A Criminal Pub in Regency London-the Blue Lion, Grey’s Inn Road.


Was the Blue Lion, Grey’s Inn Road, known by the locals as the Blue Cat because of the utterly unconvincing inn sign, 1 the worst pub in late Georgian London?  Well, the short answer seems to be no- it was the third worst. In 1816, the House of Commons, increasingly panicked by the state of law and order in the metropolis, organised an investigation and took evidence from William Fielding, Justice of the Peace and father of Henry Fielding the author and crime fighter. The subject was the most criminal public houses in London in the last twenty years. The Blue Lion was one of the contenders- the Dog and Duck, and the Temple of Apollo had dishonourable mentions, but the Lion was third, and it was especially mentioned that it had been a terrible place for more than twenty years.

We know that this is not an exaggeration, although we have to rely on the memoirs of a criminal confidence trickster to prove it. In around 1798, it was the haunt of James Hardy Vaux, an ultra confident minor criminal who spent his evenings silently watching the immoral lower classes plot and carouse. He was fifteen. Hundreds dated their ruin from this pub, said Vaux. It was full of ‘thieves, sharpers and other desperate characters with their doxies’. He sat in the corner smoking a pipe and listened to their increasingly understandable criminal conversation, but not interacting with them.  Later he wrote a book based on his interactions with criminals; the fact that we know the criminal slang of the late Georgian era is down to the inhabitants of this famous public house and the unusual literacy of the criminal Vaux.2

Details (Amazon)

A little like today, it was the immediate environs of the pub that were the most dangerous, not the inside of the building itself. Violent robberies could not be committed without risk on the people in the pub; it was the unwary street traveller who was the main victim. Prostitutes worked inside and outside the pub, but mostly outside. Stolen goods could be fenced in any low public house, but there were plenty of pawn shops in Holborn that would take luxury goods, no questions asked. The Blue Lion may have been a refuge for criminals, but the crime spilt out elsewhere, all over Georgian London. The pub was a home to criminals rather than a home for crime.

 Another set of specialised thieves made the Lion their home now and then. One Sunday in 1812, the criminal Joseph Naples made a note in his diary;

Went Look out at Blue Ln. &c. did not go out Jack Bill & Tom Drunk the reason as Ben said for not going out.

A ‘look out’ was  a search to spot burials, and there was indeed a burial ground next to the Blue Lion, St Andrews graveyard. Naples and his friends were cold hearted grave robbers and would have felt at home in their local hostelry, although, as their diary shows, they robbed corpses from many places in their manor.

So fencing, robbery, and prostitution were the top three crimes, but the boundaries were fluid because the same people were committing all of them, and much of the action would take place in one of the passages and dead ends around the pub. This is where the Reverend Harris was frisked, mobbed and robbed by prostitutes at 7pm on an evening in mid November 1817. It had been dark for two hours, and the reverend took a shortcut through the most insalubrious part of London. Two ladies of the night pushed him into an alley and he gave them sixpence each to leave home alone. Now knowing now that he had more than a shilling on him, they followed him, embraced him again to have a feel of his financial assets and robbed him of bank notes and seventeen shillings in silver.

The silver would have been very welcome, but the banknotes would need experts to dispose of them- they would have been drawn by an individual who would have noted the number and could cancel it quickly, and/or would have contained the name of people who endorsed it later, creating an unfortunate paper trial for anybody trying to use them. The girls probably did not have the connections to deal with the notes themselves, but they would not have had to look too far for criminal expertise. It may not have been in the Blue Lion; there were lots of other places.

On a non-sensationalist note, it must be remembered that hundreds, if not thousands of people would have negotiated these streets without being attacked. My research noted six robberies in the decade 1811-1820-not really a crime wave. Our first victim, the reverend Harris, hailed from Battlebridge, which may sound like a rustic village in Kent or Sussex, but it was the old name for King’s Cross, and he would have known of where he walked, and the streets of Battlebridge were certainly no safer.

The Blue Lion is on Grey’s Inn Road, next to the burial ground

The area around the Blue Lion was perhaps more dangerous than average, however. There were fields nearby, and the passages were easily blocked at both ends, making ambush and robbery quite easy. Three seemed to have been the magic number when it came to robbery. When law stationer William Carr walked past the pub at eleven in the evening on a November night in 1822, he was accosted by a man and two women who stole a handkerchief (value 5 shilling)   and then ran away into the fields. Rather than put his loss down to experience, he chased them. This was a mistake;

Bell’s Weekly Messenger   November 10, 1822

This was clearly a set up. Mr Carr was naïve, but sensible enough to call the local police patrol, who found the unimaginative thieves in the next-but- one nearest public house to the scene of the crime.

