Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Grand Tour was De Rigueur: Sophie travels with her son by coach to London 1786. We can be sure that this type of travel is exactly what Gibby experienced during his time in Europe==the travellers marvel at the latest hightech gadget on the English mail coach!

The fancy mail coach (a similar one) that Sophie and her son admired from the window of their Inn, it could transport so many people at one time!

FROM: SOPHIE IN LONDON 1786 (the diary of Sophie v. la Roche in the fall 1786)
first published 1933
The transport arrangements for London are excellent.  From the capital to Harwich is a distance of seventy-four English miles; these are divided into five stages: from here to Mistley, twelve miles; Colchester, ten miles; Witham, fourteen miles; Ingatestone, fourteen miles; Romford, twelve miles; London, twelve miles.  The host of the ‘Three Bumpers’, our present abode, keeps horses, grooms and coaches, of which he has all kinds, letting them out for London, and he is connected with landlords at the above-mentioned localities who, if one arrives with his coach, immediately harness the best horses and put one en route again fast as lightning, accompanied by very well-dressed attendants.  Our coach held five comfortably, was lined with fine cloth, and so well built and lacquered as befitted a state-coach.  Four horses and two postillions brought us early into Ingatestone along the best of roads and through the finest of landscapes.

...We encountered a number of coaches and vehicles, especially goods-vans, whose wheels, by Act of Parliament, are over a hand’s breadth; and so, constantly on the look-out for new and pleasant objects, we arrived in the lovely village of Ingatestone...we had the fun of watching the Colchester mail-coach arrive.  Its name is quite rightly the Colchester Machine—seating six people inside, in front outside behind the coachman four more, and at the back, where the trunks usually go, as many again with a neat enclosure with benches, while eight people were sitting above on deck, their feet dangling overboard, holding fast with their hands to screwed-in brass rings.  This was a new experience for us; we called to each other to come, and my Carl investigated the structure of the machine as soon as it was empty; this took place with all possible convenience to the passengers, as not only those occupying the seats of honour inside were able to descend as in every other good coach, but the rest could climb down too with the aid of small, prettily worked and painted ladders placed immediately alongside, like those found at home in well-appointed libraries.
Site Meter