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Why did journey times improve between 1750-1840?

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Why did journey times improve between 1750-1840? Journey times improved between 1750-1840. Before 1720 the average speed of a coach was 3.15kph Between 1740 and 1760 the average speed of a coach was 3.4kph Between 1780 and 1800 the average speed of a coach was 10.9kph Between 1820 and 1840 the average speed of a coach was 15.4kph You can see from these results that the speed of coaches didn't really improve until 1760 where it had increased greatly before 1780. It was nearly 5 times the speed before 1720 that it was by 1840 this shows us how much they did improve. The question know is how? However this improvement in journey times did not happen to all roads, turnpikes could not afford to improve minor roads they would not make enough profits therefore it was only the main roads which got improved. Why did roads need to improve in 1750? In the early 18th century the statute labour system was not supplying Britain with good quality roads. ...read more.


John Metcalf was one of the most extraordinary road builders because he was blinded by small pox when he was six and built his roads by touch alone. He had a well organised system for everything to run smoothly. For instance he made a gravel pit near the road. He believed that roads should have good foundations and a gently curved surface to allow water to drain off. He was renowned for the road he built across marsh land (Huddersfield -Manchester 1782) with heather as foundations. John Loudon Macadam only started making roads when he was 60 after he returned from America and started it as a hobby. He didn't believe that strong foundations were the key to roads this made him popular with the turnpikes because it was cheaper to make roads without foundations. However this meant that roads would need more repairing in the future. Macadam made his surfaces out of small chippings that knitted together to make a smooth surface. This made travel faster and more comfortable. ...read more.


These coaches were guarded by an armed guard, who carried a blunderbuss to deter highwaymen and a horn to let the turnpike know he was coming. This was because the mail coaches were allowed through without paying the toll. They were faster because they did not carry people on the roof and they did not have to stop for the turnpikes, they were also safer because they did not carry people on the roof. In my opinion the most important factor to why journey times improved was the turnpikes they turned the churned up mud tracks into usable roads and if they had not started building these roads there would have been no need for the great engineers because there would not have been any roads for them to work on or any people to employ them. Without decent roads people would not have spent time designing coaches and this industry would not of grown. But if there was decent roads in the first place made by the government for instance, there would not have been a reason for the turnpikes so this is also an important factor when we consider why journey time improved. ...read more.

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