Regency Travel

by Michele Ann Young

I thought I would chime in here with a bit more on carriages. This next picture is particularly useful if you would like something to go wrong with your carriage.

Or you want your hero or heroine to cling to something, or even jump out. It is a long way down my friends.

I fear you might need your quizzing glass or your lorgnette to read the darn thing, though!

This is a laundolet, a rather elegant affair. I noticed that most of these carriages were convertibles, apart from the travelling carriages or chariots as they ware also called.

There are likely a couple of reason for this. Firstly, it would be cheaper to built a soft top and secondly, these were see and be seen vehicles. Of course the extreme was the phaeton with no top at all. Though some did have them.

I wanted to include a travelling chariot. We saw a picture of one last day, but I thought this one much clearer that the one my colleague produced earlier in the week. So there!

What I liked about this is the insignia on the door, and the lamps on each of the front corners in particular.

I can't imagine traveling in the dark with nothing but those to see the way. It also clearly shows glass, so the passengers can see forwards.

There were bigger travelling carriages than this of course, this one looks like a speedy affair, but an old lady might own something that looked more like a mail coach.

If you are wondering where people kept their horses and carriages in Town, we will have some pictures of that next time.

Until then, Happy Rambles

Travel in the Regency

by Ann Lethbridge
Before we move on to our topic, we have to get our shameless self promotion out of the way.

Wicked Rake, Defiant Mistress is now listed on the eharlequin site. Clicking on the link will take you to the book for purchase.

Now on to the interesting stuff.

We have talked about this topic before, but currently I have my hero and heroine needing to travel from where they are to somewhere else. I want the journey to take approximately a day. I want it to be far enough to make it seem like a trip, but not so far they need to stay over night.

It is winter. They are in Yorkshire.

Now the good thing about being an author is that I can place my imaginary destination, the hero's estate, anywhere in relation to the heroine's house.

But there are choices to be made, which add complications.

My hero travelled to the heroine's house in his own vehicle and Whatever he is driving, it would probably be the fastest of those pictured here and the least convenient, he won't want to leave his horses behind, it would be a bit like abandoning your Ferrari.

On the other hand, there are others traveling with them.

And, given their circumstances, as I have it plotted right now, they would need to travel in a closed carriage something like the one pictured below.

Since the average speed of a coach could vary between four miles and hour for a slow coach or up to twelve miles and hour for a fast one and even sixteen for our hero's racing vehicle, the distance that can be travelled in a day, is dependent on state of the roads, changing or not changing horses, and the type of vehicles.

In the end, I decided that thirty miles was far enough to seem like a distance, though today it would seem like a mere half hour jaunt, yet not so close one would simply set out on foot. Our couple are not going to change horses, and the pace is set by the travelling coach, which is not quite as modern or light as the one pictured here. It will take them all day.

Until next time, Happy rambles.

More on Australia

by Michele Ann Young

My we are flying around the world at a rapid rate!

If you are anything like me, you would have found the look of Hyde Park Barracks in the earlier post distinctly depressing on the outside.

On the other hand, some of these people had been sitting in wrecks like the one pictured here for a very long time. Perhaps four square walls didn't look quite so bad after all.

These ships were called prison hulks and they eased the overcrowding in prisons on land. And of course, conveniently located the prisoners off shore or in the Thames estuary for when it was their turn to be transported. sometimes they remained on board for years.

One can imagine that it would be dark and dank with absolutely no privacy.

The men would be shackled during the day in ankle shackles such as these, which would be connected to another chain which encircled waist or throat.

During the day they were put to work on all sorts of projects, depending on where there ship was in relation to shore.

Many of the hulks were located near Woolwich which was expanding rapidly at the time and needed lots of labourers. With the marshes on one side and the naval docks and the Royal Arsenal on the other, escape was difficult.

James Hardy Vaux was a prisoner on the Retribution, an old Spanish vessel, at Woolwich during the early 1800s.

While waiting to be transported for a second time to New South Wales, he recalled:

Every morning, at seven o'clock, all the convicts capable of work, or, in fact, all who are capable of getting into the boats, are taken ashore to the Warren, in which the Royal Arsenal and other public buildings are situated, and there employed at various kinds of labour; some of them very fatiguing; and while so employed, each gang of sixteen or twenty men is watched and directed by a fellow called a guard.

These guards are commonly of the lowest class of human beings; wretches devoid of feeling; ignorant in the extreme, brutal by nature, and rendered tyrannical and cruel by the consciousness of the power they possess….

They invariably carry a large and ponderous stick, with which, without the smallest

provocation, they fell an unfortunate convict to the ground, and frequently repeat their blows long after the poor fellow is insensible.

