams and believed that they were all built with a middle panel in the bed that you could remove to allow baby to sit with legs descending once baby was big enough. Well, I had to travel to the seller to buy the pram, and when I arrived I was a bit dismayed to discover that this pram did not have a removable middle panel, only a backrest like the one pictured above in your article. I went ahead and bought the pram, but now I am wondering whether I can or should reupholster the pram bed so that it has a removable central panel. Or perhaps whether this isn’t necessary. Will baby be able to sit up comfortably and securely on the flat bed while the vehicle is bumping along through the city? It seems likely the baby will tip over! I would appreciate so much your advice on this, and if you do think I should reupholster, I’ll be sure to make use of your many wonderful articles. Thank you! Ida

  6. David Earp says:

    Not sure how helpful this information is to anyone in the market for secondhand coach built prams, but here’s some upholstery mold/mildew removal tips posted on a stroller/pram group I’ve been associated with for 13 years over here in the states. You may not have the exact same products available in the UK but probably have cleaners that are very similar.

    “For mildew removal you can use Simple Green, or soak mildewed fabric in a sealed container with Oxyclean and very hot water. Soak until water is cool. Repeat if necessary. Also, Oxiclean Laundry Stain Remover or Fantastic Oxy can be sprayed on, scrub with small, soft brush (toothbrush), wash, repeat if needed. Spray Nine is also an effective mildew remover – let dry in the sun to fade mildew stains.”

    Hope these tips might be of some use.

    Always enjoy reading articles on your pram website.

    David

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