IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The development of stage coaching and the impact of turnpike roads, 1653–1840


  • Dorian Gerhold


type="main"> This article uses newspaper advertisements to chart the changes in speeds and fares of stage coaches, identifying the main periods of increasing speeds among London coaches as the 1760s–80s and 1810s–20s, separated by a period when speeds declined. It then measures productivity growth. Fares of London coaches in 1835–6 were about 27 per cent of what they would have been but for improvements in horses, vehicles, and roads from 1750, and the two main periods of productivity growth correspond to those of rising speeds. Speeds and productivity of regional coaches increased more smoothly. The rising productivity firmly identifies road transport as one of the modernizing sectors of the economy. New figures are put forward for the growing number of London and regional coaches, indicating rapid growth in passenger miles. While turnpike trusts had little impact before the 1750s, their increasing effectiveness, together with the use of steel springs and improved horses, was crucial to the rising productivity of the 1760s–80s, and even more so to that of the 1810s–20s. The cross roads were apparently poorer than London roads in the late eighteenth century, but thereafter the gap narrowed.

Suggested Citation

  • Dorian Gerhold, 2014. "The development of stage coaching and the impact of turnpike roads, 1653–1840," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 818-845, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:67:y:2014:i:3:p:818-845

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dorian Gerhold, 1996. "Productivity change in road transport before and after turnpiking, 1690-1840," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 49(3), pages 491-515, August.
    2. Dorian Gerhold, 1988. "The growth of the London carrying trade, 1681-1838," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 41(3), pages 392-410, August.
    3. J. A. Chartres, 1977. "Road Carrying in England in the Seventeenth Century: Myth and Reality," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 30(1), pages 73-94, February.
    4. Leunig, Timothy, 2006. "Time is Money: A Re-Assessment of the Passenger Social Savings from Victorian British Railways," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 635-673, September.
    5. R. G. Wilson, 1966. "Transport Dues as Indices of Economic Growth, 1775—1820," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 19(1), pages 110-123, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Vincent Geloso, 2015. "Deirdre Mccloskey, Kirznerian Growth and The Role of Social Networks," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 453-463, October.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:67:y:2014:i:3:p:818-845. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.