On this day: October 19

A replica of a sedan was used during the Old Town Festival launch.

A replica of a sedan was used during the Old Town Festival launch.

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1687

The first public hire sedan chairs became available in Edinburgh in 1687. A sedan was an enclosed chair for one person, which was carried about on poles by two men. While the wealthy already had their own private chairs, today marked the public appearance of six “black-cab” like chairs. They came in handy in the narrow wynds of Edinburgh, when the horse and carriage - still the main mode of transportation - couldn’t get into those streets.

However, it couldn’t have been much fun working as a bearer, carrying people up and down the hills of the city.

They peaked in popularity in the 18th century when there was around 180 sedans for public hire in the capital.

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