The introduction of the motor car heralded a new era at Elvaston and the head groom took on the additional duty of chauffeur to Lord Harrington, the vehicle being garaged and maintained in the adjoining building and workshop.
Also central to the courtyard was a pump, which not only provided water for the horses, but also for the adjacent coach wash, which is quite an unusual feature of Elvaston Castle.
The principal role of the coach wash was to expand and tighten the wooden coach and carriage wheels which, particularly during hot summer months, would have a tendency to dry out and shrink slightly. This affected the close fit of the iron ‘tyres’, causing them to potentially become loose and unstable.
To prevent this, the bottom of the coach wash area could be filled with water from the adjacent pump and the carriages and carts driven through it. Fully immersing the edges of the wheels resulted in an renewed expansion of the wooden rims, ensuring a good tight fit against the metal tyre.