The coaching inn was a vital part of Europe's inland transport infrastructure until the development of the railway, providing a resting point for people and horses. The inn served the needs of travellers, for food and rest; the attached stables, staffed by hostlers, cared for the horses, including changing a tired team for a fresh one. Coaching inns were used by private travellers in their coaches, the public riding stagecoaches between one town and another, the mail coach. Just as with roadhouses in other countries, although many survive, some still offer overnight accommodation, in general coaching inns have lost their original function and now operate as ordinary pubs. Coaching inns stabled teams of horses for stagecoaches and mail coaches and replaced tired teams with fresh teams. Traditionally they were seven miles apart but this depended much on the terrain; some English towns had as many as ten such inns and rivalry between them was intense, not only for the income from the stagecoach operators but for the revenue for food and drink supplied to the passengers.
Barnet, Hertfordshire still has an unusually high number of historic pubs along its high street due to its former position on the Great North Road from London to the North of England. There were many coaching inns in; the only remaining one with the galleries to the bedrooms above is The George Inn, owned by the National Trust and still run as a pub. Many have been demolished and plaques mark their location; the Nomura building close to the Museum of London on London Wall commemorates the "Bull and Mouth" Inn. Historic inns in Oxford include The Bear the Lamb & Flag; those in Wales include the Groes Inn. The Black Lion in Cardigan is the oldest Welsh coaching inn. A pair of coaching inns alongside the former A5 road or the old Roman road Watling Street in Stony Stratford, named respectively'The Cock' and'The Bull', are said to have given rise to the term "cock and bull stories." Coaches or the Mail coach would stop in the town on their way from London to the North and many a traveller's tall tale would be further embellished as it passed between the two hostelries, fuelled by ale and an interested audience.
Hence any suspiciously elaborate tale would become a bull story. This is a bull story in itself, however; the phrase, first recorded in 1621, may instead be an allusion to Aesop's fables, with their incredible talking animals. As this predates coaching inns, the names of the two inns could have been a reference to "Cock and Bull stories" as to encourage the passing of such anecdotes within their doors. Coaching Era, The: Stage and Mail Coach Travel in and Around Bath and Somerset, Roy Gallop, Fiducia, ISBN 1-85026-019-2 Coaching inns. By Anne Woodley. Stagecoaches and Coaching Inns. Cottontown. Photos of examples of what may be considered coaching inns in geograph.org.uk
Grand Union Canal
The Grand Union Canal in England is part of the British canal system. Its main line ends in Birmingham, stretching for 137 miles with 166 locks, it has arms to places including Leicester, Aylesbury and Northampton. The Grand Union Canal was the original name for part of what is now part of the Leicester Line of the modern Grand Union: this latter is now referred to as the Old Grand Union Canal to avoid ambiguity. With competition from the railways having taken a large share of traffic in the second half of the 19th century, improvements in roads and vehicle technology in the early part of the 20th century meant that the lorry was becoming a threat to the canals. Tolls had been reduced to compete with the railways, but there was little scope for further reduction; the Regent's Canal and the Grand Junction Canal agreed that amalgamation and modernisation were the only way to remain competitive. The Grand Union Canal in its current form came into being on 1 January 1929, was further extended in 1932.
It was formed from the amalgamation of several different canals, at 286.3 miles, is by far the longest merged canal in the UK, whilst the Leeds & Liverpool Canal for being 127 miles and having parts of the now-extinct southern end of the Lancaster Canal, is considered the longest single Canal in the UK: London areaRegent's Canal – original company Hertford Union Canal – bought by the Regent's Canal in 1857Main LineWarwick and Napton Canal – bought by the Regent's Canal in 1927 Warwick and Birmingham Canal – bought by the Regent's Canal in 1927 Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal – bought by the Regent's Canal in 1927 Grand Junction Canal – bought by the Regent's Canal in 1927Leicester LineOld Grand Union Canal – bought by the Grand Junction in 1894 Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal – bought by the Grand Junction in 1894 Leicester Navigation – bought by the Grand Union in 1932 Loughborough Navigation – bought by the Grand Union in 1932 Erewash Canal – bought by the Grand Union in 1932A 5-mile section of the Oxford Canal forms the main line of the Grand Union between Braunston and Napton.