So, footpads like these infested the area. They were little like highwayman, but without the myths that attached to them; lacking a horse as a fast getaway, and not being able to exploit the fact that their potential victims were confined in a metal box, instead their method was to use extreme violence to scare the victim into submission and make them think twice about any subsequent appeal to the authorities. When both murder and robbery could attract the same death sentence, this brutality made perfect sense.

It is clear that many crimes would not have been recorded because of the robbers’ threats or the fatalistic belief that the authorities would not retrieve their goods. Often it was better to advertise in the newspaper.

Some other examples; in 1810, Mr William Hill, poulterer, was robbed at double gunpoint by two ‘stout Irishman’ with a pistol to his mouth and left ear – ‘he gave them all the cash he had and they made off’ said the Star (20.10. 1810). Sensible man!. In 1813 a ‘Heniker  Bantley’ was brought up for robbing a Mr Hall of a gold watch, gold chain, gold seal, silver snuff box and silver spectacles.  He had two criminal compatriots to avoid it being a fair fight.

The area was also a base for house thieves; one event it in 1814 gives an usual insight into their modus operandi by listing their equipment.

2 July 1814 Public Ledger and Advertiser.

Our next robbery victim was the only one who actually visited the pub. Mr J Brockwell, a legal clerk had been there since 11pm and walked home in the fields towards Bagnigge Wells, believing that he was the only person who knew that he had £200 pounds in his coat. The favoured numbered of three footpads beat him up, took his money and left him for nearly dead.

This was not the end of the story. A week later, a group of drunken women turned up at  Mr Kirks Ham and Beef Shop in Bath Street and throw loads amount of gold and silver coins around. The constable was called and some stolen notes were found in their pockets, with a note endorsed by a William Goodwin. This paper trail led the authorities to the original robbery of Mr Brockwell. These notes should have been processed through a criminal network rather than stuffed in the pockets of the locals. Popping into the Lion did not seem to occur to them.

The only known case of crime inside the pub was in 1822 when a man called Marsden, was found guilty of buying four forged one pound notes for twenty-five shilling in coin. This was a far more serious crime than fencing, and one which attracted the death penalty, which was the sentence in this case. It was probably never carried out- it hasn’t been checked- as these overinflated, then commuted draconian sentences were part of the grotesque pantomime of Georgian justice, holding people in fear of a system that was cruel but deliberately inconsistent, so the poor knew where the power lay.

The same year saw the beginning of the end for the Bloody Code of draconian punishments and the end of the Georgian crime wave. The truth is that things had been slowly getting better anyway. When William Fielding complained about the Blue Lion in 1816 he was looking backwards. The state was now investigating in places that were left alone twenty years earlier.  The same Mr Read of the Hatton Garden Police who helped Mr Carr must have been keeping an eye on the pub. A month earlier, Read had visited the pub and arrested seven women for soliciting outside the Blue Lion; a remarkable four claimed to be called Sarah.  The criminal still had places to hide, and the Blue Lion was a more popular place than most, but now that the state was chasing them, it was more difficult to be notorious.  

1 Thornbury, G. W (1881)   Old and New London

2 Vaux,  J.D           A New and Comprehensive Vocabulary of the Flash Language ( 1819)

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Your 1816 Stagecoach Journey part three – Injury and Death.

By James Hobson ( @about1816)

There’s going to be death and serious injury on your 1816 stagecoach journey today. Yes, it will be you. We are not talking muscle strain, cuts and bruises when getting on and off, or the excessive heat and damp of the foetid metal box, or the damage cause by wind and rain if you are ‘on top’. This is about life- changing injury or life-ending death.

We are on board, and we are off, and you have ducked as you exited the stable yard of the coaching inn. Coaches have increased in height since the coaching inns were built. Everyone knows that one, and it is the only danger that the guard will warn you about. After this, you are on your own.

Your stagecoach- let’s call it the Quicksilver- looks absolutely fabulous, but it is an accident waiting to happen. The wheels are high, the luggage compartment is on the side and half way up, and the ‘on top’ passengers are eight foot in the air. It is ridiculously top heavy. Did the stagecoach operators know this? Yes they did, but they did nothing. It is not because they had spent money on the vehicles, as they are mostly leased, but because a coach with a low centre of gravity would be ugly, wide and squat, with luggage so near the ground that it would be dirtied and dusted by the roads. It was designed by the marketing department, not the health and safety one; indeed the latter did not exist.

