Perhaps I should add in here … that in the early 1800s … it would take 40 hours from London to reach … St Ives, Penzance or Carbis Bay …
|Cover image from|
Daniel Defoe's travels
In those early days of the 1800s … we’d have travelled by coach, possibly unsprung, with lots of stops at coaching inns for vittling, changing of horses. Henry VIII (early 1500s) had established a network of Posting Inns for his mail to be delivered wherever he happened to be.
There is a ‘line of posts’ in the west country – where the King’s courier could get fresh horses … Henry never made it to Penzance – but his daughter Elizabeth I would have known about the town at the time of the Spanish Armada – 1588.
The roads, or tracks more like, would have been really terrible – as we were still using those constructed by the Romans fifteen hundred years earlier. The Romans never conquered Cornwall … but spread their wings, or more pertinently milestones, into the county.
Just an interesting historical snippet in here – John Metcalf (1717 – 1810), who became Britain’s first professional road builder – emerged during the Industrial Revolution.
Believe it or not he was blind from the age of 6 … but had an eventful life, living to the ripe old age of 92 …
… at age 77 he walked from Knaresborough to York, over 17 miles, where he related his life’s work, in a detailed account, to his publisher.
We in the 20th century almost always drove … but occasionally I’d get the night sleeper from Paddington, London to Penzance.
Early on my grandparents would drive up from Carbis Bay to Exeter and meet us halfway … we’d either drive down and us kids would be shoved out to continue our journey whichever way!
Or on one occasion my brother and I were shipped (trained) off from Woking to Exeter … I was guardian! – and had a ten shilling note or two sewn into the hem of my skirt – for emergencies.
We had our tickets and fodder … the only snag being that the train was packed jammed full of sailors – so I upped (walked) us both to the first class carriage – much to the bemusement of the ticket collector. I’m not sure if I had to pay extra – anyway … it was more peaceful and in those days you were left alone.
Another time I’d been over in France with some of my mother’s first husband’s family at their huge rambling holiday house in the Pyrenees – I must have been 14 … my father came to Heathrow airport to pick me up … and as our own home was being revamped, we’d decamped for our long summer holidays to the south coast of Cornwall – rented a place … took the cats … and had a lovely time.
The problem was I ended up coming back on the August bank holiday Monday … nightmare traffic – my father, always the prescient one, had every ordinance survey map possible from Heathrow to Cornwall … and immediately said – right let’s not go on any main roads.
Well, being the good Girl Guide I was back then … we trundled our way down every nook and cranny that the maps would allow us. It took 10 hours!
We used all the backroads, including ones with grass growing in their middle – it was fun for me … my poor Dad – must have suffered bum ache!
One last bit
of nonsense … I can be so dumb at times … it had never occurred to me that our
original rail viaducts would have been made from wood … similar to the ones I
saw in Canada – but which weren’t in operation.
The particular one near where I was staying on Vancouver Island was the
Kinsol Trestle …
Kinsol Trestle - Vancouver Island
… here they
were rapidly rebuilt using stone: this one at Carbis Bay station – could be
used by travellers or ‘important people’ at the time of the G7 Summit in June.:(11th
– 13th June 2021).
Carbis Bay viaduct The Eden Project - part of the 'showing off' bit
of the G7 Summit
Travelling blog time over … Easter is a-coming … actually I’m rather enjoying the gentler times without rushing here there and everywhere – but I will enjoy being free again.
Have a peaceful Easter weekend … and good luck to all the A-Zers …
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