Coach travel and more

Blue2Hi, Jo here, dipping again into LONDON OBSERVED: A Polish Philosopher at Large, 1820-24.  I blogged bits from it in 2014. You can get your own copy quite cheaply on line. This link will take you to Amazon in the US. Lach

1820-24 is a little after my current books, which are set in late 1817, but close enough to enrich my knowledge base because Krystyn Lach-Szyrma is the sort of traveler who loves to record details of his travel. I'm going to share some more. I never take one source as gospel, and I have questions about some bits. He might not always be accurate, and I'm reading in translation, but here it is.

On coaches

"Halfway on the journey to London, we noticed an extraordinary increase in traffic. Frequently we were passing carriages and stagecoaches. The latter were quite new to us. All of them were beautifully oil-painted and on every one was written, in gold letters, its name, place of departure and destination. Many men and women of different ages and stations were sitting on top and inside them.

 

Each coach was drawn by four splendid horses. The coachmen of the stagecoaches were dressed in wide baize frock coats, were vigorous and hearty and were driving from the coachman's box. The coachmen of the carriages were slimmer and wore yellow trousers. They were driving mounted on the horses and everything about them was so neat and clean that they looked like dolls. (These are postilions, of course.)

….

We were told that at least sixty vehicles run daily between Dover and London and they reach the half waypoint at the same time.  I counted on and inside a few of the coaches as many as fourteen to seventeen people. What incomparable activity and traffic!"

My general impression is that six normal sized people could fit inside a coach, and that fits with vehicles I've seen. They could pack a lot on top, so maybe fourteen reasonable, but three more! I'm not sure where they'd put them.

There's a print here that shows a coach from his period. I count fourteen. What do you think? (It's copyrighted, so I can't share it here.) However, this fairly rough print shows an even more crowded one. There might be seventeen crammed on there.

Crowdedstage

"The stage coaches that travel only within the capital are called hackney coaches…. Written on them in big letters is information about their destinations and places of departure. At set times they stop at a particular place where they can always be found but they also pick up passengers on their way. In addition, there is a postilion who stands on the back and is on the look out for passers-by whose haste and concentrated expression suggests they might wish to take a coach. From a distance, he gives a sign to indicate that there are free spaces and as he draws near, he stops the coachman and asks the person wishing to travel whether he chooses to sit inside or on the top, showing him the ladder.

The fares are fixed and there is no haggling.

This type of hackney is new to me, and seems more like a bus.

There are still others that may be hired. Their charges depend on ether the distance or the number of hours travelled. Such vehicles can be found at any time and in any place in and around London. Measured by distance the price would be 1 shilling a mile to 11s for 9 miles or, by the time taken, 10d for 30 mins. to £1-7-6 for four hours.

Simple reckoning suggests that it was expected to take a bit over half an hour to travel a mile, or 2 hours for 9 miles. This seems odd, but perhaps short journeys were in the busy parts of London, but longer ones would go out to quieter parts.

On Houses in London

He doesn't admire London houses, which "are made of brick, of only two or three floors, and are not plastered. The windows are smaller and there are fewery that one sees anywhere else. This is probably due to the severe wet weather and the burdensome tax on windows."

He's kinder to the west end. "The new parts of the city,  particularly the western ones, are wonderfully developed with houses of similar design. Joined together in terraces they create beautiful streets. Englishmen's palaces are in the country; in the capital city even the wealthiest citizens live in modest houses which are almost always built and furnished in a similar way."

Shops. Some Curious Tids-bits.

"Those who always buy goods in the same shop are called customers; lower prices unually apply to them."

That origin of the word makes sense! This is also a bit like loyalty cards and points in modern shops.

"If you buy even a small thing in a shop, you will get it wrapped in a large piece of paper on which all the goods available in the shop are listed."

"Having agreed on the price of a commodity I would tell the shopkeeper my name and address and the purchase would be sent to my lodging. If by chance I were not at home, the landlord would accept delivery for me. Sometimes a few weeks passed before someone came to collect the money…. There is nothing to lose for the shop owner as, according to custom, the landlord who confirmed that I was staying with him became my guarantor."

The Postal System

The postal system interests me, because often communication is key to a story, including speed and cost. Sending a letter was generally free, but receiving it could be costly! I haven't seen it used, but what about a crisis point where a character has to decide whether to spend their last sixpence on a letter or food?

"The Post Office is close to the Royal Exchange, for this is indeed where it is most needed. Domestic mail goes out every day, the external mail two or more times a week, and the mail to overseas settlements once a month. Due to England's unique relations with all the nations of the world, the London post is almost the central point for any correspondence on the globe….

Letters going abroad are franked*, letters within the country are paid for by the addressee. They are collected at a post office in the simplest manner; they are thrown into a post box made for this purpose. From there they are picked up an hour before the mail's departure, counted and stamped to indicate the price to be paid and the date of posting."

*Frank, from the OED. "To superscribe (a letter, etc.) with a signature, so as to ensure its being sent without charge; to send or cause to be sent free of charge." In this context I have to believe that it means that postage was paid, and the superscription indicated that. They could hardly be sending all post abroad for free. See below for internal use.

"The charge for England is not too excessive. A letter which goes no further than fifteen miles costs five pence; a letter which goes between fifteen and thirty miles, six pence;  from thirty to fifty miles, seven pence; from fifty to eighty miles, eight pence etc. The Members of Parliament have the right to send their own and other letters free of charge and they pay nothing for collecting mail from the post office."

