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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Speed Kings!

Congratulations to Jenson Button on becoming F1 world champion! A well deserved achievement. Of course in Regency days, racing carriages called ‘highflyers’ (phaetons)) were the 'Formula One cars’ of their time. Young bucks regularly raced each other down the public highways to show off their skill with the reins or ‘ribbons’ and emulate their heroes, the mail coach drivers. Timetables on the mail runs were strict; passengers barely had time to eat when the coach stopped to change horses. Lives were endangered by the drivers trying to race each other; a man was killed when the Chester mail deliberately turned his coach in front of the Holyhead mail in April 1819. The Chester mail was involved in another fatal crash in 1822. You can find out more about the golden age of coaching in Regency Cheshire.

Image: ‘Stop, Coachman! I have lost my hat and wig!’ Engraving for The Chace, The Turf and the Road, John Murray, 1843.

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