Voices in the Coalshed: Ambulance
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Voices in the Coalshed: Ambulance

When you hear the word ambulance what comes to mind? A fluorescent yellow vehicle? Flashing lights? Sirens? All of these?

The word ambulance comes from the Latin word ambulare meaning to walk and it was first used in a medical sense in the Siege of Malaga in 1487. It was also used in the Franco-Prussian war when horse drawn vehicles were used as mobile field hospitals or “hopital ambulant”. The horses would walk, pulling the mini hospital to where it was needed.

Over time ambulances were increasingly used in non-military settings, eventually becoming a part of our everyday lives both as patient transport and emergency vehicle.

In terms of Mines Rescue, at one time an ambulance would have been a dark blue vehicle kitted out with medical equipment. To learn more about vintage vehicles and see machinery in action come along to the Caphouse Machine Rally on 16 and 17 September 2023 as part of our Heritage Open Days weekend.