The prisoners had to live on one deck in group cells that were barely high enough to let a man stand up. The officers lived in cabins in the stern. Disease such as dysentry and typhus were rife caused by the lack of fresh water, overcrowding and vermin. Many died. The men stole from each other, and their guards stole their issued clothing. Punishments were harsh, primarily the cat o' nine tails and solitary confinement.

It was also difficult for relatives to visit and bring them the necessities of life as they often did in the prisons on land.

And they still haven't started on their journey to Bontany Bay.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Hackney Carriages

We are always reading about people driving around London in a Hackney carriage so I thought it might be interesting to look at them a little more closely.

Of course we are all aware of the licences in taxis or cabs as we call them today. In the Regency they were hackney carriages or coaches. And they were equally rule-bound, believe it or not.

An Ordinance for the Regulation of Hackney-Coachmen in London and the places adjacent" was approved by Parliament in 1654, to remedy what it described as the "many Inconveniences [that] do daily arise by reason of the late increase and great irregularity of Hackney Coaches and Hackney Coachmen in London, Westminster and the places thereabouts". The first hackney-carriage licences date from 1662.

Over the years rules and regulations were added as were the number of licences. By my count there were 1000 licenced Hackney coaches and another 500 chariots supplemented by an unknown number of one-horse chaises. However I'm not known for my math, so if this number is important to you I suggest you go to original sources.

By the way, a London Hackney or Cab licence is a highly sought after item, even today.

Now where was I. Yes rules and Regs. They covered such things as the number of passengers according the the size of the hackney (always with the allowance of one servant riding outside), the size of the horses (not below 14 hands. There were fines for abusive language (I wouldn't mind seeing some of those dished out in shopping malls) and fines for extortion - as in extortionate fares.

I thought this rules rather interesting!

Obligation to go.
And they shall be compellable on every day, and at any hour of the night, although they may have been out twelve hours, to go with any person or persons desirous of hiring them, and no more than the regular fare allowed on such occasions.

It appears that our forefathers were just as careless with their umbrellas and other property as we are on trains today, for this following rule also appears.

How Property Left in Coaches or Chariots is to be disposed of.
The drivers of hackney coaches, wherein any property is left, shalt carry each property, in the state in which it was found, within four days, to the Hackney-coach office, and deposit the same with one of the clerks, under a penalty not exceeding 20l.

I have not included all of the detail but you can find it in New Picture of London, Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand; by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819 along with a list of major Hackney Stands throughout London.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Regency Public Transportation

It seems hard to imagine a world where there are no buses, or trains or planes, doesn’t it? A trip from England to North America could take a very long time on a sail ship. A trip from London to Dover, a scant 50 miles, just over a hundred clicks to you Canadians and Europeans, took all day by carriage. I can recall in my teens popping down to Dover and back from the outskirts of London for a meal of Dover sole.

It also took a good few days to get to Gretna Green in Scotland, in case any of you were thinking of eloping, apparently the roads were very bad. You can read a little about this in my novel "No Regrets" coming out in November.

So the rich people had those gorgeous carriages we looked at on Monday, but what about the regular folk, the farmers and business men, the maids going home to visit their families. Well there were several kinds of vehicles.

The mail coach was one way to get around. They did not take a great many passengers. Their job was to deliver the mail. But they did have room for inside and on top and they were really the fastest mode of public transport because they had set routs, set times for arrival and departure and they did not have to stop at the toll gates, if you remember from Monday.

Mail coaches were painted maroon below and black above with red wheels and undercarriage. The royal arms appear on the door and the royal monogram is on each side below the driver’s box. The stars of the senior orders of chivalry (#159) were painted on the four upper quarters, garter, thistle, bath, and St. Patrick. The mail locker carried the route designation on the back, with the coach number on either side. Mail coaches carried at most seven passengers – four inside, one next to the coachman, and two on a roof bench just behind the coachman. The passengers’ limited luggage was stored in the compartment below the driver. The guard sat at the back (#160) in a single seat lined with bearskin for warmth. It was deliberately fastened to the coach with iron rods that transmit every bump and sway, so no guard would become so comfortable that he fell asleep.

