Bayne-Powell, Rosamond. Travellers in Eighteenth-Century England. London: John Murray, 1951. Bayne-Powell has written a number of books about domestic life in England in the Eighteenth Century that would be worth looking at. In this book, using a number of interesting primary sources, and a certain amount of amused commentary, the various aspects of travel in London are discussed, including how to avoid custom duties when arriving, what service, or lack of, to expect in inns, and what entertainments (lots of them) were available in London for travelers. I like the intelligent, opinionated chatter of the sources, though every view presented seems to be contradicted by an opposing viewpoint. This is fun for general reading, as well as very good resource material.

Fordham, Sir Herbert George. “Paterson’s Roads” The Library (Oxford Journal) s4-V (1925): 333-356. 21 Aug. 2011.

Jackman, W. T. The Development of Transportation in Modern England. London: Frank Cass & Co, LTD, 1962. This provides way more information than even Georgette Heyer would need about getting around in Georgian England. The author does a quick survey of transportation from Roman times to 1500, and the bulk of the book covers Tudor times to modern railways. You can pick and choose, and find some very good information. I’ve been reading about John Metcalfe, the permier road engineer of modernizing English roads, i.e., making them reliably usable. He had an extraordinary career, in charge of rerouting, reconstructing, and resurfacing miles and miles of toll roads, and the man was blind from age six! Go figure! Go read the book!

Margetson, Stella. Journey by Stages. London: Cassell, 1967. This traces the history of coaching, from the primitive, miserable stages of the Restoration period, up to the Golden Age of Coaching, the 1820’s. It’s rather ironic that when the coaching companies finally got it together, the good roads, the excellent horses, the well-sprung coaches, within just a few years the upstart railways came in and put an end to the whole era. There’s lots of good stories here, interesting descriptions of journeys. The bibliography lists almost entirely primary sources, and though the work isn’t scholarly, it’s very well researched. Read it on the train.

Paterson, Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel. A New and Accurate Description of all the Direct and Principal Cross Roads... London: Longman, Horst, Rees, Orne and Brown, 1811. Yes. That date is correct.

Tristram, W. Outram. Coaching Days and Coaching Ways. London: Macmillan and Co., 1906. This book is filled with elegant line drawings of various aspects of travel on the great coaching roads in England. The stories are good, too; ones that you would hear over a tankard of ale in a public house, told in a rich country dialect, about the misery of spending the night in a moving, swaying coach, and the reputations of famous highwaymen. Not a resource book for looking things up, but great to get the flavor, the dust and the noise, of the great roads, the and travelers and coaches on them.

Webster, Norman W. The Great North Road. Bath: Adams and Dart, 1974. Mr. Vernon was very helpful in answering my questions when I was trying to arrange a trip to Gretna Green.


One Response

  1. Hello! I was referred to you by Eloisa with a question. Though it is possible that I might find the answer to this question in one of the titles mentioned above I figure I will ask any way! How do you calculate the traveling time (via coach, horseback or ship) for your authors? Is there a website that has a such a calculator on it or something to that effect? I was very curious how one goes about finding that information. Thank you!


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