Coaching: Beginning to End

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.

Next: Travel in the Coaching Age


Section 2:

The Age of Coaching

Introduction

‍ 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

Shouldering

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

Accidents

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

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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

Background

Sources and information about how I came to create this website