Although the Grand Union intended to buy the Oxford Canal and Coventry Canal, this did not take place. The section of the main line between Brentford and Braunston, was built as a'wide' or'broad' canal – that is, its locks were wide enough to accommodate two narrowboats abreast or a single wide barge up to 14 feet in beam. However, the onward sections from Braunston to Birmingham had been built as'narrow' canals – that is, the locks could accommodate only a single narrowboat. An Act of Parliament of 1931 was passed authorising a key part of the modernisation scheme of the Grand Union, supported by Government grants; the narrow locks between Napton and Camp Hill Top Lock in Birmingham were rebuilt to take widebeam boats or barges up to 12 feet 6 inches in beam, or two narrowboats. The canal was dredged and bank improvements carried out: the depth was increased to 5 feet 6 inches to allow heavier cargoes, the minimum width increased to 26 feet to enable two boats of 12 feet 6 inches to pass. Lock works were completed in 1934 when the Duke of Kent opened the new broad locks at Hatton, other improvements finished by 1937.
However, these improvements to depth and width were never carried out between London. Camp Hill Locks in Birmingham were not widened, as it would have been expensive and of little point, since they lead only to further flights of locks not in the ownership of the Grand Union. A new basin and warehouse were constructed above Camp Hill, to deal with this. Although the Grand Union company had a number of broad boats built to take advantage of the improvements, they never caught on and the canal continued to be operated by pairs of narrow boats, whose journeys were facilitated by the newly widened locks in which they could breast up; the three sections between Norton junction and the River Trent are mixed in size. From Norton to Foxton, the route is a narrow canal. From below Foxton to Leicester it is a wide canal. From Leicester to the Trent, the route is the River Soar and the locks and bridges are wide. Another Act of 1931 authorised the widening of the locks at Watford and Foxton, but with Government grants for this section not forthcoming, the work was not carried out.
The Grand Union Canal was nationalised in 1948, control transferring to the British Transport Commission, in 1962 to the British Waterways Board British Waterways. Commercial traffic continued to decline ceasing in the 1970s, though lime juice was carried from Brentford to Boxmoor until 1981, aggregates on the River Soar until 1996. However, leisure traffic took over, the canal is now as busy as it was, with leisure boating complemented by fishing, towpath walking and gongoozling. More freight traffic has returned with the carriage of aggregates from Denham to West Drayton in barges and narrow boats, the opening of a new wharf for re-cyclables and aggregates at Old Oak Common. One end of the Grand Union Canal is at Brentford on the River Thames in west London, where the canal follows the engineered course of the Brent; the double Thames Lock at Brentford separates the Tideway administered by the Port of London Authority from the River Brent/Grand Union Canal, administered by the Canal & River Trust.
The locks on the canal are numbered: numbered consecutively south of its turn-off for Leicester, Braunston Junction. Thames Lock i
Northampton is the county town of Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England. It lies on the River Nene, about 67 miles north-west of London and 54 miles south-east of Birmingham, it is one of the largest towns in the UK. Northampton had a population of 212,100 in the 2011 census. Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age and Anglo-Saxon periods. During the Middle Ages, the town rose to national significance with the establishment of Northampton Castle, an occasional royal residence and hosted the Parliament of England. Medieval Northampton had many churches and the University of Northampton, which were all enclosed by the town walls, it was granted its first town charter by King Richard I in 1189 and its first mayor was appointed by King John in 1215. The town is the site of two medieval battles. Northampton's royal connection languished in the modern period; the town suffered the Great Fire of Northampton which destroyed most of the town. It was soon rebuilt and grew with the industrial development of the 18th century.
