The Slaugham Archives

Stagecoach from Brighton at Red Lion, Handcross
The Slaugham Archive
Stagecoach from Brighton at Red Lion, Handcross

This early photograph taken in October 1867 shows the Brighton to London stagecoach stopped outside the Red Lion, Handcross. I would think that the coach is waiting for the inside passengers, on the right, to take their places before they move off.
The well-known coachman, Mr Chandos Pole, is the driver. He would have added considerably to the strain on the horses coming up Handcross Hill!
I note that the swinging pub sign is so tall that it is supporting near the top by wooden cross members clamped to two branches in the pollarded tree.
Click on Large Version to see a close up of the coachmen and customers on the top deck, and on Open Document to view the wealthier inside passengers.

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Picture added on 22 February 2014 at 14:17
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It is worth mentioning that the historical novelist, Georgette Heyer, lived in Sussex and wrote “The Talisman Ring” which was set in the year 1793 and featured the Red Lion Inn in Handcross.
Copies of the book are freely available on the internet.
Below is an extract from a review of the book describing the Red Lion.
"The Red Lion Inn, which is the main set of the piece, is an inn conceived in brilliance; perfect for a stage set. It is a large place, second and third floors, filled with passageways and stairs in and on which to lurk. It has a public space and a private - for those staying overnight. But best of all, it has secret cellars where the smuggled (or “free-trade”) whisky is stored far from the prying eyes of the law.
One of these cellars is used throughout most of the book to hide one of the two main characters from the grasp of the Bow Street Runners who keep turning up ready to arrest him for a murder he didn't commit."

Added by Barry Ray on 14 March 2014
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