Nonfiction Book Reviews
Title: The Regency Road - The Coaching Prints of James Pollard; With an introduction by James Laver, Keeper of the Department of Engravings and of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
First published 1957 in London by Faber & Faber Limited.
Excerpt (Plate 1):
Until 1784 the mails had been carried by postboys on horseback. In that year the Bristol Mail, conveyed by the first of the Royal Mail coaches, was inagurated, soon to be followed by others to all parts of the country. Eventually over 180 services were in daily operation in different parts of the British Isles, and the system continued with growing efficiency until 1838, when an Act of Parliament was passed authoirizing the first conveyance of mails by railway. Not until 1840, when the penny post was introduced, did correspondence become other than an activity of the well-to-do classes, for postage rates were high, and many long-distance letters cost a shilling or more to send.
Before trains, planes and automobiles there were horse drawn carriages to take you from place to place. The coaching trade reached its pinnacle during the Regency era, to soon after fade as yesterday's snow with the rise of the Victorian railroad. The Regency was the great time of change, straddling the old feudal agricultural system and the new industrial age. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the coaching.