One for the Road

An exhibition about the roads of England from 1780 to 1840, highwaymen, coaching, and the history of road development. From 16 String Jack to Frost Fairs.

This exhibition examines Regency England. It begins in the 18th century with the final flourish of highwaymen and women. Social mobility beings here with Elizabeth Farren an actress of no fixed abode marrying Lord Derby. We look at the age of coaching through the eyes of Thomas Cross and Thomas de Quincy. Riots both religious and sectarian such as Peterloo and the Gordon Riots marked a change in attitude back to Watt Tyler and his demands for freedom.

Thomas Paine and the French revolution and slavery are touched on as well as William Beckford and wealth beyond imaginable limits. Not unlike today. Industry changes with the Spinning Jenny, there was terrible poverty, disease and dissatisfaction. But it is times of great change a time of horse racing, field sports, boxing, and golfing. A time of clubs in London hundreds of them. It is a time of Frost Fairs and wars, and heroes and courtesans. A time to be alive in for all its inadequacies and inequalities.