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About this article: The History of Inns: Inn market

Learn the history of the inn and how it became a place of accommodation. While it's not the same standard as hotels, the inn provides guest accommodation as well.

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The history of inns
Originally found in Europe, it may have first sprung up when the Romans built their system of Roman roads, two millennia ago. Some inns in Europe dates back to centuries. These were found on the way side providing needs of travelers who were looking for over night lodging. This was the era there were no hotels and motels. At that time travel was on horses or horse carriages and therefore the inns needed to cater to the horses too by providing stables and fodders. Inns are grander and more long lived establishments. Famous London inns are the George and the Tabard.

Over the centuries, the original Roman style taverns dwindled and re-emerged as Monastery run inns to cater to travelers and pilgrims, in the Middle Ages. Monasteries were known for their generous hospitality but due to the volume of customers, numerous secular inns were established around Britain, to cope with the monastic overspill.

During this time, inns run by innkeepers flourished throughout Britain. Inns, hostelries and public houses in market towns thrived by providing overnight accommodation, food and beverages.

Britain has a unique heritage of the signs and names of inns depicting battles to inventions, from royalty to sporting heroes. In 1393 King Richard II passed an Act to make signs and names of inns and pubs compulsory and thus started the origins of Inn names, which reflected British life at that time. Before King Henry VIII and the Reformation, many of the Inn names had a religious theme. `Crossed Keys' the emblem of St Peter is a very good example. When King Henry left the Catholic church, the names were changed from `The Rose & Crown', `The King's Head' etc.

In Germany the words `inn', `innkeeper' and `innkeeping' illustrated the historical importance of inns. An innkeeper was known as Wirt (a host), the inn was known as a `Wirtshaus' (a host's house) and innkeeping known as `Wirtschaft' which means hospitality and is also used to mean economy and business.

In the mid eighteenth to the mid nineteenth century coaching Inns flourished as travel by horse and carriage became popular throughout Britain during the Industrial Revolution. However, there was a decline in their popularity with the introduction of the railways and the new public houses and bars catered by the railway network, which sprang up in major cities. Some of the coaching inns on major routes continued to survive, on a lesser scale. Some of these original coaching inns have now been converted to trendy rural pubs, decorated with memorabilia.

Over the years and especially in the recent past with the establishment of star class hotels, services provided by Inns were taken over by the hotels. Some of the Inns which are centuries old have still retained their beauty and heritage which itself has become tourist attractions. It is certainly a part of the history and culture of Europe.
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