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Thursday, 5 February 2009

True Grit

It was snowing hard when I got up this morning, although it’s beginning to ease off now. Like many other people, I suspect, I find it strange that so many schools have been closed this week – I remember trudging through the snow to get to school when I was a kid.

In earlier times, people just got on with their lives, unless they physically couldn’t get out of their door because the snow was so high. The mail-coaches kept going even if snow was up to their horses’ bellies. There were reports of mail-guards and passengers riding outside the coaches freezing to death in severe weather. One of the bleakest nights on record during Georgian times was that of Friday 8 November 1799. Many mail-coaches got stuck in the snow. The mail guards had to leave their coaches behind and take the postbags on horseback to their destination.

Images: 'Taking up the mails,' and 'In a Snowdrift.' Hugh Thomson, Coaching Days and Coaching Ways, (Macmillan, 1910.)

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