There were also private companies that ran stagecoaches. These were also quite efficient by the Regency, when the roads were in a much better state of repair than they had been in earlier Georgian times. It was collecting money at the tollgates that made this possible. Stage coaches also kept to schedule, though they moved slower than the mail, in part because they had to stop at every tollgate, in part because they were more heavily loaded than a mail coach, in part because they were extremely top-heavy and prone to overturning if they cornered too fast, but mostly because they usually stopped for the night – stages often had financial ties to coaching inns, so only express coaches ran at night. This stagecoach is going up a steep incline, so all the passengers have to get out and walk

However, these were only the main roads. There were still lots of cart-tracks and country lanes with ruts in the hot weather and muddy quagmires deep enough to swallow a carriage in the rainy weather. And once in a while there was snow to contend with. My story, Christmas Masquerade, involves a heroine stuck in the snow. I may have mentioned that before, but you know this blog is about me and I am a writer, so live with it. (that was me been Miss Snark for a sentence.)

Other forms of public transportation were hackney carriages, used only in Town and primarily in London. Of course, you could still call a sedan chair. This would have suited some of the older generation. Can you imagine having to carry people around in a box. Looks a bit too much like a coffin for me.

In the country, there were wagons on which you could buy a seat. Not very comfortable, but not very expensive either. This is a freight waggon in the snow. Look at the little lantern on the side. Great headlights!

Some people who lived on the coast might catch a ship to make their journey to England.

Well, I’ve run out of time, and we have only scratched the surface. But I hope you had fun on our Ramble.

Seen you Monday. I think I will do some timelines as an added bonus, but not sure about my theme. I will think about it on the weekend, unless you have a request. No promises, mind you. It depends what I have access to.

Regency Transportation

Ok, did you guess what the above picture had to do with transportation? When we were in England in the summer we took a drive from Hampshire to the coast. We meandered across country through Dorset and found ourselves in Dorset. Hardy country to be exact, the area around Sturminster also known as the Vale of Blackmoor. It is a beautiful spot and is of course where Thomas Hardy lived and set many of his novels. Interestingly enough, he used different names for all the towns and villages in his novels, but apparently never minded identifying them. Anyway, we found the above building quite by chance and pulled over to take a look.

If you were to look more closely at what the notice board says, it is a list of prices.

Coaches 4 1/2 D

Horse, mule, waggon, wain, frame cart, dray 4D

Droves of oxen, cows, calves per score 10D

Swine per score 5D

Every Ass 1D

It goes on to talk about wheel sizes as "at the soles"

Translation: D refers to pence, 12 in one shilling. Droves would be a herd on the hoof

If you guess that this is a tollgate, you were correct. it is the Horsington Turnpike Gate now on the side of A357. I never imagined them quite like the hexagonal building you see here. And this is how it would look in the Regency. Did you read Georgette Heyer’s novel The Tollgate the hero discovers an unattended gate and stops to man it for a while. He uncovers all kinds of secrets and a future wife. It is a charming book.

As you can see from above a tollgate was a significant structure and everything using the road had to pay a toll according to wheel size for a vehicle or according to the type of animal (if it was on the hoof) in order to pay for the upkeep of the road. It had to be manned day and night, and so the gatekeeper lived in the gate.

Here are some pictures of other tollgates. These are in London. The first is Hyde Park and the Second Tyburn. Look at the Tyburn Tollgate, it is very similar to my picture of the gate from Dorset.

The mail coaches traveled the toll roads free of charge so the post horn call was sounded to alert tollgate keepers to immediately open the gate under the pain of a 40 shilling fine should they fail. Members of the Royal Family, soldiers in uniform, parsons on parish duties, funeral processions and prison carts were also exempt from tolls. Had to be some advantage to being carted off to prison I suppose. I doubt that any prisoner would be willing to pay to open the gate.

Here are some of the vehicles which you will read about in my novels and I have provided some pictures of some of them. As always there is not enough room.

Barouche--a four-wheel fancy carriage with a fold-up hood at the back and with two inside seats facing each other. It was the fancy carriage of the first half of the 19th century.

Berlin--A big four-wheel carriage with a hood.

Curricle--A two-wheel carriage that was fashionable in the early 1800s. It was pulled by two horses and deemed sporty by the younger set.

Gig--A two-wheel vehicle intended for single-horse driving by an owner.

Landau--Open, fancy carriage with four wheels with a hood at each end and two seats opposite each other. It was popular in the first half of the 19th century. Two horses pulled the landau.

Phaeton--A light four-wheel carriage with open sides and drawn by one or two horses.

There was also a high perch phaeton, a very dashing vehicle as shown below. Now that is my kind of carriage!!!

Post-chaise — A chaise used with rented horses (see "post"). The postchaise was always yellow and was sometimes referred to as "a yellow bounder." It was controlled by a postillion riding one of the horses.

Well, that is all from me tonight. I hope you enjoy this little peek into Regency travel. Of course we did not talk about public transportation. I will save that for Thursday.
We have a little snow at the moment, but even though the weather may not be the best wherever you are, I still wish you, as always, Happy Rambles.