How is your accident going to happen? There are two pieces of good news. One thing not to worry about is the head-on collision. People drive on the left-it was a social convention (until made law in 1834) , but for obvious reason it is popular-and you are the biggest thing on the road. The lamps are at the front, not the side, so coaches can see each other coming. Some routes are so reliable that coaches even know when another one is approaching them in the opposite direction.

Uphill- slow but safe

Secondly, your stagecoach will probably manage that tight corner despite its design, because both the driver and the horses have done it many times before, and the horses will not be full of alcohol and bravado.  Yes, your driver has been drinking, but then so have you, with that purl (ale, gin, sugar and spices) first thing in the morning. This is the Regency. Everybody has been drinking.

Your accident will be caused by your stagecoach stopping suddenly due to, in order, mechanical failure, reckless driving, obstacles on the road(including a poorly constructed one) or poor visibility caused by fog.

Wheels and axels are the weak point. If the lynchpin fell off, then the wheel would follow at the next sharp turn. Failure to grease the moving parts that came into contact with each other would lead to fires. Coaches were checked by those at the inn when horse was changed. They had neither time to do it properly or a vested interested in getting in right, as they were not the passengers and their lives did not depend on it.

If anything interfered with the horses, there would be problems. Stagecoaches had no brakes, and two of the four horses- the ‘wheelers’ – were trained to bring it to a halt. If they were spooked or injured, then the even the most experienced driver was powerless. If something went wrong, and the passengers panic, then the horse will do the same.

So now it is time for your accident. It is a much simpler one – you hit something on the road. Your coach is being driven too fast; it ploughs into something on the ground. If it’s in a city, it is a pile of horse manure a smooth road; if the country, it was a pile of soil pushed on the road by a flood.

Accidents were often regarded as a joke

Are you on top or in the box?  If you are on top, you will be thrown off, even if you had a second to anticipate the crash. If you are front facing, you may be thrown in front of the horses, who may well trample you to death. Moments afterwards the event they will rear up and lurch forward, with obvious implications if you have fallen in front of them. When faced with an accident, the experienced driver or guard would cut the horse free even before attending to the passengers.

Hertford Mercury and Reformer –  6 October 1835

If you are thrown out in any other way, a lottery follows. There could be good news if you are travelling on country roads with no fences, trees, and gravel to smash yourself against. In the town or city, the prospects are worse. You will remember that story of a coach overturn in Brighton when a man ‘of the Hebrew persuasion’ (as Georgian newspapers never failed to mention) impaled himself on the railings at the Steine. If you fell onto the rough stones that passed as road repairs, your will never be recognised again. You may smash your face, or jaw or your skull; each is more fatal than the last.

And if you  are inside? Well, don’t console yourself that you won’t be thrown about. You will move at the same velocity as those outside, but hit something a lot sooner. You have no seat belt or air bag, while those up top would be gripping something; you might even be going faster!  You will hit, in order or preference, a soft-bodied fat gentlemen, a cushioned wall, the door, or something attached to the inside of the coach. If a guard has left his copper horn attached the wall with a nail, and it smashes into your skull, you will be red head- for the rest of your life (or you could have the metal picked out of your bones in a hospital).

The glass in the windows will have smashed into shards, and if you do not fight the natural inclination to push down the panes to make an escape, then you will become your own guillotine. If you crawl out of a half opened window and the coach drops down as you do it, it will not just be your hands that get cut off.

If you have broken an arm of a leg you will need to go first to the local inn, and then to a hospital or surgeon. If they amputate, you may die a few days later of shock or blood poisoning. If you fracture your skull, you will never get further than the local inn and the newspapers will report that you ‘languished for hours’, which is shorthand for a lingering and painful death.

With the dead and injured all around, how will the survivors and the wider public react? They will be upset. What a melancholy incident!, they would say, and then they would move on, literally and metaphorically. The local newspaper would report the incident, unless they could be bribed or pressurized by the inn keepers and coach operators to keep quiet. They did this to protect their commercial reputation and not because they feared government action or claims for compensation.  Until 1846, any fines for injuring people went to the Crown and not the individual.

If today you live in a nanny state, or constrained by ‘elf and safety’, be thankful.

Part one and part two of this story are available.

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59 Names for your Regency dog

James Hobson ( twitter @about1816)

I sampled ninety-eight DOG LOST advertisements in the British Newspapers between 1811 and 1820, partly so you don’t have too (even if you wanted to) and partly because I enjoy the small details of Regency life, including dogs and their names.

