Tuesday, May 31, 2011

High speed travel in 1801

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Loretta reports:

As often happens, while looking for something else, I made an unexpected discovery.  Since I’m not a sports aficionado, I’d never expected to find early 19th century sporting magazines terribly useful or interesting, and certainly not entertaining.  I was wrong.  Yes, they’re filled with reports of sporting events (races are covered at length and in detail), as you’d expect.  But the writing tends to be crisp and direct, and they offer funny little stories, dumb jokes, gossip, and wonderful insights into the male world of the era.

CAPTAIN Newland, of the Sussex Militia, having betted a considerable sum that he would ride one hundred and forty miles in twelve successive hours, he started on Long-down Hill, on Thursday morning, April the 2d, and handsomely performed the distance in seven hours and thirty-four minutes, (principally on hack-horses from the Swan at Chichester) to the astonishment of a very great assemblage of sporting Gentlemen.

The 1st hour he rode 21-1/3 Miles.
2d       -       18
3d       -       20
4th       -      18
5th       -      20
6th       -      16-1/2
7th       -      17-1/2
34 minutes   -   8-1/2
                     - 140
N. B. He rode the hundred miles in five hours and five minutes, in which he met with a fall, was once obliged to change his horse, as he became restive, and was once run away with a considerable distance out of the course.—The posts were placed on the admeasured line of the two miles, and he went very considerably without them, so that he certainly went a much greater distance than one hundred and forty miles; which is looked on as a most extraordinary performance.
The Sporting Magazine, Volume 18, 1801

Illustration:  Horses & Riders, from Henry Alken scrapbook, 1821, courtesy Ancestry Images


Anonymous said...

The Sporting Magazine has many anecdotes as well as some interestinga rticles. I was amused ti see that it also had a poetry section. It seems many magazines had a poetry section. NOt all the poetry was the kind to last but they did include some in every issue.
I was also amazed to discover how many race tracks and races there were from about April to October. The ones who followed the races could do so for three -fourths of the year.
They had races where the gentlemen could ride against each other sometims.

Anonymous said...

A great post as usual. You do find the most wonderful things.
I just hope that no author thinks that such feats of speed were common. I think this was run over a two mile length of road which he travelled back and forth repeatedly. It needed frequent change of horses. good advertisekent for the place that supplied the horses.

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to know the total number of horses used! Given that he averaged about 3.5 minutes per mile -- :)

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