Passengers: Life in Britain During the Stagecoach Era

Author(s): James Hobson

ISBN: 9781781558225
£16.80 £24.00
Stagecoach travel during the Napoleonic War, the era of Austen and Dickens, and the early years of Queen Victoria; it covers travel, hospitality and roads and many other aspects of British life from 1790 to 1840.

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  • For the general interest reader and the expert – the two narratives (social history/transport) are told through famous personalities, biographies, ordinary people, famous events, newspapers, etc.

  • An outward looking history of the stagecoach also touches on social attitudes, class antagonism, charity, food and drink, health, etc.

  • There is scope for a book such as this – it has been done much less than the railways, and there us an interest in transport history as a specialized topic

  • Assiduously researched, rich in detail and lavishly illustrated

Passengers: Life in Britain During the Stagecoach Era
is a social history of the country between 1790 and 1840. This is a period of the Napoleonic War and of rapid technological change and social tension. It was a contradictory age, simultaneously the elegant era of Jane Austen and the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ work on poverty and injustice.

This absorbing and thoroughly researched book has an initial focus on transport and hospitality, but it is also a wider portrait of this important but neglected period of British history. James Hobson covers all aspects of the period: work, law, technology, finance, politics, poverty and crime are the most prominent.

The inn and the stagecoach were some of the few places that the different classes met and co-existed in a country that was stratified and deferential. The poor served the transport and hospitality system, the middle classes used it and the ruling classes profited from it.

The life of women is an important part of this book; they worked at levels in the travel and hospitality industries. This is everybody’s story, an exposition of real places and real people in a society that was ‘on the move’ in all senses of the phrase.

BOOK ISBN 9781781558225
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 196 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 18 colour illustrations



James Hobson studied History at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He developed an interest in the Georgian and Victorian eras after retiring from twenty-five years teaching in British secondary schools. He enjoys discussions and debates about history on social media and writes/gives talks, mostly about the ordinary people of his specialist period. He is a volunteer at a local living history museum, stewarding historic houses, talking about history to visitors, contributing to the educational service and runs a successful blog, ‘about1816’.