|Essex Coaching Days by J.Elsden Tuffs|
I thought I'd share a few nuggets of information with you.
Firstly a little about the coachman himself: a typical coachman would have had to be a rugged individual as he spent his entire life been buffeted by the elements.He expected his tip, as did the guard, at the end of each stage. (This must be why taxi drivers make the same demand.)
The coach route was usually in three "grounds". The first section, called the "upper", the next section called the "middle" and the final stretch was the "lower". The upper and the lower provided the biggest tips so the middle ground was never very popular with coachmen.
Tuffs provides an amusing quote from John Wesley who travelled from London to Norwich in 1779. "I went to Norwich in a stage-coach with two very disagreeable companions, called a gentleman and gentlewoman, but equally ignorant, insolent, lewd and profane."
|Essex coaching map.|
In the winter extra horses were often needed to get the coaches up a particularly difficult hill. For instance, Brentwood hill, on the London side, was somewhere passengers were often asked to walk. Also an additional couple of horses would sometimes be harnessed to help drag the coach forward. A postilion would ride the nearside one.
|Another drawing form Tuff's book.|
Mind you, on more than one occasion it has taken me several hours to get from Liverpool Street to Colchester because of problems on the trains. The A12, more or less the same route the stage coach would have used, is notorious for accidents and delays. On occasions you still have to be tough and determined to get from Colchester to London nowadays.