Barnet was, to many coaching proprietors, the first stage out of London, and the town prospered exceedingly on the coaching and posting traffic of those two great thoroughfares—the Great North Road and the Holyhead Road.  When the Stamford “Regent,” the York “Highflyer,” and the early morning coaches for Shrewsbury, Birmingham, Manchester, or Liverpool arrived, the passengers, who had not found time for breakfast before starting, were generally very sharp-set indeed, and the viands already prepared and waiting in the cosy rooms of the old hostelries, disappeared before their onslaught “in less than no time.”  The battle of Barnet was fought over again every morning, but they were not men-at-arms who contended together, nor was the subject of their contention the Crown of England.  They were just famished travellers who struggled to get something to eat and drink before the guard made his appearance at the door, with the fateful cry, “Time’s up, gentlemen; take your seats please.”  When the horn sounded in the yard, desperate men would rush forth with hands full of food, and finish their repasts as best they might on the coach.

Next:  The Coachmen

Section 2:

The Age of Coaching


‍​The world of long-distance coach travel

Beginning to End
How long did the Great Age of Coaching Last?

Travel in the Coaching Age
The world of coach travel - surprisingly familiar; just slower and wetter

Where Could You Go?

A list of destinations which is remarkably familiar to the modern day traveller

London Coaching Inns

We’re familiar with railway termini but what were the departure points like in the Age of Coaching?

Famous London Coaching Inns

‍​Here are most of the coaching departure points in London, together withe here you could travel to from each one

Inns and Politics

An example of how politics influenced attitudes in some inns along the road

The Battle of Barnet

Not a war, just passengers trying to grab a bite to eat on the road

The Coachmen

‍​Coach drivers were an elite group, but as the coaching age declined, they lost their importance


Illegal, but overlooked by the proprietors, this was a coachman’s perk

William Chaplin

William was one of the most successful coach proprietors - and he survived the move to railways


Coach travel was not without risk. Here are some reported  coach accidents

The Royal Mail

The story of the Mail Coaches, how the mail evolved and what they were like




Go to Living Memories

Anecdotes written by people who actually travelled on the coaches

Go to the Age of Coaching

The coachmen, the inns, the coach proprietors - they’re all here. Come in and meet them

Go to the Roads

Britain’s roads were pretty impassable for most of our history.  Coach travel was very difficult until they improved

Go to The Coaches

Wheeled transport evolved over many years. Find out how coaches developed

Go to Home Page

Home Page of the Coaching Website


Sources and information about how I came to create this website