When the first edition of this book came out in 1888, there would have been many readers in middle age, who could remember the heyday of the Stage Coach, which paradoxically was after the first mainline railways began to open in the 1830s and 1840s. The Royal Mail coaches of course were soon displaced by trains, but there was a continuing role for the Stage Coach while lines were being built providing services from “end of track” to the next big town, by linking up sections of line separated by the construction of a lengthy tunnel or viaduct. Then for several years they had a role to play providing feeder services to the railways from towns which did not yet have lines of their own. Chaplin, one of the major Stage Coach operators did not sell up (and there was no problem in selling the business at a good price) to invest his fortune in railways until the mid 1840s.
For many people this would have been a nostalgic book, recalling scenes of their youth. It is divided into sections dealing respectively with The Bath Road, The Exeter Road, The Portsmouth Road, The Brighton Road, The Dover Road, The York Road and The Holyhead Road. Each comprises a description of the journey, enlivened by anecdotes and characters, and illustrated by two of the best black and white artists of the day.
A delightful little book, ideal for Christmas reading in front of the fire, imagining one is at Dingley Dell, listening for the Coach to pass the end of the lane, delivering its cargo of jovial companions.
PREVIEW BELOW – MAY TAKE A WHILE TO LOAD.
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