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Poetry D Jour by Beryl McMullen coming December, 2010


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Author Topic: The Birmingham Stagecoach and Coaching Inns  (Read 19148 times)
Cromwell
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« on: September 26, 2009, 02:33:27 PM »

The flying coaches as they were called started in about 1740’s
The early inns of the 16th century were…….
The Cock and the Redd Lyon in Digbeth, The Talbot and The Dogg in Spiceal St.
The Dolphin in Corn Cheaping, The Horseshoe in St. Martins Lane,
The Swan, (the main Hostelry and Coaching house in Birmingham)
The Garland and the Starr in High Town, The White Hart (were the plague arrived in Brum In a basket of clothes) and the Fleur- de- Lis in Moor St.
The Angel and Hen and Chickens in High St. (that’s what it was called) but used to be The Angel
….. Before 1785 all mail was delivered by post bags horseback at an average rate of 3 to 4 miles an hour   but after that date the royal mail started to use coaches
The Gazette dated July 4th 1785 announced.............
“Mail carriages are preparing to convey the mails from London through Oxford, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, and along the new road through Oswestry, Llangollen, Corwen, and Llanrwst to Holyhead”

The early coaching days kept the inns in Birmingham thriving to the middle of the 19th century till the railways became established and then the inns went into a slow decline

Photo 1 shows the coach leaving The Bull and Mouth in London bound for Birmingham in 1840  
Photo 2 shows an early bill advertising the London and Birmingham Coach


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« Last Edit: October 04, 2009, 12:00:36 PM by Cromwell » Logged
Cromwell
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2009, 03:19:41 PM »

Two more pics for ya Beryl
The Coach pulling into the Swan Hotel ..........and the Stagecoach starting from the Nelson Hotel
Note....... the drinking fountain in the church yard wall later demolished and put by Nelsons statue

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« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 12:41:43 PM by Cromwell » Logged
Beryl McMullen
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2009, 01:13:35 AM »

At the Swan people all around were dressed elegantly –
 
In those days horses probably travelled five to twelve miles an hour -My guess travelling some distant they would have to give the horses a break or change horses in between.
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Cromwell
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2009, 12:43:32 PM »

Another pic of the Stagecoach heading for the Nelson inn

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Cromwell
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2009, 04:30:13 PM »

One story Beryl..............
From the old coaching inns of Birmingham in the 19th Century most of the coaches had names one of these was “True Blue” and it ran from Birmingham to The Shrewsbury Arms setting out at 6. 30am and returning the same day at 7.00pm …….
 I wonder how many men who rode on that coach were murdered by Dr. Palmer.
Palmer the notorious poisoner ……..poisoned at least 14 people including his wife and brother ………He lived opposite the Shrewsbury Arms and was known as a sporting surgeon ……….
Palmer was hung at Stafford Gaol in 1856 over 20.000 people went to the hanging and it took on a party like atmosphere with large quantities of beer being drunk and at the crucial moment they had all come to see a burly farmer fell from the top seats and knocked the people below flying …by the time they had all recovered he had gone through the trap door 
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Cromwell
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2009, 09:31:50 AM »

As I previously stated in 1731 a stage-coach was announced to run during the season between Birmingham and London. The journey (one way) was to take two and a half. days
In 1742 “Flying Coaches," as they were called, under took the same journey in two days. The condition of the roads made the journey impossible during the winter, and exceedingly uncomfortable even in the summer; added to which was the danger of robbers or highwaymen, The safety and more comfortable days of stage-coach travelling did not arrive till well into the next century, after Macadam had shown how a turn-pike road should be made.
It was announced in Walker's Birmingham Paper of April 12th, 1742, that:-
It “The Litchfield and Birmingham Stage Coach” sets out this morning (Monday) from the Rose Inn, at Holbourn Bridge, London, and will be at the House of Mr. Francis Cox, the Angel and Hen and Chickens, in the High Town, Birmingham, on Wednesday next, to dinner, and goes the same; afternoon to Litchfield, and returns to Birmingham on Thursday morning to breakfast, and gets to London on Saturday night, and so will continue every week regularly, with a good coach and able horses
In the 1820’s over twenty coaches a day from the main coaching inns left left Birmingham……… the best known coaching inns were the Saracens Head in Bull St. The Nelson Inn which used to be called the Dog but changed its name when the statue of Nelson was erected opposite, …. St. Georges Tavern, The Castle, The Albion and the Hen and Chickens in New Street  


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« Last Edit: October 04, 2009, 11:59:24 AM by Cromwell » Logged
John 2000
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2009, 09:57:23 AM »

