Underneath the Waterstone’s sign in West Street you can see the outline of the entrance to the ostler’s yard when the building was the Dolphin coaching inn.
The coach would have driven through the doors, and the horses changed or refreshed, passengers got out, or in. The Dolphin was the inn for the eight hour trip to London.
I’ve often been amazed at how small the doors were.
Perhaps we should heed the warning of Mr Jingle in the Pickwick Papers as the Commodore stage coach pulls under the arch of the Golden Cross Inn in Charing Cross:
“Heads, heads – take care of your heads!” cried the loquacious stranger, as they came out under the low archway, which in those days formed the entrance to the coachyard. “Terrible place – dangerous work – other day – five children – mother – tall lady, eating sandwiches – forgot the arch – crash – knock – children look round – mother’s head off – sandwich in her hand – no mouth to put it in – head of family off –shocking, shocking!”