The journey from London to Bristol could take between two and three days and would be undertaken using cart-horses pulling wagons. They were known as 'flying machines' which tells us a lot about travel at that time. They were built in a variety of shapes, and covered with black leather. Their motion was described as "like a ship rocking and beating against a heavy sea, straining all her timbers”.
One writer of the time describes what it was like travelling inside one of these wagons. “The machine was "crammed full of passengers, including fat men, sick children, a parrot, a bag of red herrings, a double barrelled shot gun (afraid loaded), and a snarling lap dog. When awakened from shallow slumbers, had cramp in one leg and the other in a ladies bandbox.” This was an inside passenger. Outside the machine, the passengers fared no better: "my eye was cut by the lash of the clumsy coachman's whip. My hat was blown off into a pond. My companions were two apprehended murderers, a sheep stealer in irons and a drunk asleep behind us. "
The world of long-distance coach travel.
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
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Sources and information about how I came to create this website