Northampton continued to grow following the creation of the Grand Union Canal and the arrival of the railways in the 19th century, becoming an industrial centre for footwear and leather manufacture. After the World Wars, Northampton's growth was limited until it was designated as a New Town in 1968, accelerating development in the town. Northampton unsuccessfully applied for unitary status in 1996 and city status in 2000. According to Centre for Cities data in 2015, Northampton had a population growth of 11% between the years 2004 and 2013, one of the ten highest in the UK; the earliest reference to Northampton in writing occurred in 914 under the name Ham tune meaning "home town". The prefix "North" was added to distinguish it from other towns called Hampton, most prominently Southampton; the Domesday Book records the town as Northantone, which evolved into Norhamptone by the 13th century and Northampton by the 17th century. Present-day Northampton is the latest in a series of settlements. Remains found in the Briar Hill district show evidence of a Neolithic encampment within a large circular earthwork where local farmers assembled for tribal ceremonies and seasonal events from 3500 BC to 2000 BC.
During the British Iron Age, people lived in protected hill forts. Present-day Hunsbury Hill is an example of this settlement. In the Roman period, a small rural settlement is thought to have existed in the present-day district of Duston. Following Danish invasion, the central area of the town was turned into a stronghold called a burh and became the base for one of the Danish armies in 850. A ditch was dug around the settlement and it was fortified with earth ramparts. Having conquered Mercia, the Danes turned the settlement into a centre for military and administrative purposes, part of the Danelaw. In the 9th century Regenhere of Northampton an East Anglian Saint with localised veneration was buried in Northampton. By 918, Northampton had an earl and an army dependent upon it, whose territory extended to the River Welland; the settlement was recovered by Edward the Elder the same year, turning it into the centre of one of the new shires, which prospered as a river port and trading centre. In 940, it resisted the invading forces of Danish opposition in Northumbria, but was burnt in 1010 by a Danish army, again in 1065 by the rebellious northern earls Edwin and Morcar.
Despite this, the Domesday Book records Northantone as possessing 316 houses with a population of 2000 people, ranking between Warwick and Leicester in size. With the Norman conquest of England, the town rose to national significance: its geographical location in the centre of England made Northampton a valuable strategical point for government and as a convenient meeting place for political, social and military events. Northampton Castle is thought to have been built by Simon de Senlis, who became the first Earl of Northampton, circa 1084, it was an earth and timber stockaded construction, rebuilt in stone. The castle became an occasional royal residence from the reign of King Henry I in 1130 until that of King Richard II. King John stayed at the castle and moved The Treasury there in 1205; some 32 Parliaments, were held there. The last Parliament at Northampton was held in 1380. Significant events in the castle's history include the trial of Thomas Becket in 1164, the publication of the Assize of Northampton in 1176, the declaration of peace with Scotland in the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton, the passage of the Statute of Northampton in 1328 and the imposition of poll tax in 1380.
Royal tournaments and feasts were held at the castle. Simon de Senlis is thought to have built the medieval town walls, which enclosed about 245 acres and had four main gates. Though demolished now, the circular pattern of the main roads surrounding the town centre marks the original position of the walls. De Senlis founded the Cluniac Priory of St Andrew's—where St Andrew's Hospital now stands—and built The Church of the Holy Sepulchre—one of four remaining round churches in England—and All Hallows Church on the current site of All Saint's Church, his son
West Midlands (region)
The West Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It covers the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands, it contains Birmingham and the larger West Midlands conurbation, the third most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Coventry is located within the West Midlands county, but is separated from the conurbation to the west by several miles of green belt; the region contains 6 shire counties which stretch from the Welsh Border to the East Midlands. The region is geographically diverse, from the urban central areas of the conurbation to the rural western counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire which border Wales; the longest river in the UK, the River Severn, traverses the region southeastwards, flowing through the county towns of Shrewsbury and Worcester, the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Staffordshire is home to the industrialised Potteries conurbation, including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the Staffordshire Moorlands area, which borders the southeastern Peak District National Park near Leek.