I have always understood that this privilege was only for government business and feel sure I've read complaints about the abuse, but clearly the abuse was so common that no one noted it any more. All the same, a clergyman in Too Dangerous for a Lady quibbles a bit about receiving a franked letter on private business on the basis that it is improper. Tvnawnewsm

This quotation makes me wonder if those with franking privileges sold franks. A frank for a letter going a long distance was quite valuable.

1748   Lady M. W. Montagu Let. 17 July (1966) II. 406,   I begin to suspect my servants put the franking money in their pockets.

Yes, according to this article. It gives an excellent explanation of the whole situation, including this.

"M.P.’s sold on their privilege to Companies that paid them handsomely for their postage rights.

They also handed out huge quantities of franked (signed) letter sheets to family and friends or to anyone from whom they needed a favour such as a vote. Instances are recorded where servant’s wages had been part-paid in franked letter-sheets, which when the recipient was unable to write, would be sold-on in the local tavern. It is known that some of these finished up in the hands of criminals and were converted into I.O.U.’s."

 

"Letters are not weighed, for it would be too time consuming. A one-sheet letter is considered single, and any slip of paper, sample of gauze, or anything that could be recognized by the postal worker's fingers doubles the cost. Therefore, it is not a good idea to send letters in England in envelopes, for no matter how thin they are, the charge will be double. The English themselves do not use envelopes; most people receive letters on single sheets and close acquaintances often write crosswise…."

Crosswritten

The picture of the cross-written letter is from the above postal heritage blog.

It's interesting that Lach-Szyrma takes envelopes for granted. A little digging found that they were not unknown in Britain. Perhaps those who didn't care about the cost used them. "In 1804, on the 27th of October, I received two letters by the twopenny post, one addressed to me,which I now produce, and have marked with the letter B, both on the envelope and the inclosure, and the other letter addressed to Lady Douglas, and which I now produce, and have marked with the letter C, both on the envelope and the inclosure." In another court case someone points out that envelopes are usually thrown away.

However, in some cases it seems an envelope was used expressly to contain a letter that was then to be passed on to someone else.

"The Post Office has sixty agencies to collect letters in distant parts of the city. Additionally, before dusk,  there are men who walk the street with a bell and pick up letters at a charge of a penny per letter.

Apart from the main post, there is the two-penny post, which facilitates correspondence within London and its vicinity. It also has sub-offices. It departs every two hours and just as in the main Post Office the postmark marks the day, here it marks the hour of posting.

The average number of letters posted in London is one and a half million a week."

Such a fascinating book, and the bit about the British Museum and similar places will be useful for my work in progress, though at the rate of her adventures Lady Babs may never get there!

AmlargerMeanwhile, if you haven't read my Company of Rogues books, which I'm sure include many letters here and there, the first three e-editions are on sale in the US just now. 99c for An Arranged Marriage, which won the Romantic Times Regency novel award and the Reader's Choice, Best Regency. It was also a RITA finalist. Definitely cheap at the price! Find out more here.

 

Formag2011

Are you surprised by any of the bits from London Observed? Do you see any plot points lurking there? I'll send a copy of one of my Christmasy books, Forbidden Magic, to one commenter. It's a handsome trade paperback edition.

Cheers,

Jo

120 thoughts on “Coach travel and more”

  1. It must have been a rough journey, Sonya. I note that most travelers recommend traveling outside if the weather’s good, so inside must have been grim, squashed in with others.

    Reply
  2. It must have been a rough journey, Sonya. I note that most travelers recommend traveling outside if the weather’s good, so inside must have been grim, squashed in with others.

    Reply
  3. It must have been a rough journey, Sonya. I note that most travelers recommend traveling outside if the weather’s good, so inside must have been grim, squashed in with others.

    Reply
  4. It must have been a rough journey, Sonya. I note that most travelers recommend traveling outside if the weather’s good, so inside must have been grim, squashed in with others.

    Reply
  5. It must have been a rough journey, Sonya. I note that most travelers recommend traveling outside if the weather’s good, so inside must have been grim, squashed in with others.

    Reply
  6. Another really interesting post – especially the part about the mail system. I’m not sure that I understand the part about the “cross written” letters. Going to have to check into that further. I do remember receiving letters from my grandma as a kid that had every inch of the paper covered with words.
    And as for the over crowded coaches – I can relate to that too. When I attended high school I had to take two public buses to get there. Not usually a problem until extreme weather happened. Then, if I was lucky enough to even get on the bus, I was crammed in with the rest of the human sardines. Some of those buses had to be carrying at least double their capacity – if not more.
    And by the way, air travel these days is becoming just as bad.

    Reply
  7. Another really interesting post – especially the part about the mail system. I’m not sure that I understand the part about the “cross written” letters. Going to have to check into that further. I do remember receiving letters from my grandma as a kid that had every inch of the paper covered with words.
    And as for the over crowded coaches – I can relate to that too. When I attended high school I had to take two public buses to get there. Not usually a problem until extreme weather happened. Then, if I was lucky enough to even get on the bus, I was crammed in with the rest of the human sardines. Some of those buses had to be carrying at least double their capacity – if not more.
    And by the way, air travel these days is becoming just as bad.

    Reply
  8. Another really interesting post – especially the part about the mail system. I’m not sure that I understand the part about the “cross written” letters. Going to have to check into that further. I do remember receiving letters from my grandma as a kid that had every inch of the paper covered with words.
    And as for the over crowded coaches – I can relate to that too. When I attended high school I had to take two public buses to get there. Not usually a problem until extreme weather happened. Then, if I was lucky enough to even get on the bus, I was crammed in with the rest of the human sardines. Some of those buses had to be carrying at least double their capacity – if not more.
    And by the way, air travel these days is becoming just as bad.

