THE COACHING AGE

‍Coaching Inns and Politics

The two principal inns were the “Red Lion” and the “Green Man.”  It was, and is now in some degree, a town of inns, but these were the headquarters of the two great political parties.  Neither was a “coaching” inn, for they despised trafficking with ordinary travellers, and devoted themselves wholly to the posting business.  The “Red Lion” was originally the “Antelope.”  Standing in the most favourable position for intercepting the stream of post-chaises from London, it generally secured the pick of business going that way, unless indeed the political bias of gentlemen going down into the country forbade them to hire post-horses at a Tory house.  In that case, they went to the “Green Man,” further on, which was Whig.  And perhaps, in sacrificing to politics, they got inferior horses!  The “Green Man” placed in midst of the town, was in receipt of the up traffic, and was the largest establishment, keeping twenty-six pairs of horses and eleven postboys, against the eighteen pairs and eight postboys of the “Red Lion”; and it is recorded that between May 9th and 11th, when, on May 10th, 1808, two celebrated prizefighters, Gully and Gregson, fought at Beechwood Park, Sir John Sebright’s place down the road, near Flamstead, no fewer than one hundred and eighty-seven pairs were changed


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Section 1 Menu

The Age of Coaching
Introducing a world of horse-drawn public transport

Beginning to End
How long did the Great Age of Coaching Last?

Coaches to All Parts
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 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?

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

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.

The Peacock at Islington

The northern coaches all stopped here to pick up passengers. The scene was amazing.

Perils by Water

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

London Coaching Inns

A description of the London termini from which coaches ran

Some famous London Inns

A list of London coaching inns and where you could travel to from each.

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Go to Section 1

Tales of the Road: This section tells what was it like to travel by stage coach in the mid 1800s.

Go to Section 2

Travel in England is inseparably connected to the state of our roads. This section looks at the history of British roads.

Go to Section 3

Wheeled transport evolved over many years. This section looks at how coaches developed.

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