Back in coaching days, people who could read had generally received a more classical education than later generations, including our own. The books about coaching contain many Latin expressions which are very rarely translated. Readers in those days were obviously expected to be familiar with basic Latin.
Here’s an example from the book Stagecoach and Mail in Days of Yore:
“In illustration of the usual speed of travelling in 1766, Lord Eldon states that when he left school in that year to go to Oxford, he came up from Newcastle to London in a coach which was called ‘a fly,’ on account of its quick travelling, as it was then thought, but he was three or four days and nights upon the road.
There was no such velocity as to endanger overturning or other mischief; and as a sort of apology for its pace there was printed on the panel of the carriage the phrase: ‘Sat cito, si sat bene’.
The impression made by this sentence upon the mind of the embryo chancellor was heightened by a circumstance which occurred upon the journey.
A Quaker fellow-traveller called the chambermaid to the coach door and gave her sixpence, telling her that he forgot to give it to her when he slept there two years before.
Young Scott, who was not characterised by overmuch bashfulness, said to him : “Friend, have you seen the motto on this coach?’ ‘No!’ ‘Then look at it, for I think giving her only sixpence
now is neither ‘sat cito,’ nor ‘sat bene.’ ”
Introducing the real life stories collected in the late 1800s
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?
Comparing rail and coach travel in 1888!
Things didn’t always go smoothly and this amusing incident took place on the Great North Road.
A recollection of life in London before taxi cabs, policemen and even electricity.
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!
Yes, they were common in the early 1800s. They’d all gone by the 1880s. Attitudes were different then!
What did it cost to make a long distance coach journey?
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.
The northern coaches all stopped here to pick up passengers. The scene was amazing.
A description of the London termini from which coaches ran
A list of London coaching inns and where you could travel to from each.
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
Home Page of the Coaching Website
Sources and information about how I came to create this website