    Reply
  9. Another really interesting post – especially the part about the mail system. I’m not sure that I understand the part about the “cross written” letters. Going to have to check into that further. I do remember receiving letters from my grandma as a kid that had every inch of the paper covered with words.
    And as for the over crowded coaches – I can relate to that too. When I attended high school I had to take two public buses to get there. Not usually a problem until extreme weather happened. Then, if I was lucky enough to even get on the bus, I was crammed in with the rest of the human sardines. Some of those buses had to be carrying at least double their capacity – if not more.
    And by the way, air travel these days is becoming just as bad.

    Reply
  10. Another really interesting post – especially the part about the mail system. I’m not sure that I understand the part about the “cross written” letters. Going to have to check into that further. I do remember receiving letters from my grandma as a kid that had every inch of the paper covered with words.
    And as for the over crowded coaches – I can relate to that too. When I attended high school I had to take two public buses to get there. Not usually a problem until extreme weather happened. Then, if I was lucky enough to even get on the bus, I was crammed in with the rest of the human sardines. Some of those buses had to be carrying at least double their capacity – if not more.
    And by the way, air travel these days is becoming just as bad.

    Reply
  11. There was a stretch of road nearby that suffered badly form the weather last winter (and wasn’t repaired until last month). I also have very poor shock absorbers on my car. I figure that the combination gave me some notion of what it was like to travel by coach in the old days. I remind myself that my characters will need a bit of time to recover after a journey. Preferably on a nice soft feather bed.

    Reply
  12. There was a stretch of road nearby that suffered badly form the weather last winter (and wasn’t repaired until last month). I also have very poor shock absorbers on my car. I figure that the combination gave me some notion of what it was like to travel by coach in the old days. I remind myself that my characters will need a bit of time to recover after a journey. Preferably on a nice soft feather bed.

    Reply
  13. There was a stretch of road nearby that suffered badly form the weather last winter (and wasn’t repaired until last month). I also have very poor shock absorbers on my car. I figure that the combination gave me some notion of what it was like to travel by coach in the old days. I remind myself that my characters will need a bit of time to recover after a journey. Preferably on a nice soft feather bed.

    Reply
  14. There was a stretch of road nearby that suffered badly form the weather last winter (and wasn’t repaired until last month). I also have very poor shock absorbers on my car. I figure that the combination gave me some notion of what it was like to travel by coach in the old days. I remind myself that my characters will need a bit of time to recover after a journey. Preferably on a nice soft feather bed.

    Reply
  15. There was a stretch of road nearby that suffered badly form the weather last winter (and wasn’t repaired until last month). I also have very poor shock absorbers on my car. I figure that the combination gave me some notion of what it was like to travel by coach in the old days. I remind myself that my characters will need a bit of time to recover after a journey. Preferably on a nice soft feather bed.

    Reply
  16. Mary Scott
    I read loads of HRs and am constantly surprised when characters appear to transverse huge distances in Regency England with only one overnight stop. All those couples rushing off from London to Gretna Green, for example. In some books it seems to take at least week. With others it’s a couple of days.
    I looked at the print and I’m struck by the posh clothing. Once again, it’s almost a stereotype for the heroine to be escaping somewhere squashed between a sour spinster and a foul-smelling someone or another. But the passengers in and on the coach appear moderately affluent. It makes me wonder what percentage of the population could afford private transport in those days. And how many people used these public conveyances each year. And who owned them – I imagine it made whoever it was quite rich.

    Reply
  17. Mary Scott
    I read loads of HRs and am constantly surprised when characters appear to transverse huge distances in Regency England with only one overnight stop. All those couples rushing off from London to Gretna Green, for example. In some books it seems to take at least week. With others it’s a couple of days.
    I looked at the print and I’m struck by the posh clothing. Once again, it’s almost a stereotype for the heroine to be escaping somewhere squashed between a sour spinster and a foul-smelling someone or another. But the passengers in and on the coach appear moderately affluent. It makes me wonder what percentage of the population could afford private transport in those days. And how many people used these public conveyances each year. And who owned them – I imagine it made whoever it was quite rich.

    Reply
  18. Mary Scott
    I read loads of HRs and am constantly surprised when characters appear to transverse huge distances in Regency England with only one overnight stop. All those couples rushing off from London to Gretna Green, for example. In some books it seems to take at least week. With others it’s a couple of days.
    I looked at the print and I’m struck by the posh clothing. Once again, it’s almost a stereotype for the heroine to be escaping somewhere squashed between a sour spinster and a foul-smelling someone or another. But the passengers in and on the coach appear moderately affluent. It makes me wonder what percentage of the population could afford private transport in those days. And how many people used these public conveyances each year. And who owned them – I imagine it made whoever it was quite rich.

    Reply
  19. Mary Scott
    I read loads of HRs and am constantly surprised when characters appear to transverse huge distances in Regency England with only one overnight stop. All those couples rushing off from London to Gretna Green, for example. In some books it seems to take at least week. With others it’s a couple of days.
    I looked at the print and I’m struck by the posh clothing. Once again, it’s almost a stereotype for the heroine to be escaping somewhere squashed between a sour spinster and a foul-smelling someone or another. But the passengers in and on the coach appear moderately affluent. It makes me wonder what percentage of the population could afford private transport in those days. And how many people used these public conveyances each year. And who owned them – I imagine it made whoever it was quite rich.

