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Thu, 11 Jul


St Johns Church

Norfolk in the Stagecoach Age

The early 19th century was the golden age of the stagecoach, often romanticized in Dickensian Christmas scenes. Whip-cracking drivers, blunderbuss wielding guards and, of course, the gentleman highwayman, are all part of the accepted picture, but what was coach travel really like during this period?

Norfolk in the Stagecoach Age
Norfolk in the Stagecoach Age

Time & Location

11 Jul 2024, 14:00

St Johns Church, Broad Street, Harleston IP20 9AZ

About the event

The first mention of a coach dates back to the 13th century but it was not until much later that the stagecoach as we know it first appeared on England’s roads.  As routes developed inns opened along the routes to provide much needed water for the horses and rest and food for the drivers and passengers. The Swan and JD Young (formerly The Magpie) in Harleston Norwich were two inns. They are both still hostelries today.


Musuem Curator Charles Lewis will show how roads, vehicles and services developed until the country was served by a network comparable to that later provided by the railways and how it was, indeed, the railways that eventually replaced it.  We shall see what it was like to travel by coach, the delights and dangers, and whether, in fact, highwaymen were really part of the story.

Charles has worked for the Norfolk Museums Service for 20 years specializing in local and maritime history, and a tutor for the WEA (Workers Educational Association) for over 20 years teaching a wide range of subjects from volcanology to Islamic architecture.

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