THE AGE OF THE STAGE COACHES
The early modern era saw the emergence of Stage Coaches as the fashionable and fastest way to travel – even the Royal Mail was transported by stagecoach! By the year 1800, stagecoach services from all over the west and southwest of England converged on Hounslow on their way to London.
Every day 500-stage coaches changed four tired horses for four fresh horses in Hounslow. Mr Chaplin owned many coaching inns in London and owned a large stable at Hounslow. The Royal Mail coach would set out from Mr Chaplin’s inn The Swan with Two Necks and its first stop on the journey west would be Chaplin’s stable next to the Kings Head Inn at Hounslow. Hounslow was the busiest small town in the country. While the coaches changed their horses the inns served their passengers with fast food and something to drink. The passengers had to be quick...a change of horses could be done in just a few minutes by a well-trained team of grooms and the Royal Mail coaches prided themselves on keeping to a fast schedule – they wouldn’t wait for anybody!