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Regency travel question

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Susievintage
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Regency travel question

Post by Susievintage » Sun July 22nd, 2012, 6:27 pm

I'm hoping that someone with deeper knowledge of historical travel will be able to help me.

How would a single gentleman (i.e. travelling alone, not with a family or staff) get from London to Marseille in 1830? Train to Dover, then ferry, then train? But I think trains came later in France... So train then ferry then carriage/horse? Or was there not yet a train from London to Dover, so horse ferry horse? Rollerblades?

Any suggestions of an answer or where to find one would be extremely gratefully received!

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sun July 22nd, 2012, 9:43 pm

Steamer through Gibraltar. Faster and safer.

annis
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Post by annis » Mon July 23rd, 2012, 1:35 am

Unless your character took MLE’s steam-packet to Gibraltar option, it would have been coach from London to Dover (mail, stage or private depending on your means) cross-Channel packet to Calais and then more coach travel to Marseilles.

Packet-boats were originally small cutters of 50 to 60 tons, with a spanker rig. Although steam-packets were used by 1830, the first steam-powered cross-Channel packet run took place in 1837.

If you were taking the Gibraltar option, you'd probably take a coastal steamer to Falmouth and catch the outward-bound steam-packet from there.

Pasenger trains in England were still at a very early stage in 1830 and in France the first line didn't open till 1837.

There are several useful websites which give a bit of info about travel in the early part of the 19th century, like this one:
http://franzeca.wordpress.com/romance-university

It's easy to forget that in times before decent roads became the norm, that travel by river or sea was often a preferred option, being generally faster and safer. In colonial New Zealand the river boats and coastal steamers were the only real way for most travellers to get around until the 1920s.
Last edited by annis on Mon July 23rd, 2012, 4:19 am, edited 14 times in total.

Susievintage
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Post by Susievintage » Mon July 23rd, 2012, 8:36 am

You see, this is why I ask you all! I had quite ignored the sea option, which is obviously the best one - my policeman will have to find his sea-legs and go via Gibraltar. (Bonus: I am going there myself in September, on business, and will be able to research a little local colour.)

Thank you again for your marvellous insight.

annis
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Post by annis » Mon July 23rd, 2012, 9:32 am

Here's an account of a similar trip taken by Benjamin Disraeli in 1830 - doesn't sound as if he found travel by sea much more fun than the alternative route :)

SGM
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Post by SGM » Mon July 23rd, 2012, 6:23 pm

I always find the most useful research for this type of detail to be original letters and diaries etc. In fact, it is the sort of research I generally find most useful.

Unfortunately, I now stay away from anything as recent as the 19th century and so really cannot remember details (without looking them up) for that period.

However, you might find some useful information on this link -- the bibliography at the end listing some useful/interesting snippets, all of which you should be able to find free on the internet somewhere like archive.org or similar website.

http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/encap/journals ... 13_n01.pdf
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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