For some time I was puzzled at my mother's description of the postilion in a
funeral procession, because she said that postillions looked like jockeys. Yet all photos of
Victorian and Edwardian funeral processions show drivers wearing top
hats. However she was correct - see the definition of a postillion
Definition of a postillion
According to the The Free online Dictionary:
A postilion (or postillion) is someone who rides the near horse of a pair in order to guide the horses pulling a carriage (especially a carriage without a coachman).
Pictures of postillions
Toy model showing a coach with a postillion driver. Note that he is
dressed like a jockey and guides the coach (or hearse) while sitting on
a horse that is pulling the coach (or hearse). Photographed in Brighton Toy
and Model Museum.
Old newspaper drawing showing a postillion. He is dressed like a jockey and guides the coach while sitting on
a horses that is pulling the coach.
This drawing shows a procession which is clearly for show purposes,
and it suggests that there are more horses out of the picture, to
the right.. If so, there would have to be at least one more postillion,
as postillions served an essential purpose guiding the front horse.
This website Join me in the 1900s is
a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain
from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and
illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.