An Ephemeral Coach Service. Circa 1912,
“The Reynard”, the Windsor and London coach service operated in the summertime from 1910 to 1912. It was the brainchild of Mr. R. Craig-Mckerrow who believed that stage coaching was not dead, but in suspended animation.
The coach, drawn by four horses, left the Hotel Victoria, Charing Cross at 10.30 a.m. on each day but Sunday and arrived at the White Hart Hotel Windsor at 1.40 p.m. It returned from Windsor at 3.30 pm, arriving back in London at 6.45p.m. There were a number of stops en-route to change the horses. The distance in each direction was twenty nine miles and the return fare 17shillings & sixpence.
The hire of the whole coach to Windsor and back was nine pounds nine shillings. The stage coach driver was usually a Mr Thomas Tagg.
The coach travelled by way of Hammersmith, Richmond, Twickenham, Hampton Court, Sunbury and Staines. Passengers were given an illustrated souvenir booklet covering the drive and details of the places passed en-route.
Sunbury, by the river is described in this booklet as “ a picturesque clump of buildings with Sunbury Court embowered in foliage and the village has a pleasantly inviting look suggesting that here even a Diogenes might find life (of course in a tub) quite endurable, at least in the prime of summertime when the bright sunshine flashes on the water. It has however, no annals of more than a parochial interest”.
The cover to the booklet is a colour representation of the coach en route, and amongst other illustrations is a black and white photograph entitled “The Cross-Roads near Sunbury”. This appears to be a desolate and isolated spot, demonstrating how much building has taken place in the intervening years. “The Crossroads” are unlikely to be at Sunbury Cross as the Victoria Clock Memorial was erected there in 1897. It is more likely to be one of the crossings on Staines Road West.
We are unable to say whether The Reynard operated beyond 1912 but the advent of the 1st World War and the increased use of the motor car makes it seem very unlikely.
Alan & Barbara Taylor.