Small park drags were in demand about the turn of the century as more ladies took up the sport of four-in -hand driving. The Ladies Four-in -Hand Club of New York was formed about that time, and Holland & Holland advertised small coaches in THE RIDER AND DRIVER, a New York sporting magazine.
The Park Drag is a derivative of the earlier English Mail Coach and Road Coach which criss-crossed Britain by the hundreds, carrying passengers and mail in the early 19th century. The birth of railroad travel replaced these coaches and it became fashionable for young men to buy up the out-of-use coaches to drive for sport and play. It became so popular that a Four-in-Hand Club was formed in London in the latter half of the century and driving meets were often held in Hyde Park. The coaches used by the members began to be referred to as "Park Coaches." Many enthusiasts began having newer coaches manufactured to meet a surprising demand. The newer coaches, updated to be somewhat lighter and more refined in appearance, came to be known as "Park Drags." Instead of including space for cargo and mail, these drags were equipped to carry an elaborate assortment of food and refreshment for the passengers.
Holland & Holland was one of the world’s most highly respected manufacturers of coaches and drags. John Holland, one of the owner’s of the firm, was a Master of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers of London. The company was purchased by the Long Acre company of Kesterton in 1888 and its traditional name was retained.
The Park Drag shown here is a pony sized vehicle that may have been manufactured to meet the demands of those ladies who began to enter the sport at about the turn of the century, many of them wishing even smaller and lighter coaches that might be put to ponies.