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Posts Tagged ‘historical’

Your letter has been written, sanded, and now you need to send it off. But during the Regency there are no envelops. They are an 1845 invention. So you had to know how to properly fold a letter before sending it. The illustration below takes you through the steps.

Regency letter folding

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Last time we looked at actually writing the letter. So what did one do before sending the missive? The next step was sanding the letter. This was done by using “pounce”, a sand made from dried and ground cuttlefish bones. Pounce was sprinkled lightly over the paper to dry the ink. Once the ink was dried (about 10 seconds), the remaining pounce was poured back into the container.

Here are some examples of pounce pots. The first image is to give you an idea of the scale of a pounce pot. As you can see, they were quite small and could be as simple or elaborate as one wished.

Pounce pot 2

Pounce potPounce pot owl

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Hackney Coaches.

If one had to get around Town and couldn’t afford to either keep a town coach or hire one for the Season, hackney coaches (or cabs) were the answer.

Hackney’s had been around since the early 17th century and an owner had to be licenses to operate the coach.

Almost all hackney started out as private town coaches that had been purchased used. They were generally pulled by a pair of horses. Many hackney owners had three horses so that they could be rotated, and so that the owner had a spare horse in the event one horse was injured or died.

By the early 19th century there were over 1000 hackney coaches operating in the London area.

By the mid-1830’s the Handsome cab was invented and began replacing the older hackney coaches.

Much has been made in modern romances of the lack of cleanliness in Hackneys. I am going to hazard a guess that the condition of the coach depended upon which part of London the owner was operating.

If you want to know more, here is an interesting article on hackneys. http://www.georgianindex.net/transportationLondon/Hackney_Coach.html

The first image is of a hackney. The second is a Handsome cab.

Hackney carriage 1

Handsome coach

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I came across this post by Geri Walton on coach building that I thought might interest you.
 
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Now that we’ve arrived wherever we were going, it’s time to put our traveling coaches away for a while and focus on local travel. For that we must have, at the very least, a town coach.

The town coach was a fully enclosed vehicle driven by a pair. It would normally have a box for the coachman, and a platform on the back for footmen. If the owner had a crest, that would be painted on the sides. I was unable to find an image for an interior, but as they were all bespoke, they could be as ornate or plain as the owner wished. Once discarded, many town coaches were used as hackneys (the Regency version of a taxi). These types of coaches were used in the country as well.

A town coach was indispensible. It carried one to balls and other evening entertainments, shopping, and to other visits. Unless she was betrothed, no unmarried young lady was allowed to travel in a town coach with a gentleman who was not a near relation or her guardian. If she was engaged, she could be alone with her betrothed. To do so would court either ruin or a quick trip to the altar.

Towncoach1

Towncoach

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Regency Trivia – Coaches
 
Traveling Coaches
 
Of all the privately owned coaches and carriages these were the largest. Bear in mind that every coach was bespoke. There are accounts of traveling coaches having seats that made in to beds, built in shelves and tables, hidden compartments, holders for hot bricks in the floor, and storage under the seats, just to name a few amenities.
 
A traveling coach was driven by a coachman and would have been powered by a team of four or six horses. If the owner made frequent trips to the same places, they’d post horses along the route in order to ensure they wouldn’t be held up waiting for replacements.
 
The body of the coach was large and enclosed. Glass windows were generally set in the doors and sides of the coach and covered with either leather or cloth shades or curtains. Velvet was a common covering for the benches and cushions, although, leather was also used.
 
Ladies or the most ranking person was seated in the forward facing seat. Gentlemen or lesser ranking persons sat in the backward facing seat. An unmarried lady could not ride alone in a coach with a gentleman who wasn’t either her guardian or a close (brother, father, uncle, grandfather) relative without courting ruin. However, a betrothed lady could ride in one alone with her betrothed for very short distances.
 
If the owner was a peer or a widow of a peer, a crest would be drawn out on the side panels, generally in gold.
Some of these photos are from coaches that were slightly later than the Regency, but the’ll give you and idea.
 
Traveling coach Duke of Northumberland
Traveling coach
coach bed
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tillburyThe Tillbury

In 1820 the carriage maker Tillbury developed a sporting vehicle by the same name. The Tillbury had no boot, making it unsuitable for carrying anything. It also had a rib-chair body. It was a popular carriage for rough roads as it was supported on seven springs. Unlike a gig, it could be driven with one horse.

If you’re a Georgette Heyer reader, you might remember that in The Grand Sophy, she take her cousin’s new Tillbury for a joy-ride.

As with the other sporting vehicles, a chaperone was not needed.

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