Archive for the ‘Victorian Era’ Category


Young Master Corriveau with goat sleigh.Photo courtesy of McCord Museum. Notman photo.

As horseman, horsewomen and history lovers, we owe famous Canadian photographer William Notman a debt of gratitude. Through his camera lens for 78 years, Notman captured the people, places and activities of Canada including the magic of Montreal winters. These treasures demonstrate that, far from loathing this long season, Montrealers of a century ago embraced it wholeheartedly…especially those who enjoyed sleighing in any form. (more…)


Read Full Post »

The recent Royal Wedding gave us a glimpse at some of the beautiful, ornate and priceless carriages that are housed in The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace in London and that are used for special occasions by members of The Royal Family and others.

With that in mind, I decided to dive a little deeper into transportation, driving, carriages and coaches in the Victorian Era which was from 20 June 1837 until the death of Queen Victoria  on 22 January 1901.

Transport for The Masses

Transport For the Masses.

In 1829, English coachbuilder George Shillibeer launched London’s first ‘hail and ride’ bus service. From 1870, horse-drawn trams on rails challenged the supremacy of the horse bus. Trams ran earlier in the morning and were cheaper than buses, giving working-class Londoners access to affordable public transport. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Horses and Coach Proves Faster Than Modern Methods!!

In the 1700’s the delivery of mail took weeks or months, if at all. A man or delivery child on a pony or with a cart and horse was expected to take and deliver the mail along roads and paths that were often no better than sheep paths. Enter a Bath theatre owner named John Palmer who decided to do something about the slow service. On the 2nd of August in 1784, the residents of Bristol cheered as the inaugural mail coach thundered down the narrow main street on its way to London. Needless to say the service was a huge success and before long set routes and timetables were put into place. Mail coaches abounded with names like Red Rover, Sporting Times, Tally Ho and their destinations like London, Guilford and Oxford were brightly painted on the doors. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty

When Queen Victoria came to the throne in England in 1837, industrialization was taking hold and more and more young men and women left their farms to make a living working in factories and manufacturing companies. Cotton factories allowed Britain to produce more than half the world’s supply of cotton and coal mining around Newcastle was expanding to meet demand. Railways were booming and goods were moved to shipping ports which also gave ship building a boost. However while advances in manufacturing, medicine and education saw many leaving life on the farms in the country, life for the masses was certainly not easy. Life for animals was no better and a horse was viewed as a beast of burden to be worked till natural death, disease or exhaustion claimed it. (more…)

Read Full Post »