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1867: Luxurious stage coaches

Mail Coach leaving the Post Office, Brighton

Quite a new feature has sprung up on this road, at least to those who are not old enough to remember the times before the railways existed, when stage coaches with their slapping four-in-hand teams rattled up and down at all hours of the day, and the cry among the post-boys and cads in the stable yards of 'First turn up,’ Four horses down,' was as familiar as household words, and spanking equipages were continually passing through.

Many of the present generation never saw a stage coach until now, or a four-in-hand team, except when Major Meek has driven in with a load of riflemen. Colonel Rose occasionally handled the ribbons in the same style, or a set of swells on their way to Goodwood do the same, but now they have an opportunity of seeing coaching on the old plan, or we may rather say an improvement on it.

The new coaches are to run up and down from London to Brighton every dav Sundays excepted, during the summer,commencing on Monday, the 13th inst., and a better appointed turn-out cannot be found, we may say in England, the neat, elegant, strong but lightly built traps, are an immense improvement on the lumbering old Blues and Reds of thirty yeas ago, running as lightly and noiselessly as an American sleigh, and fitted up inside luxuriously, while the outside seats are as comfortable as an easy chair, and there is no emblazonment about them, further than the simple words, 'London and Brighton,' in gold letters on a dark ground — in fact quite a swellish and aristocratic turn out.

The horses, too, are well bred and active animals, all of them down to their work, and beautifully matched, especially Mr. Boole's team of greys, that do the distance from Cuckfield to Handcross and back, by no means a heavy day’s work,, being only five miles out and home, and and tooled by himself, as he does the distance out and home thus far from Brighton.

The coachmen are all amateurs, gentlemen who not only horse, but drive, principally as an amusement, and the fares low; 12s, inside, 10s. outside, and 2s. 6d. extra for the box seat; so that as the weather clears up we shall expect to see it largely patronised, as beyond this the pleasure of a trip on the outside of so complete an equipage, added to that of passing through a delightful county fifty-four miles, in five hours and a half, and contemplating alternately the lovely scenery, and the manner in which each spirited team step along and pull together, is a treat. On Good Friday the down coach had a full load.

The Sussex Advertiser, 27 April 1867

Illustration from Brighton and its coaches by WCA Blew, 1894

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details


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