The carriers of Lancaster, 1824-1912

James Bowen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Carriers were an integral and crucial element in the life of every community from the sixteenth century to the early twentieth. They provided a vital service, transporting a wide range of goods, packages, livestock and people, and forming a web of routes and linkages which connected every town with its hinterland, towns to each other, and many towns and cities to the metropolis. At the same time, they disseminated news and information and were an essential part of the social and economic structure which tied town to country and place to place. Carriers are also familiar figures in literature, precisely because of these attributes. Yet they have rarely been analysed in depth and their role, perhaps because it was unglamorous, has been often overlooked. In this article James Bowen provides a case-study of Lancaster, highlighting the importance of the trade directories of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a key source. His analysis of the role of the carriers, the way in which they adapted to the arrival of the railways and reorientated their routes to serve stations and railheads, and the role of inns and family networks, draws attention to the rich potential for further local research on this topic.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)178-190
    Number of pages13
    JournalThe Local Historian
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


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