I know what question you are asking!

The winner with 3 votes from 80 is NELSON.  There were two, ROVERS, PRINCES, HECTORS and two dogs called CARLOS  ( all different dogs, although some people advertise in more than one newspaper so I had to be careful!) . There were two BLUCHERs after 1815, showing a healthy respect for the vital Prussian contribution at Waterloo.

Named Nelson, but not much like him

As well as discovering the most famous name was Nelson, I also discovered new colours.‘ Liver’ was a colour. I only every saw the word ‘brown’ used   twice. Two greyhounds were ‘blue’ ; some dogs were ‘lemon’

What else do the names tell you about Regency society? Well, it’s hard to be definitive, but here we go. The names were quite ambitious; we do have Ben, Bob, Tom and Sam, but these were often farmers’ dogs; but some from classical literature, some from current affairs, and some clearly designed to show the character of the dog. We can all see Wasp the terrier in our imagination,  and for than matter Smooch the brown curly setter, stolen when a puppy.

A number(c 25) of  the advertisements do not  mention the dog’s name at all. This is normally because they had a collar with the name of the owner on, or a very detailed description of the dog and its character was given. It’s hard to say if the named dogs also had collars, but from the amount of time spent describing collars, it suggests that they might have been a novelty.  All of the advertisements used the expression   ‘he answers to the name of x’   and never ‘his name is x’. Perhaps this shows a lack of sentimental anthropomorphism; people seemed to understand that dogs were responding the sound only and did not know their name.

Those who believe that their dog ran away usually say so-five percent say this explicitly. The vast majority know that their dog has either been stolen, or that somebody is holding on to it for the reward. The advertisement therefore have a dual function – a reward for the dog, no questions asked, AND a warning that failure to hand over the dog after the notification would led to a prosecution. This would have to be a private prosecution- the state only paid the bills for murder and treason trials. You would have to be rich to advertise for a lost dog.

If an exact sum of money was offered, it would normally be a guinea or half guinea, usually via a third party or with the offer of a third party to avoid the social embarrassment of  meeting the person whose dog you stole both theirs and yours. Sometimes there is a promise of a handsome reward, or that the finder will be handsomely rewarded, which suggests that there would have to be some more negotiation. My guess is that, if no fixed sum was mentioned, and then it would be unwise to bring the dog along to the first meeting.

What breeds of dog did people lose, and were prepared to pay for to get back?. It’s very limited.  They are mostly Pointers, Setters, Newfoundlands and Greyhounds, with the occasional coach dogs, mostly Dalmatians. There are few cross-breeds; the reason why may need investigation. Perhaps such dogs were not owned by people who could afford to advertise in newspapers.

Below are a list of 50 dogs, with their breeds and names, with the reward and whether the finders were also threatened with the law. All advertisements are 1810- 1820