Great stuff Cromwell, we learn somthing new everyday, keep it coming..J2
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Cromwell
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2009, 12:30:35 PM »

High St in 1869 showing the horse drawn "buses" just image the hustle bustle and the smell .........and traffic jams when the coaches came through......note the "bike"

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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2009, 12:21:30 PM »

Cromwell, this thread is absolutely fascinating.  I love the pictures and all the information.  High Street in 1869 looked pretty busy!!!
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Cromwell
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2009, 12:30:40 PM »

The old heavy coaches had very broad wheels to cope with the bad conditions on the road and going on a long journey meant you would end up with more bruises that going 10 rounds with a prize fighter and thrown about from pillar to post (like peas in a child’s rattle was the old saying) getting to your destination black and blue..
When the road surface started to improve by Macadam’s method saying no stone should be used to repair a road bigger than a mans mouth ….the coaches started to improve and springs were fitted.
The first Royal Mail coach left Birmingham to the ringing of bells from St Martins Church and cheered by thousands of spectators as it left the Swan Hotel bound for London on May 26th 1812, very shortly it became a common site and by 1818….11 coaches a day left the Nelson Hotel ………28 coaches a day from the Hen and Chickens and 34 from the Castle and Saracens Head
Now think about today’s taxes and think about the turnpikes ……….gates across the road and to pass you had to pay a fee or toll charge before the gate was opened, the fee was to suppose to pay for the upkeep of the turnpike road  ……..in the borough of Birmingham there were six turnpike gates(Four where at Moseley Rd, Bristol Rd,Pershore Rd.and Hagley Rd) not abolished till 1853 but then rebuilt a quarter of a mile from the city boundary.
In one year a Birmingham to London coach paid £1,400 year in toll charges and this went on till they were abolished all over the country in 1889
« Last Edit: October 03, 2009, 03:12:13 PM by Cromwell » Logged
Cromwell
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2009, 09:45:09 PM »

In Armstrong's “Survey of the Great Post-Roads between London and Edinburgh” (1776), it shows there were two main routes from the English to the Scotch capital; one by Durham, which did not touch Warwickshire, and the other by Carlisle, which ran from Daventry to Dunchurch and then to Coventry, Coleshill and Lichfield. It was this line of coach which carried the letters to “Birmingham by Coleshill".
Those who know the places mentioned above as they are now will easily understand what a difference it must have made to Dunchurch and Coleshill, even today are quiet places so can you  imagine, when the coaches used to dash through them, bringing custom of all kinds to the village and district, ceased to run, and all the traffic was diverted to the comparatively motorway network .
In 1819, in the heyday of the coaches.
The “Prince of Wales Post Coach," for example, left the George and Blue Boar every day at three in the afternoon. It ran through Oxford, Birmingham, Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Bangor, and arrived at the Hibernia Hotel, in Holyhead, three days later, at nine o'clock in the morning.
 The coaches running directly from London to Birmingham. took several routes and there were many of these and they ran From the Belle Sauvage in Ludgate Hill ….a coach started every morning at 4.45, which ran through Stony Stratford, Daventry, Leamington and Warwick.
From the Bull and Mouth no less than four started every day, running through High Wycombe, Oxford, Enstone and Stratford. They arrived at the Nelson in Birmingham eighteen and a half hours after leaving London.
A coach from the Castle and Falcon passed through St. Albans, Stony Stratford, Towcester, Weedon, Daventry and Dunchurch, and was nineteen hours on the road.
The “Prince of Wales" from the George and Blue Boar in High Holborn followed the same route as those from the Belle Sauvage
The "Royal Defiance" from the Saracen's Head, Snow Hill, took that of the Castle and Falcon. The “Crown Prince" started from the Golden Cross, near Charing Cross, and ran through Stony Stratford, Southam, Leamington and Warwick to the Saracen's Head in Birmingham.
Three coaches left the Swan with Two Necks in Lad Lane every day, and ran through Dunstable, Stony Stratford, Daventry, Dunchurch, Coventry and Stonebridge. One of these was the Royal Mail, and all of them were supposed to reach the Swan in Birmingham in fifteen hours.
All the coaches mentioned above ran daily, so Birmingham was not badly supplied at the time.
Pic's are the Hen and Chickens coach in New Street
And Lloyds New hotel and the Hen and Chickens


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« Last Edit: October 05, 2009, 07:34:42 AM by Cromwell » Logged
Beryl McMullen
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2009, 05:12:09 PM »