    Reply
  20. Mary Scott
    I read loads of HRs and am constantly surprised when characters appear to transverse huge distances in Regency England with only one overnight stop. All those couples rushing off from London to Gretna Green, for example. In some books it seems to take at least week. With others it’s a couple of days.
    I looked at the print and I’m struck by the posh clothing. Once again, it’s almost a stereotype for the heroine to be escaping somewhere squashed between a sour spinster and a foul-smelling someone or another. But the passengers in and on the coach appear moderately affluent. It makes me wonder what percentage of the population could afford private transport in those days. And how many people used these public conveyances each year. And who owned them – I imagine it made whoever it was quite rich.

    Reply
  21. Out of curiosity and to pay back one of my sisters (who had written me a letter with every word written backwards – I had to stand in front of a mirror to read it), I wrote a letter where the lines were crossed (cross – written.).
    It wasn’t that hard to do but it did make a huge difference in legibility depending on whether I printed, used cursive, large letters, etc. It was a fun experience but I’m glad I don’t get letters like that myself.
    It did explain why characters in books would take so long to puzzle out what had been written in a letter!
    Yep…..I’ve been on many a day long trip on awful dirt roads where at the end of it, even with good suspension, my body just aches. Though truck suspension isn’t the same as passenger vehicle suspension. I would think it would be more like coach travel.
    Thanks for these fascinating tidbits about coach travel, hackneys and the mail.

    Reply
  22. Out of curiosity and to pay back one of my sisters (who had written me a letter with every word written backwards – I had to stand in front of a mirror to read it), I wrote a letter where the lines were crossed (cross – written.).
    It wasn’t that hard to do but it did make a huge difference in legibility depending on whether I printed, used cursive, large letters, etc. It was a fun experience but I’m glad I don’t get letters like that myself.
    It did explain why characters in books would take so long to puzzle out what had been written in a letter!
    Yep…..I’ve been on many a day long trip on awful dirt roads where at the end of it, even with good suspension, my body just aches. Though truck suspension isn’t the same as passenger vehicle suspension. I would think it would be more like coach travel.
    Thanks for these fascinating tidbits about coach travel, hackneys and the mail.

    Reply
  23. Out of curiosity and to pay back one of my sisters (who had written me a letter with every word written backwards – I had to stand in front of a mirror to read it), I wrote a letter where the lines were crossed (cross – written.).
    It wasn’t that hard to do but it did make a huge difference in legibility depending on whether I printed, used cursive, large letters, etc. It was a fun experience but I’m glad I don’t get letters like that myself.
    It did explain why characters in books would take so long to puzzle out what had been written in a letter!
    Yep…..I’ve been on many a day long trip on awful dirt roads where at the end of it, even with good suspension, my body just aches. Though truck suspension isn’t the same as passenger vehicle suspension. I would think it would be more like coach travel.
    Thanks for these fascinating tidbits about coach travel, hackneys and the mail.

    Reply
  24. Out of curiosity and to pay back one of my sisters (who had written me a letter with every word written backwards – I had to stand in front of a mirror to read it), I wrote a letter where the lines were crossed (cross – written.).
    It wasn’t that hard to do but it did make a huge difference in legibility depending on whether I printed, used cursive, large letters, etc. It was a fun experience but I’m glad I don’t get letters like that myself.
    It did explain why characters in books would take so long to puzzle out what had been written in a letter!
    Yep…..I’ve been on many a day long trip on awful dirt roads where at the end of it, even with good suspension, my body just aches. Though truck suspension isn’t the same as passenger vehicle suspension. I would think it would be more like coach travel.
    Thanks for these fascinating tidbits about coach travel, hackneys and the mail.

    Reply
  25. Out of curiosity and to pay back one of my sisters (who had written me a letter with every word written backwards – I had to stand in front of a mirror to read it), I wrote a letter where the lines were crossed (cross – written.).
    It wasn’t that hard to do but it did make a huge difference in legibility depending on whether I printed, used cursive, large letters, etc. It was a fun experience but I’m glad I don’t get letters like that myself.
    It did explain why characters in books would take so long to puzzle out what had been written in a letter!
    Yep…..I’ve been on many a day long trip on awful dirt roads where at the end of it, even with good suspension, my body just aches. Though truck suspension isn’t the same as passenger vehicle suspension. I would think it would be more like coach travel.
    Thanks for these fascinating tidbits about coach travel, hackneys and the mail.

    Reply
  26. If you click on the picture of the letter above, it will expand, Mary, and you should see it better.
    Yes, it’s true. Sometimes we get in crowded transport and it’s horrible.

    Reply
  27. If you click on the picture of the letter above, it will expand, Mary, and you should see it better.
    Yes, it’s true. Sometimes we get in crowded transport and it’s horrible.

    Reply
  28. If you click on the picture of the letter above, it will expand, Mary, and you should see it better.
    Yes, it’s true. Sometimes we get in crowded transport and it’s horrible.

    Reply
  29. If you click on the picture of the letter above, it will expand, Mary, and you should see it better.
    Yes, it’s true. Sometimes we get in crowded transport and it’s horrible.

    Reply
  30. If you click on the picture of the letter above, it will expand, Mary, and you should see it better.
    Yes, it’s true. Sometimes we get in crowded transport and it’s horrible.

    Reply
  31. It wasn’t cheap to travel by even the cheapest coach. A lot of poor people walked. An alternative was a wagon, which would be carrying goods and drawn by a team of oxen or horses. They went at walking speed, but would take some passengers at a low cost. Good for the elderly, or people with young children.

    Reply
  32. It wasn’t cheap to travel by even the cheapest coach. A lot of poor people walked. An alternative was a wagon, which would be carrying goods and drawn by a team of oxen or horses. They went at walking speed, but would take some passengers at a low cost. Good for the elderly, or people with young children.

