A stagecoach is a type of covered wagon used to carry passengers and goods inside. It is strongly sprung and generally drawn by four horses, usually four-in-hand, widely used before the introduction of railway transport, it made regular trips between stages or stations, which were places of rest provided for stagecoach travelers. The business of running stagecoaches or the act of journeying in them was known as staging, the yard of ale drinking glass is associated by legend with stagecoach drivers, though it was mainly used for drinking feats and special toasts. The stagecoach was a vehicle pulled by horses or mules. The primary requirement was that it was used as a conveyance, running on an established route. Vehicles that were used included buckboards and dead axle wagons, surplus Army ambulances, on the outside were two back seats facing one another, which the British called baskets. In addition to the driver who guided the vehicle, a shotgun messenger, armed with a coach gun. The stagecoach traveled at an speed of about five miles per hour. The term stage originally referred to the distance between stations on a route, the coach traveling the route in stages, but through metonymy it came to apply to the coach. A fresh set of horses would be staged at the next station, under this staging system, the resting, watering and feeding of the spent horses would not delay the coach. This system based on making fresh horses regularly available along a route had been in use by a number of different civilisations, the stagecoach was also called a stage or stage carriage. Varieties included, mail coach or post coach, used for carrying mail, mud coach, lighter and smaller, with flat sides and simpler joinery. Road coach, revived in Great Britain and Ireland during the half of the 19th century. The first crude depiction of a coach, not necessarily a stagecoach, was in an English manuscript from the 13th century, crude coaches were built from the 16th century. Without suspension, these coaches achieved very low speeds on the poor quality rutted roads of the time, by the mid 17th century, a basic stagecoach infrastructure had been put in place. The first stagecoach route started in 1610 and ran from Edinburgh to Leith and this was followed by a steady proliferation of other routes around the country. A string of coaching inns operated as stopping points for travellers on the route between London and Liverpool by the mid 17th century, the coach would depart every Monday and Thursday and took roughly ten days to make the journey during the summer months. They also became adopted for travel in and around London by mid-century
Coach Stop on the Place de Passy, and change of horses, by Edmond Georges Grandjean
Behind time, anonymous engraving of a stagecoach in England
A carriage (not a stagecoach) is pulled away from Hyde Park Gate in London which was erected by the Kensington Turnpike Trust. These trusts helped to stimulate a sustained period of road improvement in the 18th century.