The pictures are just fascinating - How small the people all were and those ladies dresses must have swpt up all the dirt off the ground
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Cromwell
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2009, 01:59:11 PM »

As coaching inns go the Hen and Chickens in town got quite a transformation going from an bustling busy inn selling beer and spirits to one that sold no alcohol at all ….. Starting life in the 1700’s in the  High Street it rapidly grew and by 1741 there was a large bowling green at the rear and considerable stabling accommodation with a view over a lovely rural valley ……..it was demolished in the 1798 and a new Hen and Chickens was built not on the old site but a new site in New Street with a large coaching yard and stabling block  at the time road travel was expanding rapidly…….in 1837 a coach could get to London in 15 hours and by 1840 fifty coaches a day left the Hen and Chickens Hotel as it was now called…
Keeping up pace with a growing town the Hen and Chickens was demolished and entirely rebuilt in 1898 but kept its name ………..until 1938 it was completely modernised with over 100  bedrooms lifts were installed all rooms had hot and cold running water and it stopped selling alcohol ………..Renamed …The Arden Hotel
Ye Olde Royal was built in 1782 at the top of Temple Row and started the trend of calling Inns …Hotels. back then it soon became a very popular coaching house with a large coaching yard which ran through Bradford Passage from Corporation St. to Cherry Street and Temple Row
Pic 1 The Arden
Pic 2 Ye Olde Royal


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Cromwell
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2009, 03:04:29 PM »

The Lion at Shrewsbury. It is first mentioned in 1618; but the original house was older. It is said Henry the Fourth lodged there after the battle in 1403.
The existing buildings are largely the creation of Robert Lawrence, who became landlord in 1780. Lawrence was a considerable figure in his day, and largely responsible for making the hotel one of the main posting stations of the London-Holyhead coach traffic. It stands at the top of a steep and awkward hill in Shrewsbury, known as Wyle Cop.  The coach-drivers of the last century were quite skilled at there craft…… One in particular, named Sam Hayward, would bring his coach with four horses galloping up the hill at top speed, drive past the entrance, turn the coach in its own length, and dash through the gateway into the hotel yard, still at full speed, with only a foot to spare on either side. The principal coach the 'Wonder' left The Bull and Mouth in London for The Lion at Shrewsbury.....158 miles...and accomplished the journey in just over eleven hours' driving time, or an average speed of more than fourteen miles an hour. Never over the years was it more than ten minutes late.  The Lion is still the old type coaching inn, with the long and narrow corridors, innumerable bedrooms and vast cellars that Dickens described in the Pickwick Papers. The yard, which once resounded to the arrival and departure of coaches, the shouting of guards, the demands of travelers, and the stamping of horses, has been partly built over, and partly turned into a garage in the 50's. The hotel has been brought into line with modern requirements, by the addition of extra bathrooms, and 'hot and cold' in the bedrooms. The Adam ballroom in the Lion was designed by the brothers Adam in 1780
Adverts from the Aris Gazette in 1787
From Birmingham Hart’s Hotel and Swan Inn, all Persons and Property protected by Government Authority, with a Guard.
Shrewsbury Mail Coach, to the Lion Inn, Salop, every Afternoon at One o’clock.
The Oxford Mail Coach, in eight hours, every Afternoon, at Three o’clock, arrives in Oxford at Eleven the same Night
The London Mail Coach ..Through Stratford, Oxford, and High Wycombe,
 Sets out from the above Inn, every Afternoon precisely at Three o’clock, and arrives at the Bull and Mouth Inn, London, next Morning, at seven.
Fare, £1. 11s. 6d. …All Goods that are sent by this Coach, the Public may depend upon having delivered by Nine o’clock next Morning in London.
The Dudley, Stourbridge, Kidderminster, and Bewdley Mail Coach, every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday Afternoon, at Two o’clock.
Performed by Wyner of Birmingham and Willan of London.
The Proprietor will not be accountable for any Thing above Five Pounds Value, unless entered as such and paid for accordingly.
Pic 1 …is a very rare picture of The Birmingham coach called “Wonder”
Pic 2 ..are the stagecoaches from the Saracens Head Snow Hill
Pic 3 The Lion at Shrewsbury



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« Last Edit: October 17, 2009, 03:06:11 PM by Cromwell » Logged
Beryl McMullen
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2009, 03:53:55 PM »

I am thoroughly enjoying this topic - Lovely pictures Graham and those horses are like poetry set in motion -A spectacle of conformation they stand alone paving our way to the motorcycle age. They carried the field in fun-and-war- while cavalry, stagecoach , was all the rage—
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