LONDON-NORWICH ROYAL MAIL COACH


The London-Norwich Royal Mail Coach is probably the most famous coach in Great Britain today.
Over the past 30 years it has carried people from all walks of life, including members of the Royal Family,
politicians and celebrities.
 
It has visited most of the major towns and cities in the United Kingdom, galloped up racecourses,
attended shows to carry VIP's and give displays, helped raised money for charity and featured in
books and on television. On every occasion it has been driven by John Parker and pulled
by his Hungarian Greys.

Breaking the Team Change World Record

 
It's history can be traced back to 1870, but it is believed to be considerably older. Weighing 1.25 tons
without passengers and, like all mail coaches, painted black with scarlet wheels and undercarriage,
the number N205 identifies the route travelled as London-Norwich.
 
The coach was re-registered in 1967 enabling it to carry the Royal Mail, hence the crown of the modern era on the body. It one of only two coaches currently accorded this honour in the modern era. It was also one of the first built to carry passengers. The Guard protected the Royal Mail and passengers from highwaymen, and also acted as the hornblower alerting people to the arrival of the Mail.
 
John Parker bought the coach in the early 1960's. It is known that it was owned by James Selby who
drove it until his death in 1888. James Selby himself had two entries in the Record Books - one for the
longest distance ever driven by one coachman and the other for the fastest time a team of horses could be
changed for another - namely 47.2 seconds, set in 1888.

Crowds at Norwich Cathedral welcoming John at the end of his epic 139 mile journey.

 
A century later, John Parker and the coach have broken both these records. Johns' grooms reduced the
time for the team change to an incredible 21.2 seconds, and in 1996 John broke the long distance record
when he drove the coach non-stop from the Guildhall in London to Norwich Cathedral in 21.5 hours, a
distance of 139 miles.
 
During this run, at 1.00 am in the morning, the Post Mistress of Kelvedon Post Office greeted the coach,
for it is still in Post Office regulations that that an officer of the Post Office must be present to receive the
Roya l Mail - at whatever time & by whatever method of transport!

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