How did people travel?

An early 20th century street scene An early 20th century street scene. Image copyright of the Bishopsgate Institute

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In 1900, almost every vehicle on the streets of Britain was horse-drawn.

The clip-clop of hooves and the rattle of carts and carriages along cobbled streets was a familiar sound. Horse troughs provided water for thirsty animals. While along the roadside, other horses rested and ate from nosebags, as drivers went about their business.

A car

There were many thousands of horses working hard on the roads, streets and lanes throughout the country. They pulled cabs, buses, trams and delivery vehicles, bringing passengers and goods around the towns and villages.

On the move

For longer distances, there were steam trains. The whistles and whoosh of steam announced their arrival as they chugged into stations to collect passengers and parcels.

By 1914, things looked and sounded very different. Much had changed. In the cities, motor buses and electric trams had become popular ways to travel. There were motor cars too, though only wealthy people could afford them.

There were still some horses though, despite shops starting to use motor vans, delivery carts were still needed.

Motor cycles, some with side cars, were also seen on the roads. However, bicycles would always be popular. Delivery boys still pedalled around town delivering parcels to homes and, when not patrolling the streets by foot, policemen cycled.

Teachers' notes

Teachers' notes and classroom ideas looking at transport 100 years ago.

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