Posts Tagged ‘kartie’

The Kartie

May 29, 2013

How do you spell kartie?  That’s the spelling I have chosen for a word never written down. People still have ‘soap box karts’ however.

The idea was simple. You got some wheels from a pram or pushchair and attached them to a basic wood frame. The front axle pivoted in the centre so you could sit on the frame and steer with your feet. A soap box kartie had a wooden box as a little bit of bodywork.

My brother and I had the wheels and wanted a kart. My dad, on the other hand, wanted a porter’s barrow. We all got our wish. The pivoting front axle was held in place by a nut and bolt and could easily be removed. My dad added a couple of push bars on the back. These could be the load carrier for his porter’s barrow.  Our kartie was both a fantastic toy but also a utilitarian device. It was typical of my dad that he could come up with such a compromise. Storage space was always at a premium ad this way, we only needed one device.

And here are brother and I. I’m riding and he’s the power house.


I suspect I had more fun than my brother. He was older than me, that bit heavier, and always much stronger. I was raced along by him, whereas progress was more pedestrian when I pushed him.

We used to set out obstacle courses and push each other round them. I was propelled at breakneck speed and incurred penalty points. I pushed hard hoping to make him get penalties but he could always find time to avoid them. Little brother was doomed to lose.

The picture was taken in 1958 and marks my dad’s first foray into colour photography. In those far away days we could happily play on some local roads. Cars were still a rarity. I’ll never look back and say, ‘things were better then’. But I do believe they were more carefree days for children. The little lane we were on is now quite busy with traffic so devices like this no longer get pushed around. Instead there are sanitised versions at centres – possibly go-karts with an engine – to seem more exciting but without that freedom to roam.