Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the (coaching) road again

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Loretta reports:

Since a large section of Last Night’s Scandal is a “road book,” you might want to follow the journey using the same guide Olivia does.  Paterson’s Roads lists the coaching roads, distances, and towns en route.

It marks the main coaching stops and the turnpike/toll gates as well as including descriptions of notable houses and sights along the way.  It’s fascinating (at least to Nerdy History Girls & Boys), but not easy to follow.

What with alternative routes and cross roads, etc., not to mention changes in Royal Mail routes, it wanted a lot of thumbing back and forth to plot out the route from London to Edinburgh at the time of my story.  Then I had to time the journey by coordinating with info from another book, because Paterson’s doesn’t list the mail coach arrival and departure times.  I used the Royal Mail schedule as a rough way of calculating how long it would take Olivia’s carriage to get from one place to the next, depending on how much of a hurry she was in.  I ended up making a spreadsheet to keep things straight.

(You will easily imagine my feelings when a copy editor questioned my timing, and thought my characters ought to be traveling at the pace of 50 years earlier (!!!!)—long before the roads were macadamized.  But I digress, as Authors often will when the subject of copy edits arises.)

Here’s St. Leonard’s, aka the Shoreditch Church, from which the distance from London was measured.  Getting out of London in those days was very much like getting out of any large city today.  The difference was, one hadn’t as far to go.  The urban sprawl hadn’t yet sprawled even as far as the Regent’s Canal.  At right is an early map of the tollgates around town.

The first Road Incident occurs at the Falcon Inn, in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire. (lots of interesting pictures at this site).

If you want to do more sightseeing with the characters, watch this space and Loretta Chase In Other Words in coming days.


Jane O said...

I do love this stuff. Thank you so much for all the links. Isn't the Internet a wonderful tool?

Deb S. said...

GREAT links! Can't thank you enough for these!!

LynS said...

This really is neat. I love the old "TripTik" book you found. I wonder what an 19th century AAA would have been named.
As for trips from London to Edinburgh go, my daughter last summer took a train so she a bunch of American HS students could perform at the Fringe. They passed a neat castle/abbey on the edge of the North Sea and she can't remember the name the guide said. I wish she had this little booklet so we could find it.
Thank you for all the tidbits.

Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

These ARE fantastic links, and they're especially fascinating if you're reading about "Last Night's Scandal", and following the coach journey that Lisle and Olivia take. Kind of like the "special extras" that come with a movie on DVD. *g*

Each day it seems there's another amazing new primary source that's been put on-line. It's one of the reasons Loretta and I began this blog: we keep finding these things, and we're so blown away that we HAVE to share them.

KuriosityKat said...

I am about 3/4 of the way through LAST NIGHTS SCANDAL and I am totally loving it!!!! This blog and these maps are helping me to see exactly where Lile and Olivia have gone. Now how about pictures of them? Do you have some? Like I said, love, love, loving this book.

nightsmusic said...

And once again, I'm a few days late, but this post is invaluable! I have some travel in my books (though by landau and it's family owned) and I've agonized over it, trying to measure miles, days...this is perfect!

Christina E. Pilz said...

During my search for coaching inns and coaching roads, I was so happy to stumble upon this post - your information about Paterson's Roads was full of good specific information, and also led me to the Charles Harper series on the classic coaching highways. I can't tell you how long I've been poking around for this type of research; I like to have a lot of facts and realistic texture in my writing - can't have the lads stopping at an imaginary inn when there are real ones so handy!

Thank you again!


Christina E. Pilz

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