The first scheduled stage coach ran from Chester to London. It began in 1657. There are other claims to be the first coaching service but they were all around this time and the Chester coach was certainly one of the first, if not the actual first.
It ran between London and Chester and was a commercial success. Other coach services quickly followed.
Both roads and coaches gradually improved during the 1700s and 1800s until, by the middle of the 19th century, the country was networked by dozens of stage and mail coaches running to strict timetables at speeds of between eight and eleven miles an hour, day and night, and connecting all parts of the United Kingdom. A network of coaching inns every ten or twelve miles peppered the country to service both the coaches and their passengers.
The coaching age came to a swift end when the railways were built. As each line opened, the coaches which had served its route lost their passengers and stopped running.
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From the first coach in 1657 to the last in around 1848 we have a period of one hundred and ninety-one years which saw the beginning, the growth and perfection, and ultimately the final extinction of the old coaching era.
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
A list of destinations which is remarkably familiar to the modern day traveller
We’re familiar with railway termini but what were the departure points like in the Age of Coaching?
Here are most of the coaching departure points in London, together withe here you could travel to from each one
An example of how politics influenced attitudes in some inns along the road
Not a war, just passengers trying to grab a bite to eat on the road
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 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 story of the Mail Coaches, how the mail evolved and what they were like
Anecdotes written by people who actually travelled on the coaches
The coachmen, the inns, the coach proprietors - they’re all here. Come in and meet them
Britain’s roads were pretty impassable for most of our history. Coach travel was very difficult until they improved
Wheeled transport evolved over many years. Find out how coaches developed
Home Page of the Coaching Website
Sources and information about how I came to create this website