‍The Battle of Barnett

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: To Be Decided

Section 1 Menu

The Age of Coaching
Introducing a world of horse-drawn public transport

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

Coaches to All Parts
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 to Stamford

What was it like to travel by coach on a winter’s day. Come on the first stage of a journey from London to Stamford.

Driving a Mail Coach
Mail coaches were the high speed elite. What was it like to drive them?

Two Short Videos
Although we have no films from the time, modern producers have imagined coach travel for us.

Then and Now

Comparing rail and coach travel in 1888!

An Incident at Wansford

Things didn’t always go smoothly and this amusing incident took place on the Great North Road.

Charlies and Hackneys

A recollection of life in London before taxi cabs, policemen and even electricity.

The Peacock at Islington

The northern coaches all stopped here to pick up passengers. The scene was amazing.

Perils by Water

One of the many hazards that could be encountered was flood water. This is near St Neots.

London Coaching Inns

A description of the London termini from which coaches ran

Some famous London Inns

A list of London coaching inns and where you could travel to from each.


Go to Section 1

Tales of the Road: This section tells what was it like to travel by stage coach in the mid 1800s.

Go to Section 2

Travel in England is inseparably connected to the state of our roads. This section looks at the history of British roads.

Go to Section 3

Wheeled transport evolved over many years. This section looks at how coaches developed.

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