Scottish Post Office directories

Public conveyance directory

Lists of carriers

Information on public transport was already included in the very early of our digitised directories.

The dominant part of early conveyance directories would be lists of carriers, stating where they would come from, where they would be lodged and when they would arrive and depart again.

Mail and steam coaches

Most conveyance directories would also record information on mail and stage coaches with their destinations and departure times.

Many stage coaches and their routes were privately owned.

The 'Angus and Mearns directory and almanac' for 1847, for example, lists Mrs M'Bain, whose car left the Montrose Star-Hotel every Friday at 5pm for Brechin.

Such stage coaches would be horse-drawn and travel at around five miles per hour. They were specifically intended for transporting people, and frequently stopped at stations.

Mail coaches, also horse-drawn, were faster, reaching up to 10 miles per hour in Victorian times. However, they seated only a few passengers and were more expensive than stage coaches. They usually travelled over night and only stopped for collecting or delivering the mail.


Already in the early years there would also be information on ferries across the Scottish rivers.

The 'Dundee directory and register' for 1829-1830, for example, gives the rates for ferry passages across the River Tay between 6am and 10pm from 1 April to 31 October.

An adult travelling 2nd class would have to pay nine pennies ('9d' in pre-decimal sterling), while children 'on the knee' could travel 'gratis'.

Rail freight

Scotland's first inter-city railway was the Edinburgh-Glasgow line which opened in 1842. Already by 1850 the railway played an important role in the country's freight transport system.

The type of freight transported could vary from simple parcels, with rates depending on their weight and distance transported, to living animals such as dogs, cattle, horses, sheep and pigs.


Towards the end of the 19th century conveyance via steam vessels would become more and more common in Scotland, mainly on the west coast.

Steamers from Ayr, for example, would leave for Glasgow, Greenock, Girvan, Larne, Campbeltown and Belfast on one, two or three days a week.


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