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Early Carriages and Roads

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
Only some three hundred and fifty years have elapsed since wheeled conveyances for passengers came into use in England; but, once introduced, they rapidly found favour with all classes of society, more especially in cities. The progress of road-making and that of light horse-breeding are so intimately connected with the development of carriages and coaches that it is difficult to dissociate the three. In the early days of wheeled traffic the roads of our country were utterly unworthy of the name, being, more particularly in wet weather, such quagmires that they were often impassable. Over such roads the heavy carriages of our ancestors could only be drawn by teams of heavy and powerful horses, strength being far more necessary than speed; and for many generations the carriage or coach horse was none other than the Great or Shire Horse. Improved roads made rapid travel possible, and the increase of stage coaches created a demand for the lighter and more active harness horses, for production of which England became celebrated.