Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Getting from Here to There -- Post Houses and Coaching Inns

In my last blog post I talked about post coaches, their routes, their availability and their features. But if we talk about post coaches, we must also talk about post houses, and coaching inns. These were the places that post horses were stabled, customers were refreshed with meals or beverages, and clients were offered accommodations ranging from adequate to expansive.
from The Old Inns of Old England by Charles G. Harper 1906
 The established coaching inns/posting houses made good use of newspaper advertising.
Northampton Mercury - Saturday 20 April 1805
Sussex Advertiser - Monday 24 May 1819
Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Thursday 09 September 1819

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 19 November 1801
But it seems that the hospitality industry, in the Regency as well as today, was a high-pressure business, prone to frequent turn-overs in ownership and management. The newspapers carried many advertisements for lease opportunities of coaching and post inns.
Bristol Mirror - Saturday 24 February 1816

Chester Courant - Tuesday 03 July 1804
Gloucester Journal - Monday 12 January 1807
Business was not always straightforward. Dirty tricks were as prevalent in the past as they are in the present day.

Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 09 October 1809
Sussex Advertiser - Monday 24 May 1819

The Old Inns of Old England by Charles G. Harper 1906
Despite the charm of the aged buildings, the beauty of the roses round the windows, and our image of the romance of inn-keeping, the business was hard with long hours and heavy work in both inn and stable. It wasn't an easy life, that of 'mine host'.

'Til next time,


Friday, March 10, 2017

Getting from Here to There -- Post Coaches

There were no trains, no cars, no airplanes. There were no inter-city buses, but there were plenty of post coaches in Regency England. For the vast majority of people, private carriages and chaises were out of the question. Public coaches were their only means of traveling around the country.

Mail coaches were the most well-known of passenger carriers. This advertisement (my apologies for the poor scan) shows the desirability of such reliable transport:
Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 09 January 1800

There were books like Cary's New Itinerary or Cary's Traveller's Companion which listed the schedules of mail coaches, stage coaches and post coaches to and from major cities. If you were lucky, the route you wanted to take was listed among Cary's timetables. But if you wanted really up-to-the-minute information on the coaches leaving your town, you could turn to the newspaper. There you would find advertisements from the local coach suppliers with their routes and all the other pertinent information for road travel.

Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 09 January 1800
Exeter Flying Post - Thursday 09 January 1800
The advertisements often listed the number of passengers accepted; some carried only four inside riders. This no doubt was an inducement for riders to enjoy greater comfort.

Cheltenham Chronicle - Thursday 13 August 1818
Hull Advertiser and Exchange Gazette - Saturday 03 January 1807
It is worth noting the illustrations accompanying the coaching advertisements. From 1800-1820 virtually the only illustrations in newspapers were in fire insurance adverts, where they displayed the fire company's badge, and in coach advertisements where the small, hurrying coaches are beautifully illustrated. The illustrations are almost all different.
Chester Courant - Tuesday 02 January 1810
Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Thursday 17 March 1814
Most advertisements carried a disclaimer stating that they accepted no responsibility for damage or loss of possessions, luggage or parcels. Later in the decade some illustrations displayed the outdoor passengers, paying less and suffering more for their transport.
Cheltenham Chronicle - Thursday 13 August 1818
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 01 August 1815
Some advertisements employed a sort of 'hard sell' extolling their virtues with sometimes extravagant claims. But they hardly needed to--post coaches were the only means of convenient, semi-comfortable travel in a pre-railway world.
Leicester Chronicle - Saturday 24 June 1815
There are few things that underline the differences between the modern age and the Regency era as clearly as changes in transportation. It is tempting to assume private carriages were the norm; Regency fiction reinforces this belief. In fact, the post coaches made the world go round, and their confident advertisements indicate they knew the fact very well.

'Til next time,


Credit: all newspapers excerpts from

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Regency Gardening - Bulbous Roots for Sale

At this time of year--with two months of winter left where I live--my thoughts turn to my garden. I pore over seed catalogues looking for new flowers to try, new bulbs to plant.

It seems that during the Regency, garden lovers had exactly the same desire to plan their gardens. In the late fall, the newspapers offered advertisements from seedsmen and nurseries for the latest in Dutch 'bulbous roots'.

Carlisle Patriot - Saturday 10 October 1818
Dublin Evening Post - Tuesday 12 October 1819
Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Monday 21 October 1816
The Tyne Mercury; Northumberland and Durham and Cumberland Gazette - Tuesday 29 October 1816
Bristol Mirror - Saturday 23 October 1819
In January, the Hull Packet posted the advertisement below. Several familiar plants are on the list--I have an amarillis [sic] blooming in my dining room right now! And martagon lilies are now enjoying a resurgence in popularity...
Hull Packet - Tuesday 17 January 1815
By March the seedsmen were advertising. If I had a garden in Regency times, I would hope to be able to purchase one or two packets of new, different seeds to supplement those I had collected and that I traded with my neighbours.
The Suffolk Chronicle;  or Weekly
General Advertiser & County Express
Saturday 02 March 1816
 By spring and early summer the flower shows were beginning and competition was keen.
Saunders's News-Letter Dublin - Monday 05 April 1819
The Globe - London - Friday 03 May 1811
Durham County Advertiser - Saturday 07 June 1817
There were many astonishing botanical artists practicing during the Regency era. The illustrations in this post are by Pierre Jean Francois Turpin, one of the greatest. He probably became known and appreciated in England after the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

I must go and make up my order for seeds now from my new catalogues. It is nice to know I am continuing a tradition that dates back well before the Regency era.

