What is the most direct route? Where can I change horses? From where and when does the mail or stage-coach leave? How long will my journey take? Is there a pleasant town where I can break my journey? Which are the best inns? What can I do or see while I am travelling? When is market day? These and more are the questions Georgian travellers asked and the ones I must answer before my characters can set out on a journey. There are three invaluable books that help me send them on their way.
· Cary’s New Itinerary of the Accurate Delineation of the Great Roads both Direct and Cross 1802 (Above)
· Crosby’s Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales or Traveller’s Companion 1815
· Cary’s Traveller’s Companion or a Delineation of the Turnpike Roads of England and Wales on a New Set of County Maps 1817.
These small books immediately transport me back two hundred years. As I plan my routes, I come across ancient slips of paper marking pages where previous owners tried to determine the connections for a zigzag journey across Britain and imagine their excitement or trepidation as they made their plans. I see them tilting the book to catch the candle-light or, like me, reaching for a magnifying glass so that they can more easily decipher the small print. There are no railways on these maps that record Britain at the very dawn of the age of steam. Within twenty years, everything would be changed.