    Reply
  33. It wasn’t cheap to travel by even the cheapest coach. A lot of poor people walked. An alternative was a wagon, which would be carrying goods and drawn by a team of oxen or horses. They went at walking speed, but would take some passengers at a low cost. Good for the elderly, or people with young children.

    Reply
  34. It wasn’t cheap to travel by even the cheapest coach. A lot of poor people walked. An alternative was a wagon, which would be carrying goods and drawn by a team of oxen or horses. They went at walking speed, but would take some passengers at a low cost. Good for the elderly, or people with young children.

    Reply
  35. It wasn’t cheap to travel by even the cheapest coach. A lot of poor people walked. An alternative was a wagon, which would be carrying goods and drawn by a team of oxen or horses. They went at walking speed, but would take some passengers at a low cost. Good for the elderly, or people with young children.

    Reply
  36. I suppose them going at slower speeds might help. Apart from the mail coaches, which had strict timetables, I assume coaches would slow down over rough patches of road, if only for the sake of the vehicle.

    Reply
  37. I suppose them going at slower speeds might help. Apart from the mail coaches, which had strict timetables, I assume coaches would slow down over rough patches of road, if only for the sake of the vehicle.

    Reply
  38. I suppose them going at slower speeds might help. Apart from the mail coaches, which had strict timetables, I assume coaches would slow down over rough patches of road, if only for the sake of the vehicle.

    Reply
  39. I suppose them going at slower speeds might help. Apart from the mail coaches, which had strict timetables, I assume coaches would slow down over rough patches of road, if only for the sake of the vehicle.

    Reply
  40. I suppose them going at slower speeds might help. Apart from the mail coaches, which had strict timetables, I assume coaches would slow down over rough patches of road, if only for the sake of the vehicle.

    Reply
  41. I love to read about how people really lived in the Regency and other periods, so many thanks for this post! (Guilty secret: My favorite part of house/mansion tours is always the kitchen. Other servants’ bailiwicks would be fun, too.)
    As for a plot device, how about the wrong draft of a letter sent, or sent to the wrong recipient, or even the letter getting sent around the country (or world), chasing a travelling recipient? I can imagine mayhem ensuing …

    Reply
  42. I love to read about how people really lived in the Regency and other periods, so many thanks for this post! (Guilty secret: My favorite part of house/mansion tours is always the kitchen. Other servants’ bailiwicks would be fun, too.)
    As for a plot device, how about the wrong draft of a letter sent, or sent to the wrong recipient, or even the letter getting sent around the country (or world), chasing a travelling recipient? I can imagine mayhem ensuing …

    Reply
  43. I love to read about how people really lived in the Regency and other periods, so many thanks for this post! (Guilty secret: My favorite part of house/mansion tours is always the kitchen. Other servants’ bailiwicks would be fun, too.)
    As for a plot device, how about the wrong draft of a letter sent, or sent to the wrong recipient, or even the letter getting sent around the country (or world), chasing a travelling recipient? I can imagine mayhem ensuing …

    Reply
  44. I love to read about how people really lived in the Regency and other periods, so many thanks for this post! (Guilty secret: My favorite part of house/mansion tours is always the kitchen. Other servants’ bailiwicks would be fun, too.)
    As for a plot device, how about the wrong draft of a letter sent, or sent to the wrong recipient, or even the letter getting sent around the country (or world), chasing a travelling recipient? I can imagine mayhem ensuing …

    Reply
  45. I love to read about how people really lived in the Regency and other periods, so many thanks for this post! (Guilty secret: My favorite part of house/mansion tours is always the kitchen. Other servants’ bailiwicks would be fun, too.)
    As for a plot device, how about the wrong draft of a letter sent, or sent to the wrong recipient, or even the letter getting sent around the country (or world), chasing a travelling recipient? I can imagine mayhem ensuing …

    Reply
  46. The most intriguing bit of this article, for me, is the paragraph about the hackney coach within the city which follows a set route and picks up and puts down passengers. As you say, this sounds more like a bus than a taxi. I’m sure I’ve never heard of it before. Maybe you and other authors will start to incorporate it into your books, if you can find a corroborative reference for it!

    Reply
  47. The most intriguing bit of this article, for me, is the paragraph about the hackney coach within the city which follows a set route and picks up and puts down passengers. As you say, this sounds more like a bus than a taxi. I’m sure I’ve never heard of it before. Maybe you and other authors will start to incorporate it into your books, if you can find a corroborative reference for it!

    Reply
  48. The most intriguing bit of this article, for me, is the paragraph about the hackney coach within the city which follows a set route and picks up and puts down passengers. As you say, this sounds more like a bus than a taxi. I’m sure I’ve never heard of it before. Maybe you and other authors will start to incorporate it into your books, if you can find a corroborative reference for it!

    Reply
  49. The most intriguing bit of this article, for me, is the paragraph about the hackney coach within the city which follows a set route and picks up and puts down passengers. As you say, this sounds more like a bus than a taxi. I’m sure I’ve never heard of it before. Maybe you and other authors will start to incorporate it into your books, if you can find a corroborative reference for it!

    Reply
  50. The most intriguing bit of this article, for me, is the paragraph about the hackney coach within the city which follows a set route and picks up and puts down passengers. As you say, this sounds more like a bus than a taxi. I’m sure I’ve never heard of it before. Maybe you and other authors will start to incorporate it into your books, if you can find a corroborative reference for it!

