The London to Holyhead Mail Coach, one of only three mail coaches to have survived in the UK is to be housed at The Museum Of The Horse in Tuxford. This rare coach, nearly 200 years old will be unveiled by Lady Chichester, the owner of the coach, on May 30th and from then on it will be open to view for visitors to the museum.
The Newcastle Arms at Tuxford, home of the Museum, is an appropriate home for this wonderful old coach because it was not only a Coaching Inn but also a Posting House, that is an inn that provided the horses for the Mail Coaches, Stage Coaches and for private hire. It is said that at its peak sixty four coaches a day passed through Tuxford.
There would have been a great many horses stabled behind the Newcastle because the coach horses had to be changed approximately every ten miles and to horse a coach, to allow for lame or sick horses and for days off you had to allow a horse a mile per coach for the ground covered; hence roughly ten horses per coach.
This coach is one of only four surviving Mail Coaches in the world and stands as the most original in terms of its structure. It was built by Williams of Bristol who built Mail Coaches once the Postal Offices contract with the coach builders Vidler had ceased in 1835.
Having been purchased by Sir Edward Chandos-Pole in the 1860’s the coach was driven by his employee Alfred Tedder who had driven the coach when it was used to deliver mail. Sir Edward ran a stage coach from London to Brighton and during the winter the Mail Coach was used for this run as it was much lighter for the horses to pull during challenging weather conditions.
In 1920 the then three known surviving Mail Coaches were brought together for an exhibition at Olympia.
It is likely that the London to Holyhead route was painted on the coach for this occasion as the paint scheme is not original. We cannot say for certain that this Mail Coach actually ran the London to Holyhead route but we can certainly document its history since the 1860’s and reveal its story as it goes on display.
The Museum, which is fascinating for anyone interested in general history, is open Monday – Friday 9am- 4pm. And Saturdays 10am – 2pm. Group visits welcome. Tel 01 777 838 234.