  1. TIPPO a pug (unusually)- five shillings reward
  2. DASH- a small stout cocker –two pounds reward
  3. TRURO – a setter from CORNWALL, of course-  ‘handsome reward’
  4. BUZZ- a terrier- one pound ; no incentive offered
  5. CAPTAIN- a mastiff – half guinea   
  6. PRINCE- a spaniel-  ‘handsomely rewarded’ or ‘ the full force of the law’ if you hold on to him  
  7. PRINCE- a Danish coach dog- one guinea.
  8. FANNY- a pointer bitch June 1816  one pound reward or ‘full force of the law’
  9. THUNDER – ‘of very little use to anybody but the owner’ Newfoundland, One pound or the law
  10. RAG- a water dog – half a guinea.
  11. A greyhound called BLUEMAN, handsome reward.
  12. A mastiff called TYGER, half a guinea or the law.
  13. FOP, a cocker/ king Charles  cross, ‘found of putting his head in the banisters to see if anybody is following him –handsome reward.
  14. NERO- a brown pointer – ‘well rewarded’.
  15. CARLO- a lemon and white English Setter – shall be rewarded or the law.
  16. Another white Setter called CARLO, ‘with curled hair’  half a guinea or the law August 1819
  17. A leopard-spotted dog ( A Dalmatian)  by the name of LEOPARD, half a guinea or the law
  18. BRUSHER, a pointer with remarkably long ears, half a guinea or the law
  19. HECTOR, a  fine Greyhound, ‘his face grey with age, feet much broken from running’  two pounds.
  20. PERO, a remarkably handsome, yet fat  Pointer, yellow and white, handsomely rewarded.
  21. DRIVER, a bloodhound, with a small blemish on each elbow- one guinea and reasonable expenses
  22. GELERT, a Greyhound, one guinea or the law.
  23. A tick- marked white setter called TOPPER, one guinea or the law.
  24. BRAZEN, a blue mottled beagle bitch. Half a guinea
  25. A water dog appropriately called DIVER, half a guinea
  26. DASH, a ‘stout yet handsome’ Spaniel . Handsome rewarded
  27. At the port at Newcastle, PILOT, a white setter. Sept 19, one guinea or the law
  28. MARY, ‘a bitch of the French breed’, dirty liver coloured ears. Five shillings only; that’s Mary missing forever.
  29. A white greyhound called DART, owned by Mr Grimes, a man with no imagination -one guinea
  30. Another greyhound, a grey one that was lame in a back leg due to running, yet still called COMET -well rewarded or the law
  31. BEVENE, a White Setter with one black ear; a massive five guineas or the same to whoever informs on the robbers.
  32. A  Spotted Coach Dog ( Dalmatian)  called BLUCHER, with an even bigger spot on his head than elsewhere-handsomely rewarded or the law.
  33.  Another one named after a war hero- NELSON, yellow and white greyhound, handsomely rewarded or the law.
  34.  A black Greyhound- SMOKER- reward ‘available'( not handsome or even ‘well’)
  35. A red and white BEAGLE who obviously likes a drink, TOPER, handsome reward
  36. A white pointer, one brown ear, called CRAB, one guinea or the law
  37. JUPE, a large ‘rough dog’, half a guinea
  38. MOSCOW
Memories of 1812, perhaps?

39 A white and liver coloured dog called CATO, a pointer, half a guinea or the law

40 VIXEN is a cross terrier/ pug, brown and fat and worth half a guinea if returned, or the law if not


Owned by somebody whose surname starts with ‘l’ ?

42- A large water dog with two names BLUNDER or POSTASH (the latter is its French name). It ‘can beg, walk upright, shake hands’; despite that, the reward is half a guinea

43   SABO, a large liver called Setter, who twitches because he has distemper, five guineas to the ‘finder’ or for anybody who informs on the kidnappers.

44 A Greyhound, unusually described as ‘brown’  called DUSTER. Handsome reward  or the law.

45   A sandy  and white  spaniel called ROVER , worth a guinea to the owner. ‘No greater reward will be offered’.

46 A seventeen inch high hound dog called, democratically, PRESIDENT ; handsomely rewarded  or the law.

47 SMOOCH,  a brown curly dog of the Russian Setter Breed. ‘The dog had not been broke in, nor shot prior to his having been stolen.’

48 A Pointer called BOB, with a ‘fine stern’ –reasonable expenses.

49 Another pointer called BEN- it has a broken hind leg- handsome/law.

50 A black greyhound, called CLINKER, who followed a gentlemen home. Expenses only, as it is implied that a gentleman would not take reward.

Also featured;

TOPPER (Setter)   BRUSH ( Terrier)  PONTO ( Spaniel)  PRIM ( a shock dog, whatever that is)  ROVER again ( another Spaniel)  another BLUCHER ( a Setter)  LION  (a Newfoundland)  GROUSE ( a Pointer)   another NELSON ( Dalmatian)  GROG ( a Pointer)  another BOB ( another Pointer)  DANGER ( a red Setter)  SAM ( a white Pointer)  WASP ( a Terrier)  another HECTOR ( Newfoundland)  TOM ( a white Setter)  Harman ( Terrier)  SANCHO (Pointer)

And finally, from the Saunders News Letter 1817.

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Your 1816 Stagecoach Journey, part one; before the wheels move.

Not normally as bad as this

By James Hobson (@about1816 on twitter)

It is 1816. You are going on a journey by stagecoach. What will it be like?

Firstly, consult your Travellers Oracle guidebook or consult your local paper. All stagecoaches leave early yours leaves comparatively late-7am- it is better to be there at 6.50am at the very latest. This will enable you to get a seat, which is taken on a first come- first served basis.  Some people may put a coat down to reserve a place, but you can safely ignore it in theory, but you may find it prudent to look around first to make sure the coat does not belong to somebody who might threaten you.  This rule may not apply to the seat next to the driver.