The region encompasses five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills, Cannock Chase, Malvern Hills, parts of the Cotswolds. Warwickshire is home to the towns of Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of writer William Shakespeare, the birthplace of Rugby football and Nuneaton, birthplace to author George Eliot; the official region contains the ceremonial counties of Herefordshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. There is some confusion in the use of the term "West Midlands", as the name is used for the much smaller West Midlands county and conurbation, in the central belt of the Midlands and on the eastern side of the West Midlands Region, it is still used by various organisations within that area, such as West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service. The highest point in the region is Black Mountain, at 703 metres in west Herefordshire on the border with Powys, Wales; the region contains five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hills and Cannock Chase, parts of the Wye Valley and Cotswolds.
The Peak District national park stretches into the northern corner of Staffordshire. Served by many lines in the urban areas such as the West Coast Main Line and branches; the Welsh Marches Line and the Cotswold Line transect the region as well as the Cross Country Route and Chiltern Line. There are plans to reopen the Honeybourne Line. Numerous notable roads pass with most converging around the central conurbation; the M5, which connects South West England to the region, passes through Worcestershire, near to Worcester, through the West Midlands county, past West Bromwich, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M6 just south of Walsall. The M6, which has its southern terminus just outside the southeast of the region at its junction with the M1, which connects the region to North West England, passes Rugby and Nuneaton in Warwickshire and Birmingham, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire; the M6 toll provides an alternative route to the M6 between Coleshill and Cannock, passing north of Sutton Coldfield and just south of Lichfield.
The M40 connects the region through South East England to London, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M42. The M42 connects the M5 at Bromsgrove, passing around the south and east of Birmingham, joining the M40 and M6, passing Solihull and Castle Bromwich, to Tamworth, northeast of Birmingham; the M50 connects the M5 from near Tewkesbury to Ross-on-Wye in the southwest. The M54 connects Wellington in the west, to the M6 near Cannock; the A5 road traverses the region northwest-southeast, passing through Shrewsbury, Cannock and Nuneaton. The longest elevated road viaduct in the UK is the 3 miles section from Gravelly Hill to Castle Bromwich on the M6, opened on 24 May 1972; the section of the A45 in Coventry from Willenhall to Allesley in 1939 was one of the UK's first large planned road schemes. Princes Square in Wolverhampton had Britain's first automatic traffic lights on 5 November 1927. On 13 January 2012, 34-year-old Ben Westwood of Wednesfield, was caught by the police, when speeding at 180 mph, in an Audi RS5 with a Lamborghini engine, from Wolverhampton up to Stafford on the M6, back again.
He was travelling so fast that he was outpacing the Central Counties Air Operations Unit Eurocopter helicopter. He and the vehicle had been in fifteen smash and grab raids and he was jailed for nine years at Wolverhampton Crown Court in August 2012; as part of the transport planning system, the Regional Assembly is under statutory requirement to produce a regional transport strategy to provide long term planning for transport in the region. This involves region wide transport schemes such as those carried out by Highways England and Network Rail. Within the region, the local transport authorities carry out transport planning through the use of a local transport plan which outlines their strategies and implementation programme; the most recent LTP is that for the period 2006–11. In the West Midlands region, the following transport authorities have published their LTP online: Herefordshire, Shropshire U. A. Staffordshire and Wrekin U. A. Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire; the transport authority of Stoke-on-Trent U.
A. publishes a joint local transport plan in partnership with
A5 road (Great Britain)
The A5 London Holyhead Trunk Road is a major road in England and Wales. It runs for about 275 miles from London to the Irish Sea at the ferry port of Holyhead which handles more than 2 million passengers each year. In many parts the route follows that of the Roman Iter II route which took the Anglo-Saxon name Watling Street; the section of the A5 between London and Shrewsbury is contiguous with one of the principal Roman roads in Britain: that between Londinium and Deva, which diverges from the present-day A5 corridor at Wroxeter near Shrewsbury. The Act of Union 1800, which unified Great Britain and Ireland, gave rise to a need to improve communication links between London and Dublin. A Parliamentary committee led to an Act of Parliament of 1815 that authorised the purchase of existing turnpike road interests and, where necessary, the construction of new road, to complete the route between the two capitals; this made it the first major civilian state-funded road building project in Britain since Roman times.