    Reply
  51. Thank you for an interesting post, Jo. I love hearing details about how things actually worked during the Regency. Being squashed into a coach with five other passengers and bounced around on rough roads must have quite an experience and I’m sure it wasn’t always as much fun as Heyer makes it seem for Pen in “The Corinthian”. What did surprise me about Lach-Szyrma’s observations was the fact that he thinks the cost of sending a letter is reasonable. I was under the impression that most people at the time considered it expensive, which is why they tried to save on costs by using thin paper and crossing their lines.

    Reply
  52. Thank you for an interesting post, Jo. I love hearing details about how things actually worked during the Regency. Being squashed into a coach with five other passengers and bounced around on rough roads must have quite an experience and I’m sure it wasn’t always as much fun as Heyer makes it seem for Pen in “The Corinthian”. What did surprise me about Lach-Szyrma’s observations was the fact that he thinks the cost of sending a letter is reasonable. I was under the impression that most people at the time considered it expensive, which is why they tried to save on costs by using thin paper and crossing their lines.

    Reply
  53. Thank you for an interesting post, Jo. I love hearing details about how things actually worked during the Regency. Being squashed into a coach with five other passengers and bounced around on rough roads must have quite an experience and I’m sure it wasn’t always as much fun as Heyer makes it seem for Pen in “The Corinthian”. What did surprise me about Lach-Szyrma’s observations was the fact that he thinks the cost of sending a letter is reasonable. I was under the impression that most people at the time considered it expensive, which is why they tried to save on costs by using thin paper and crossing their lines.

    Reply
  54. Thank you for an interesting post, Jo. I love hearing details about how things actually worked during the Regency. Being squashed into a coach with five other passengers and bounced around on rough roads must have quite an experience and I’m sure it wasn’t always as much fun as Heyer makes it seem for Pen in “The Corinthian”. What did surprise me about Lach-Szyrma’s observations was the fact that he thinks the cost of sending a letter is reasonable. I was under the impression that most people at the time considered it expensive, which is why they tried to save on costs by using thin paper and crossing their lines.

    Reply
  55. Thank you for an interesting post, Jo. I love hearing details about how things actually worked during the Regency. Being squashed into a coach with five other passengers and bounced around on rough roads must have quite an experience and I’m sure it wasn’t always as much fun as Heyer makes it seem for Pen in “The Corinthian”. What did surprise me about Lach-Szyrma’s observations was the fact that he thinks the cost of sending a letter is reasonable. I was under the impression that most people at the time considered it expensive, which is why they tried to save on costs by using thin paper and crossing their lines.

    Reply
  56. It is interesting, isn’t it, HJ? I doubt the author invented it, so there should be more evidence of it. We’ll definitely need to look.

    Reply
  57. It is interesting, isn’t it, HJ? I doubt the author invented it, so there should be more evidence of it. We’ll definitely need to look.

    Reply
  58. It is interesting, isn’t it, HJ? I doubt the author invented it, so there should be more evidence of it. We’ll definitely need to look.

    Reply
  59. It is interesting, isn’t it, HJ? I doubt the author invented it, so there should be more evidence of it. We’ll definitely need to look.

    Reply
  60. It is interesting, isn’t it, HJ? I doubt the author invented it, so there should be more evidence of it. We’ll definitely need to look.

    Reply
  61. I suppose the reasonableness of the cost is relative. Most people would have no need to send a letter at all, and those with need were mostly not drastically poor. What price is reasonable when weighed against need? I still find it slightly amazing that I can send a letter to Australia or some even more remote place for under two pounds. That really is a deal.
    The English didn’t use thin paper. That’s the point he’s making. Because it goes by sheet not weight, they use one sheet and cross write it. Now I’m wondering if there was a rule about the size of the sheet. There must have been.

    Reply
  62. I suppose the reasonableness of the cost is relative. Most people would have no need to send a letter at all, and those with need were mostly not drastically poor. What price is reasonable when weighed against need? I still find it slightly amazing that I can send a letter to Australia or some even more remote place for under two pounds. That really is a deal.
    The English didn’t use thin paper. That’s the point he’s making. Because it goes by sheet not weight, they use one sheet and cross write it. Now I’m wondering if there was a rule about the size of the sheet. There must have been.

    Reply
  63. I suppose the reasonableness of the cost is relative. Most people would have no need to send a letter at all, and those with need were mostly not drastically poor. What price is reasonable when weighed against need? I still find it slightly amazing that I can send a letter to Australia or some even more remote place for under two pounds. That really is a deal.
    The English didn’t use thin paper. That’s the point he’s making. Because it goes by sheet not weight, they use one sheet and cross write it. Now I’m wondering if there was a rule about the size of the sheet. There must have been.

    Reply
  64. I suppose the reasonableness of the cost is relative. Most people would have no need to send a letter at all, and those with need were mostly not drastically poor. What price is reasonable when weighed against need? I still find it slightly amazing that I can send a letter to Australia or some even more remote place for under two pounds. That really is a deal.
    The English didn’t use thin paper. That’s the point he’s making. Because it goes by sheet not weight, they use one sheet and cross write it. Now I’m wondering if there was a rule about the size of the sheet. There must have been.

    Reply
  65. I suppose the reasonableness of the cost is relative. Most people would have no need to send a letter at all, and those with need were mostly not drastically poor. What price is reasonable when weighed against need? I still find it slightly amazing that I can send a letter to Australia or some even more remote place for under two pounds. That really is a deal.
    The English didn’t use thin paper. That’s the point he’s making. Because it goes by sheet not weight, they use one sheet and cross write it. Now I’m wondering if there was a rule about the size of the sheet. There must have been.

