Coaching Inn, Stone, Staffordshire, early 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Aquatint by J C Stadler after an original painting by B Rogers. It shows a view of the Crown Inn in the town of Stone, Staffordshire, run by Thomas Styles. Beneath the illustration is a map of coaching routes with mileages between destinations. Inns were a vital part of the coaching network that developed as Britain's road system improved from the late 18th century onwards. Innkeepers collected fares, provided food, accommodation and fresh horses, and in some cases even set up their own coaching busineses. The heyday of the coaching network and its asociated inns was in the period from 1810 to 1830, before the rise of competition from the railways.