Responsibility for establishing the new route was awarded to Thomas Telford. Through England, the road took over existing turnpike roads and following the route of the Anglo-Saxon Wæcelinga Stræt, much of, the Roman road Iter II; however between Weedon and Oakengates, Telford's Holyhead Road eschews the Watling Street corridor, picking up instead the major cities of Coventry and Wolverhampton. From Shrewsbury and through Wales, Telford's work was more extensive. In places he followed existing roads, but he built new links, including the Menai Suspension Bridge to connect the mainland with Anglesey and the Stanley Embankment to Holy Island. Telford's road was complete with the opening of the Menai Suspension Bridge in 1826; the road was designed to allow stagecoaches and the Mail coach to carry post between London and Holyhead, thence by mailboat to Ireland. Therefore, throughout its length the gradient never exceeds 1:17; the route through Wales retains many of the original features of Telford's road and has, since 1995, been recognised as a historic route worthy of preservation.
An 18-month survey by CADW in 1998-2000 revealed that about 40% of the original road and its ancillary features survives under the modern A5, much more than thought. These features include the following: many surviving and distinctive toll houses'depots' along the route, being roadside alcoves to store grit and materials distinctive milestones at each mile - many originals having survived and been restored, others now replaced by replicas distinctive gates in a'sunburst' design, a few of which have survived a weighbridge at Lon Isaf, between Bangor and Bethesda In 1997, a section of bends on Telford's road between Tŷ Nant and Dinmael was by-passed by a modern cutting. However, investigation in 2006 revealed that the rock face in the cutting had become unstable, the A5 was closed from the end of May 2006. Traffic was diverted onto the old A5 route, on a 0.5-mile stretch known as the Glyn Bends, while the rock face was made safe. This involved the removal of 230,000 tonnes of rock and alluvial deposits.
In July 2007, the A5 through the reconstructed cutting was reopened. Starting at Marble Arch in London, the A5 runs northwest on the Edgware Road through Kilburn and Cricklewood; the A5 number disappears at the A41 near Edgware but the original road continues as the A5183 through Elstree, Radlett, St Albans and Dunstable. A few miles north of Dunstable, the A5 regains its identity at the M1 motorway junction 11A, rejoining the old Roman Road and passing through Hockliffe before becoming a dual carriageway as it approaches Milton Keynes. On entering the Milton Keynes urban area, the road becomes a grade-separated dual carriageway and passes through Milton Keynes; this stretch was opened in 1980. From just north of Milton Keynes, the road resumes as a single carriageway that continues through Towcester where it crosses the A43 dual carriageway just north of the town; the road accompanies the M1 motorway through the Watford Gap. It bridges the M45 motorway and continues to Kilsby; as it passes close to Rugby, the road is diverted around the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal and passes the remains of the Rugby Radio Station.
The next phase north-west-bound takes it under the M6 passing close to Lutterworth. Along this stretch, the road alternates between being a single and a dual carriageway. After meeting the M69 motorway at a roundabout, with the motorway passing above, the A5 runs through Hinckley. After Hinckley, the road runs through the northern fringes of Nuneaton and Tamworth. At Tamworth, the road follows a more recent dual carriageway bypass, permitting the original alignment to become a local road in the town. From this point the road is a grade separated dual carriageway up until its junction with the A38 and M6 toll. After this junction it passes just to the south of Cannock and enters Telford, where it loses its identity and route-shares with the M54 motorway from junction 5. At junction 7 the motorway ends and the A5 continues to Shrewsbury as dual carriageway, on its new alignment.. Continuing from the end of the M54, the route runs around Shrewsbury as the town's southern bypass, combining for a stretch with the A49.