    Reply
  66. It was said that a person had to have above £500 a year to keep a private carriage.
    I also read that envelopes were used for cards of invitation most often sent round by one’s servants. While we and some contemporary English complained about current conditions, most foreigners appear to have appreciated the roads, the clean inns, the fast mode of travel over decent roads, etc.

    Reply
  67. It was said that a person had to have above £500 a year to keep a private carriage.
    I also read that envelopes were used for cards of invitation most often sent round by one’s servants. While we and some contemporary English complained about current conditions, most foreigners appear to have appreciated the roads, the clean inns, the fast mode of travel over decent roads, etc.

    Reply
  68. It was said that a person had to have above £500 a year to keep a private carriage.
    I also read that envelopes were used for cards of invitation most often sent round by one’s servants. While we and some contemporary English complained about current conditions, most foreigners appear to have appreciated the roads, the clean inns, the fast mode of travel over decent roads, etc.

    Reply
  69. It was said that a person had to have above £500 a year to keep a private carriage.
    I also read that envelopes were used for cards of invitation most often sent round by one’s servants. While we and some contemporary English complained about current conditions, most foreigners appear to have appreciated the roads, the clean inns, the fast mode of travel over decent roads, etc.

    Reply
  70. It was said that a person had to have above £500 a year to keep a private carriage.
    I also read that envelopes were used for cards of invitation most often sent round by one’s servants. While we and some contemporary English complained about current conditions, most foreigners appear to have appreciated the roads, the clean inns, the fast mode of travel over decent roads, etc.

    Reply
  71. PS I have often read about men going into the street and hailing a Hackney carriage. They did have regular stands — like taxi stands but these could also be considered like bus stops The cost of a trip in a Hackney carriage was printed in many places and regulated by law. They didn’t have meters so had to use a general guide .

    Reply
  72. PS I have often read about men going into the street and hailing a Hackney carriage. They did have regular stands — like taxi stands but these could also be considered like bus stops The cost of a trip in a Hackney carriage was printed in many places and regulated by law. They didn’t have meters so had to use a general guide .

    Reply
  73. PS I have often read about men going into the street and hailing a Hackney carriage. They did have regular stands — like taxi stands but these could also be considered like bus stops The cost of a trip in a Hackney carriage was printed in many places and regulated by law. They didn’t have meters so had to use a general guide .

    Reply
  74. PS I have often read about men going into the street and hailing a Hackney carriage. They did have regular stands — like taxi stands but these could also be considered like bus stops The cost of a trip in a Hackney carriage was printed in many places and regulated by law. They didn’t have meters so had to use a general guide .

    Reply
  75. PS I have often read about men going into the street and hailing a Hackney carriage. They did have regular stands — like taxi stands but these could also be considered like bus stops The cost of a trip in a Hackney carriage was printed in many places and regulated by law. They didn’t have meters so had to use a general guide .

    Reply
  76. Re coach travel: Of course. I just read a very sweet HR where the hero was forced to travel with the h and two servants on the back of a wagon. And even to walk. It seemed a stretch, but is now totally credible.
    I remember being struck, on first trips to Asia and Africa, by the hundreds and hundreds of people walking down the sides of every road, so England was probably like that, as well, but stories generally don’t mention them in large numbers. So now I’m totally re-imagining the coach/travel scenes for some of my favourite HRs. And the info from one of your contributors that one needed £500 per annum to afford to keep a private carriage is interesting – when I checked, about £450,000 at today’s levels. Which makes the impoverished heroes tooling around in their carriages less plausible as well.
    Thanks again for this column – I just re-read it and am amazed that shop-keepers allowed credit even to strangers, on the basis that a landlord went guarantor.

    Reply
  77. Re coach travel: Of course. I just read a very sweet HR where the hero was forced to travel with the h and two servants on the back of a wagon. And even to walk. It seemed a stretch, but is now totally credible.
    I remember being struck, on first trips to Asia and Africa, by the hundreds and hundreds of people walking down the sides of every road, so England was probably like that, as well, but stories generally don’t mention them in large numbers. So now I’m totally re-imagining the coach/travel scenes for some of my favourite HRs. And the info from one of your contributors that one needed £500 per annum to afford to keep a private carriage is interesting – when I checked, about £450,000 at today’s levels. Which makes the impoverished heroes tooling around in their carriages less plausible as well.
    Thanks again for this column – I just re-read it and am amazed that shop-keepers allowed credit even to strangers, on the basis that a landlord went guarantor.

    Reply
  78. Re coach travel: Of course. I just read a very sweet HR where the hero was forced to travel with the h and two servants on the back of a wagon. And even to walk. It seemed a stretch, but is now totally credible.
    I remember being struck, on first trips to Asia and Africa, by the hundreds and hundreds of people walking down the sides of every road, so England was probably like that, as well, but stories generally don’t mention them in large numbers. So now I’m totally re-imagining the coach/travel scenes for some of my favourite HRs. And the info from one of your contributors that one needed £500 per annum to afford to keep a private carriage is interesting – when I checked, about £450,000 at today’s levels. Which makes the impoverished heroes tooling around in their carriages less plausible as well.
    Thanks again for this column – I just re-read it and am amazed that shop-keepers allowed credit even to strangers, on the basis that a landlord went guarantor.

