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1840: Steam carriage trip from Brighton

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Yesterday a steam-carriage, which had started from Deptford on the previous day, returned from Brighton to the Elephant and Castle, with passengers, having made its journey in three hours and a half.

The route taken was through Cuckfield, Reigate, etc, and the trip gave general satisfaction to the passengers; but even the advocates of steam-carriages on common roads were rather shaken in their sanguine expectations that such a mode of travelling can be made generally available on common roads, the short and steep hills being a great detriment.

On the road down- the speed was much retarded in going up Red-hill, in consequence of the station for taking in water being fixed at Coombs-mills, a little before the rise of the hill, and the cold water checked the power of the steam.

The fare charged was only 5s. each person, and the novelty of course drew a full complement. This is the second trip of the sort which has been taken within a month, but they have been merely experimental.

Morning Post, 6 June 1840

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details

Illustration: This steam carriage operated between London and Bath between 1825 and 1829. Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, having obtained a patent for 'An apparatus for propelling carriages on common roads or railways – without the aid of horses, with sufficient speed for the carriage of passengers and goods', designed and built a number of steam-powered road vehicles, one of which is illustrated in this hand-colored print.

Jeremy Norman Collection of Images. Creative Commons,


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