You will have booked your ticket in advance; even when the railways arrived and you could buy a ticket on the spot, they were still sold at ‘booking offices’. You will have checked in your luggage. You will have made two lists of the contents, put one in the trunk and kept one on you. If you  had  to take  any valuables on to the stagecoach , they would be hidden. Those gold-rimmed glasses you like so much?- best to leave them at home, although the highway robber had more or less been defeated by 1816; but  it is still best not to advertise your wealth to the other passengers. You do not know who they are. More of that later.

If you are ‘inside’ of a six seater stagecoach, you will choose one of the corners. This is because the carriage wall will provide a measure of extra  cushioned support, and you will be rubbing up against (and this is not a metaphor) only one person instead of two. Once established in your place and moving, nobody would take your seat.

In 1816, you single fare ‘inside’ (say, London to Manchester) would cost you 2 guineas. When you get to Manchester you might meet whole weaving families for whom this is four week’s wages. If you are paying half the price and going ‘up top’, the difference in seating is not so great. The most  favoured seat is the one next to the driver – ‘Jehu’- and some stagecoach enthusiasts actively seek out the seat so that they can speak to the driver and pretend to be driving the coach. Stagecoach nerds might try to use bribery and intimidation to get the seat. It is best to avoid it. It’s the most dangerous seat on the coach if there is an accident.

Where the classes met, and the proletarian is the master

Who will be on this coach with you? Well. Coach travel is far too expensive for most people, but that is less of a guarantee of gentility that you think.  You have no idea who will be sharing your metal box. It depends a little where you are going, and when.

Are you travelling to Brighton, Oxford or Cambridge? Expect to see more skilled artisans around Brighton in the summer, servicing the luxury industries. There will be student types going to the two great universities; some may be rebels and want on travel on top, and the quality of discourse will be higher. Or it may not.

There may be servants; mostly domestics and nannies. They will not have paid their own fare. Their masters and mistresses would have hired a private carriage and would be leaving two hours later.  Very, very few of the unaccompanied females will be of the genteel class. If they are travelling alone, their brother or father will be at the other end waiting for them.

What’s the best it could be? It could be a businessman, possible a nonconformist or Quaker, a quiet middle class family visiting relatives, a fourteen year old  boy going to his public school, and  a pious curate.

What’s the worst it could be?  A sailor on his way to, or from, Deal, Portsmouth or Dover, who will swear, threaten violence and try to avoid his fare (or all three);a fat and talkative travelling salesman in the middle seat so he can crush two people, a servant with a howling baby, and a rosy faced landlord with a  horrible cough that will be your companion all day.

Your driver and guard will be the only guaranteed members of the working class on the stagecoach. My god, they fancy themselves. You may be a vicar, businessman or large tenant farmer, but today Jehu and his assistant are in charge.  The social order is turned on his head. The driver has the local and technical knowledge to get you home in one piece. He has  the whip hand, literally and metaphorically.

They will have been drinking; but you yourself may have had a purl – a warming mixture of beer, gin, nutmeg and sugar before the journey. There was no such thing as ‘wine o clock’ in the Regency; hopefully   they will not be drunk and incapable; if they are, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it except abandon your journey.

You could bring a book or newspaper so you don’t have to talk to anybody. If you are in London, you could already have a newspaper under your arm at 7am; outside the Home Counties it would have to be yesterday’s paper. Coaches now were now better sprung and the roads around London were much better than elsewhere, but it was too cramped to read a paper.  A book would be possible, but not enjoyable.

Your coach would probably look impressive. You are part of a highly efficient industry that knows about branding and marketing. It will have an appropriate name which will not have been chosen by accident.  A major war has just been won, so expect   Nelson, Waterloo,   and Wellington, but also expect a coach that honoured the allies- the Blucher. Unlike future generations and future wars, the people did not believe they done it all on their own.  Speed is a  popular theme- it might be the Greyhound, the Comet or the Rocket, or a fast bird – Hawk , Eagle or Swallow, or just general niceness- the Hope or the Good Intent.

Now you get on board. It is an eight foot climb to the top. You will either receive no help or a crude push, but you will not be told to mind because the Quality does not go on top anyway.  At least it will be clean, which it will not be when you get off. If you are ‘inside’, you do not need a step, so you will be offered one.

Its 7 a.m now. Have you left? If the coach is full, then certainly.  It’s a busy yard, and money has been spent on advertising that stresses punctuality.  A generation earlier the timetables would have said ‘God willing’ or  d.v ( deo volente)  but people were a bit more ‘sophisticated’ now. As it clatters out of the stable yard, you will approach the arched gateway, which would have been built forty years earlier when coaches were smaller. DUCK !  

Part two of the story is here.

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