    Reply
  79. Re coach travel: Of course. I just read a very sweet HR where the hero was forced to travel with the h and two servants on the back of a wagon. And even to walk. It seemed a stretch, but is now totally credible.
    I remember being struck, on first trips to Asia and Africa, by the hundreds and hundreds of people walking down the sides of every road, so England was probably like that, as well, but stories generally don’t mention them in large numbers. So now I’m totally re-imagining the coach/travel scenes for some of my favourite HRs. And the info from one of your contributors that one needed £500 per annum to afford to keep a private carriage is interesting – when I checked, about £450,000 at today’s levels. Which makes the impoverished heroes tooling around in their carriages less plausible as well.
    Thanks again for this column – I just re-read it and am amazed that shop-keepers allowed credit even to strangers, on the basis that a landlord went guarantor.

    Reply
  80. Re coach travel: Of course. I just read a very sweet HR where the hero was forced to travel with the h and two servants on the back of a wagon. And even to walk. It seemed a stretch, but is now totally credible.
    I remember being struck, on first trips to Asia and Africa, by the hundreds and hundreds of people walking down the sides of every road, so England was probably like that, as well, but stories generally don’t mention them in large numbers. So now I’m totally re-imagining the coach/travel scenes for some of my favourite HRs. And the info from one of your contributors that one needed £500 per annum to afford to keep a private carriage is interesting – when I checked, about £450,000 at today’s levels. Which makes the impoverished heroes tooling around in their carriages less plausible as well.
    Thanks again for this column – I just re-read it and am amazed that shop-keepers allowed credit even to strangers, on the basis that a landlord went guarantor.

    Reply
  81. Yet again, the Wenches send me on a search sparked by an excellent article. Down the rabbit hole trying to find just how large coaching inns were along the roads in England.
    When I’m reading fiction, I may have question after question popping up, but I’m caught up in the story so I don’t stop and look things up. That is, unless the same question keeps popping up over and over. After three websites and multiple articles I believe I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. How do you get any writing done?
    Thanks for another wonderful article. Not only did I learn so much, but it set a fire under me to try and answer one of own my questions.
    Oh, yes! it DOES spark some possible HR scenarios!!!

    Reply
  82. Yet again, the Wenches send me on a search sparked by an excellent article. Down the rabbit hole trying to find just how large coaching inns were along the roads in England.
    When I’m reading fiction, I may have question after question popping up, but I’m caught up in the story so I don’t stop and look things up. That is, unless the same question keeps popping up over and over. After three websites and multiple articles I believe I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. How do you get any writing done?
    Thanks for another wonderful article. Not only did I learn so much, but it set a fire under me to try and answer one of own my questions.
    Oh, yes! it DOES spark some possible HR scenarios!!!

    Reply
  83. Yet again, the Wenches send me on a search sparked by an excellent article. Down the rabbit hole trying to find just how large coaching inns were along the roads in England.
    When I’m reading fiction, I may have question after question popping up, but I’m caught up in the story so I don’t stop and look things up. That is, unless the same question keeps popping up over and over. After three websites and multiple articles I believe I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. How do you get any writing done?
    Thanks for another wonderful article. Not only did I learn so much, but it set a fire under me to try and answer one of own my questions.
    Oh, yes! it DOES spark some possible HR scenarios!!!

    Reply
  84. Yet again, the Wenches send me on a search sparked by an excellent article. Down the rabbit hole trying to find just how large coaching inns were along the roads in England.
    When I’m reading fiction, I may have question after question popping up, but I’m caught up in the story so I don’t stop and look things up. That is, unless the same question keeps popping up over and over. After three websites and multiple articles I believe I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. How do you get any writing done?
    Thanks for another wonderful article. Not only did I learn so much, but it set a fire under me to try and answer one of own my questions.
    Oh, yes! it DOES spark some possible HR scenarios!!!

    Reply
  85. Yet again, the Wenches send me on a search sparked by an excellent article. Down the rabbit hole trying to find just how large coaching inns were along the roads in England.
    When I’m reading fiction, I may have question after question popping up, but I’m caught up in the story so I don’t stop and look things up. That is, unless the same question keeps popping up over and over. After three websites and multiple articles I believe I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. How do you get any writing done?
    Thanks for another wonderful article. Not only did I learn so much, but it set a fire under me to try and answer one of own my questions.
    Oh, yes! it DOES spark some possible HR scenarios!!!

    Reply
  86. How often did coaches and carriages have to change horses? And when someone hired a horse or horses, how were they returned to the place they came from?

    Reply
  87. How often did coaches and carriages have to change horses? And when someone hired a horse or horses, how were they returned to the place they came from?

    Reply
  88. How often did coaches and carriages have to change horses? And when someone hired a horse or horses, how were they returned to the place they came from?

    Reply
  89. How often did coaches and carriages have to change horses? And when someone hired a horse or horses, how were they returned to the place they came from?

    Reply
  90. How often did coaches and carriages have to change horses? And when someone hired a horse or horses, how were they returned to the place they came from?

    Reply
  91. Stages were usually about 10 miles apart, Sarah. Carriage horses came with a postilion riding one of each pair, so they returned the horses. But it’s a bit of a mystery with riding horses.

    Reply
  92. Stages were usually about 10 miles apart, Sarah. Carriage horses came with a postilion riding one of each pair, so they returned the horses. But it’s a bit of a mystery with riding horses.

    Reply
  93. Stages were usually about 10 miles apart, Sarah. Carriage horses came with a postilion riding one of each pair, so they returned the horses. But it’s a bit of a mystery with riding horses.

    Reply
  94. Stages were usually about 10 miles apart, Sarah. Carriage horses came with a postilion riding one of each pair, so they returned the horses. But it’s a bit of a mystery with riding horses.

    Reply
  95. Stages were usually about 10 miles apart, Sarah. Carriage horses came with a postilion riding one of each pair, so they returned the horses. But it’s a bit of a mystery with riding horses.

    Reply

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