'Til next time,



British Newspaper Archive
Wikimedia Commons

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Family Tradesmen's Directory 1808

In 1808, Duncan McDonald, the Head Cook of the Bedford Tavern and Hotel, thought he had something new to offer to the world of cookery and cookery books. He may well have been right. Certainly his book was comprehensive, and his 'directions for marketing' and listings of the markets in London were unusual in such books of the day.

 I found his "Family Tradesmen's Directory" quite fascinating. It is a glimpse into a frozen moment in time of the retail world of 1808 London. The listing is long but I am including it all here in the interest of research and curiosity.
From this first page above, I looked in the British Newspaper Archive to see if T. Aveling had advertised his services in the London papers. He had. I was particularly interested because I had discovered that an 'oil and Italian warehouse' was virtually the "deli" of the Regency era.
Morning Chronicle 14 April 1803
The breadth of his stock is impressive, and there are seven other such warehouses listed by Mr. McDonald. Obviously these emporiums were important to the households of London.
 Linen-drapers, mercers, and woollen-drapers are mentioned in McDonald's list although his interest is in household suppliers, not fashion or clothing merchants. Cater, Marshall & Co. (listed above) advertised in the Morning Post.
Morning Post 10 April 1805
Table linens, and sheetings are among the household items offered for sale. On this same page there is a Glass & Staffordshire Warehouse listed. There are many china and glass suppliers on McDonald's list.
Morning Post 29 October 1804
Mr. Goldicutt seems to supply everything a household could require.
 There are several 'oil and colourmen' listed by McDonald. These were the equivalent of our paint stores. Linseed oil, raw pigments and the necessities for mixing and fixing them were sold by these shops. But on the last page below there is a new sort of shop mentioned--Vanherman, Fores & Co., British Paint Manufactory.
Morning Chronicle 16 April 1808
House decoration was changing and moving into the new century.
There are very few luxury shops in Mr. McDonald's list. The requirements of a household were uppermost in his mind. But he did include a perfumer in his list.
 Morning Post 19 May 1807
Presumably Patey, Butts & Co. Wholesale Perfumers sold items necessary to a household, as well as their 'Circassian Water'.

I feel as though I have been shopping in Regency London after perusing this list. And it has led me to reflect on who did go shopping for the wide variety of items required by a household. The mistress of the house would acquire large and/or decorative items I am sure. The size of the household would dictate the shopper for other items. It might be a maid, or it might be a house steward. I can see another interesting line of research opening up!

Happy New Year!

'Til next time,

New London Family Cook -
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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas in 1805

Although I have done other blog posts about Regency Christmases from newspapers of the day, I thought it might be interesting to focus on one particular year. In 1805, the Ordnance Survey had begun publication of its detailed maps of England, Walter Scott had published The Lay of the Last Minstrel, the Eton/Harrow cricket match had taken place for the first time, and the Battle of Trafalgar (with Lord Nelson's tragic death) had taken place in October.

In 1805, mention of Christmas does not appear in the newspapers I surveyed until the week before the 25th of December. Perhaps predictably, the first notice is from a retailer.
Morning Post - Wednesday December 18 1805
Advertisements for Christmas gifts are not so numerous as one might expect given today's retail frenzy, but they do exist.
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 23 December 1805
Evidence of the celebration of Christmas continuing through until Twelfth Night--January 6--is contained in the advertisements for the Season.
The Courier - Tuesday 31 December 1805
But then, as now, there was more to the Season than commercialism. There were songs and poems:
Staffordshire Advertiser - Saturday 05 January 1805

There were some funny, some impenetrable, and some rather rude jokes:

Morning Advertiser - Friday 27 December 1805
Evening Mail - Monday 30 December 1805

The solemnity of the Season and the importance of charity were not overlooked:

The Courier - Tuesday 24 December 1805
And the activities of the royals, and the notables of society, were reported in detail:
Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal - Tuesday 01 January 1805

London Courier and Evening Gazette - Saturday 21 December 1805
London Courier and Evening Gazette - Tuesday 31 December 1805
 And finally, in a note that seems oddly contemporary, the Lotteries are touted:
Morning Advertiser - Monday 23 December 1805

Morning Advertiser - Thursday 26 December 1805
There you have a picture of a Regency Christmas in the year 1805--a Christmas not so very unlike our own.
 I hope that you enjoy a very Happy Holiday Season, and every joy in the New Year.

'Til next time,


All illustrations in this blog post are from

More Christmas information and illustrations can also be seen at my website: