Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Welshpool and district
Turnpike roads
  The Turnpike Trusts  

In the early years the roads of Montgomeryshire were much worse than those in most other parts of Britain.
The first proper Turnpike Road Act for the county was passed by Parliament in 1769, which was 106 years after the first one in England !

Coach services
from Welshpool
Trade directory entry
A new Turnpike Act passed in 1834 grouped the turnpike roads of Montgomeryshire together under the areas they served, rather than covering long cross-country routes through many different areas. The new Act also brought in much higher toll charges.
By the start of Queen Victoria's reign in 1837 there were over 1,100 Turnpike companies in England and Wales, maintaining thousands of miles of roads. This meant that a national network of stagecoach services could operate.
A four
stagecoach !
Engraving of stagecoach
Although stagecoaches look very attractive on Christmas cards, they were not pleasant to travel on for very far. Many roads were very bumpy and some passengers had to sit out in the open, even in the middle of winter. Only the better off could afford to use them for they were fairly expensive.
And there was always the chance of being robbed on the more isolated stretches of road !

The first railway lines opened in Britain in the 1840s, and they were seen as a quicker, more comfortable, and safer way to travel. As railway services increased the stagecoaches lost business and the Turnpike Trusts gradually became bankrupt. The last company in Britain closed for business in 1895.

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