(The route once ra
A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public coach used to carry paying passengers and light packages on journeys long enough to need a change of horses. It is sprung and drawn by four horses. Used before steam-powered rail transport was available a stagecoach made long scheduled trips using stage stations or posts where the stagecoach's horses would be replaced by fresh horses; the business of running stagecoaches or the act of journeying in them was known as staging. Familiar images of the stagecoach are that of a Royal Mail coach passing through a turnpike gate, a Dickensian passenger coach covered in snow pulling up at a coaching inn, a highwayman demanding a coach to "stand and deliver"; the yard of ale drinking glass is associated by legend with stagecoach drivers, though it was used for drinking feats and special toasts. The stagecoach was a closed four-wheeled vehicle drawn by hard-going mules, it was used as a public conveyance on an established route to a regular schedule. Spent horses were replaced with fresh horses at posts, or relays.
A simplified and lightened form of stagecoach, known as a stage wagon, mud-coach, or mud-wagon, was used in the United States under difficult conditions. These were the vehicles. In addition to the stage driver or coachman who guided the vehicle, a shotgun messenger armed with a coach gun might travel as a guard beside him. A stagecoach traveled at an average speed of about 5 miles per hour, with the average daily mileage covered being around 60 to 70 miles.'Stage' referred to the distance between stage stations on a route but through metonymy it came to be applied to the stagecoach. The first crude depiction of a coach was in an English manuscript from the 13th century; the first recorded stagecoach route ran from Edinburgh to Leith. This was followed by a steady proliferation of other routes around the island. By the mid 17th century, a basic stagecoach infrastructure had been put in place. A string of coaching inns operated as stopping points for travellers on the route between London and Liverpool.
The stagecoach would depart every Monday and Thursday and took ten days to make the journey during the summer months. Stagecoaches became adopted for travel in and around London by mid-century and travelled at a few miles per hour. Shakespeare's first plays were performed at coaching inns such as Southwark. By the end of the 17th century stagecoach routes ran down the three main roads in England; the London-York route was advertised in 1698: Whoever is desirous of going between London and York or York and London, Let them Repair to the Black Swan in Holboorn, or the Black Swan in Coney Street, where they will be conveyed in a Stage Coach, which starts every Thursday at Five in the morning. The novelty of this method of transport excited much controversy at the time. One pamphleteer denounced the stagecoach as a "great evil mischievous to trade and destructive to the public health." Another writer, argued that: Besides the excellent arrangement of conveying men and letters on horseback, there is of late such an admirable commodiousness, both for men and women, to travel from London to the principal towns in the country, that the like hath not been known in the world, and, by stage-coaches, wherein any one may be transported to any place, sheltered from foul weather and foul ways.
The speed of travel remained constant until the mid-18th century. Reforms of the turnpike trusts, new methods of road building and the improved construction of coaches led to a sustained rise in the comfort and speed of the average journey - from an average journey length of 2 days for the Cambridge-London route in 1750 to a length of under 7 hours in 1820. Robert Hooke helped in the construction of some of the first spring-suspended coaches in the 1660s and spoked wheels with iron rim brakes were introduced, improving the characteristics of the coach. In 1754, a Manchester-based company began a new service called the "Flying Coach", it was advertised with the following announcement - "However incredible it may appear, this coach will arrive in London in four days and a half after leaving Manchester." A similar service was begun from Liverpool three years using coaches with steel spring suspension. This coach took an unprecedented three days to reach London with an average speed of eight miles per hour.
More dramatic improvements were made by John Palmer at the British Post Office. The postal delivery service in Britain had existed in the same form for about 150 years—from its introduction in 1635, mounted carriers had ridden between "posts" where the postmaster would remove the letters for the local area before handing the remaining letters and any additions to the next rider; the riders were frequent targets for robbers, the system was inefficient. Palmer made much use of the "flying" stagecoach services between cities in the course of his business, noted that it seemed far more efficient than the system of mail delivery in operation, his travel from Bath to London took a single day to the mail's three days. It occurred to him that this stagecoach service could be developed into a national mail delivery service, so in 1782 he suggested to the Post Office in London that they take up the idea, he met resistance from officials who believed that th