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c1790: How a local landlord greeted weary travellers

Many, and interesting, are the tales told of the Brighton-road, which always has been held in high favour by coachmen. In olden times, when a man named Bannister kept the inn at Handcross, it was his custom on the approach of a coach to sally forth carrying a gallon jar of gin in one hand and in the other a small wicker basket containing slices of gingerbread.

‘You must be tired, gentlemen’, was his customary greeting. ‘Come down and take a glass and a slice’.

And he used to declare with justifiable pride that he had never heard a gentleman's character disputed or his reputation besmirched because he took a glass of gin or ate a slice of gingerbread at this little roadside inn.

At St. John’s Common [Burgess Hill], near Cuckfield, was another such [??] little place, at which coachmen generally pulled up for a few minutes, and took a snack consisting of a mouthful of bread and cheese and five or six glasses of gin and bitters - a very favourite beverage with old-time coachmen (writes a correspondent of the ‘Field’).


The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld) 23 Oct 1920 Page 36

Illustration: Scene outside a Highgate tavern, 'Horns'. An oafish countryman gapes at the landlord who holds out a book, while a pair of stag's antlers is held over his hand. Three persons look on, their coach stands behind. The fat hostess (right) brings out a bowl of punch, 3 August 1796

Plate 14 to 'Eccentric Excursions, or Literary & Pictorial sketches of Countenance, Character and Country, in ... England & South Wales'. Wikimedia public domain image.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


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