When the present work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1847 it received considerable attention from the critics. The Athenaeum for example commented on Creswick's ironic portrayal of transport in the 18th century:
The London Road A Hundred Years Ago (511) records to posterity the days when a waggon put on the road by a Russell occupied in the transport of persons and chattels as many days as the modern system of locomotion does hours. Amusing, in consequence, is the fuss of leave-taking and parting amongst those who, on the brow of that steep hill, have awaited the coming of the tardy waggon; and slow and tedious will the journey be to the metropolis whose distance is denoted by the neighbouring mile-stone! Mr. Creswick has played the wag in the elaboration of this incident; and done so without straining after effect in the record of an ordinary and simple fact. He has omitted no circumstance that might keep up the feeling. The recurrence of so many warm and sultry days as the atmosphere of his picture indicates is a suggestion not calculated to diminish the fatigue or weariness of the journey.
The Art Union gives a more descriptive entry for this work, concluding with praise for its 'poetical' element:
This is a large picture, executed with all the earnestness of purpose seen especially in the latter works by the same hand. There is nothing in the view of this London road of a century back to distinguish it from a score of other London roads of the present day. On the right the ground rises in relief against the lower sky; on the left appears a village church surrounded by trees, and the centre of the composition is traversed by a stream crossed by a bridge leading to the village; but this is not all: there is an episode: - upon the brow of the hill appears the London waggon, and by the milestone, in the foreground, marking a distance of considerably more than a hundred miles, there is a group - father, mother, and daughter; the last going up to London, of course, by the waggon. The landscape is seen under the aspect of a calm summer evening; the centre of the work breaks into a distance still bright with the light of the departing sun, which falls also on the road as it ascends from the foreground. The near parts of the landscape, especially on the left, are forced with shadow, so much so, indeed, as to approach opacity and heaviness; had the scale ranged a degree or two higher in light, the shadow might have suffered relief. The sentiment of the whole is exquisitely poetical. The cattle are being driven home to the village, and overhead the crows are returning to their nests. As Cowper mentions the caw of the rook among his 'rural sounds delightful,' so Creswick deems him not unworthy to assist in celebrating a sunset.
Creswick resolutely remained a landscape painter throughout his career but often collaborated with friends, for example Ansdell, Cooper, Frith and Goodall to people his compostitions with figures. Ruskin praised him favourably in Modern Painters, 'On the Truth of Vegetation', and thought that his knowledge of the effects of colour was almost equal to that of Turner. 1847 was a critical year for Creswick as from then on his palette darkened to the muted browns we see here.