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Mail Coaches leaving London each evening:-

“On any night the spectacle was beautiful.  The coaches looked magnificent. Every one of them had been thoroughly inspected during the day — their wheels, axles, linchpins, poles, glasses and lamps had all been critically probed, tested and cleaned.  And every horse had been groomed with as much rigour as if they belonged to a private gentleman. The sight of the mail coaches lined up as the mail

But the best part of the spectacle was watching the coaches set off. Post-office servants constantly call out the great ancestral names of cities—Lincoln, Winchester, Portsmouth, Gloucester, Oxford, Bristol, Manchester, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Stirling, Aberdeen—and as they call each one, you hear the thunder of lids locked down upon the mail-bags as a coach prepares for drawing off.  The horses stamp and snort in readiness before bounding off with the action and gestures of leopards.  What stir! what sea-like ferment! what a thundering of wheels! what a trampling of hoofs! what a sounding of trumpets!”

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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.


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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Home Page of the Coaching Website.