The author described many aspects of coaching, including what it was like from the driver’s perspective. The young gentleman, whose adventures we are following, clearly became a very competent driver of coaches and was approved by several proprietors including the Post Office. Here, he’s writing about driving the Holyhead mail coach.

“There was no better way to travel in my day than by the Holyhead Mail, which passed through Shrewsbury. It was as fast a coach as any going and was rated by the Post Office at eleven miles an hour including stoppages. Driving it was exciting and skilful. With your whip in one hand and your reins in the other you had to keep the horses galloping the greater part of the way in order to keep time. The theory and practice of eleven miles an hour are very different. I have often covered fourteen or fifteen miles in a single hour, but to average eleven miles an hour for eighty or ninety miles is a very different proposition. Your horses must be good and they must be well driven.”

– C.T.H Birch Reynardson

Next: An Incident at Wansford

Section 1:

Living Memories

Introducing the real life stories collected in the late 1800s

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?

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.

Perils by Water

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


The people who could afford to travel were educated in - among other things - Latin!

Red Kites

Yes, they were common in the early 1800s. They’d all gone by the 1880s. Attitudes were different then!

The Cost of Travel by Coach

What did it cost to make a long distance coach journey?

The Desire to Drive a Coach

Young gentlemen often fancied themselves as coachmen. Unlike today, you could often ‘have a go’ with the reins.

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


Part 1: Living Memories

Anecdotes written by people who actually travelled on the coaches

Part 2: The Age of Coaching

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

Part 3: The Roads

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

Part 4: The Coaches

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


Sources and information about how I came to create this website

Home Page

Home Page of the Coaching Website