The Age of Coaching
The world of long-distance coach travel
A coach advertisement from 1706
Beginning to End
How long did the Great Age of Coaching Last?
Two Coaching Periods
The age of coach travel falls into two distinct phases
The First Coaching Period
Coaches in the early period were uncomfortable, slow and dangerous
The scourge of the early coaching industry, these robbers eventually disappeared
The change from the early period to the late happened because life in Britain was altering
The Second Coaching Period
This is the Great Age of Coach Travel - surprisingly familiar; just slower and wetter
Facts and Figures
A look at prices, costs and numbers involved in coaching
Different Ways to Travel
There were stagecoaches and mail coaches, and more besides
The list of places you could go to is remarkably familiar to the modern 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
The first half of the 19th century saw coaching at its peak
Who were the travellers and who owned the horses and coaches? Find out here
William Chaplin was one of the most successful coach proprietors - and he survived the move to railways
One of Chaplin’s Inn has an unusual name which comes from history
We complain about rail fares but coach fares were far higher
What did it cost to run a coaching business?
To understand coaching prices you must compare them with present day values
Coach travel was not without risk. Here are some reported coach accidents
This is the story of the Mail Coaches, how the mail evolved and what mailcoaches were like
A set of possible journeys that you might wish to make
The railways effectively killed the coaching industry very quickly. Here’s what happened
City inns had to change when the coaching trade dried up. Here’s how they coped
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
Sources and information about how I came to create this website
Home Page of the Coaching Website
From: “Old Coaching Inns” - LMS
Before the railways, parcels had to travel by stagecoach or carrier's wagon. You could hand them in or collect them from the inns that the stagecoaches and carrier's wagons stopped at on a particular route.
When the railways arrived, then change was swift and most of the principle stagecoach operators and coaching inn proprietors sold out their interests to railway companies as the coaches stopped running. In a largely horse-drawn world local delivery companies such as Pickfords began to collect and deliver parcels from receiving offices scattered across many cities and the railway companies' own horse drawn vehicles would collect the accumulated items take them to the railway termini for onward long-distance travel.
The stagecoach and carriers "booking offices" became "receiving offices" for particular railway companies, and in due course, also began to sell passenger train tickets. Many of these premises were very old, dating back to the 17th century or even earlier. But with the coaches and their passengers gone, many were demolished and rebuilt for other uses, although the old booking office was often retained for a while (the last of these to survive into the 1860s seems to have been The Catherine Wheel in Borough High Street).
Even when a new building was erected, a receiving office was incorporated into the building, which might even retain the name of the inn which it had replaced, although the use of the new building was completely different. Thus it was that a 20thc railway company, the LMS, found itself with offices scattered throughout central London, while the horse still played a significant role in the urban transport of small goods and parcels, with romantic names like The George and Blue Boar, The Spread Eagle and The Golden Cross. Names which would have been familiar to Mr. Pickwick - whose very surname Dickens borrowed from a well-known stagecoach proprietor. This book is a fascinating insight into an almost forgotten aspect of railway history.