Travel, transport and communications
- Article by: Liza Picard
Familiar Scenes for Object LessonsView images from this item (2)
'The Railway Station' from The GraphicView images from this item (1)
Newspaper article describing the delivery of newspapers around the country by trainView images from this item (2)
Copyright: © Sourced from the British Newspaper Archive
Railway and steam-boat excursions' from the Morning ChronicleView images from this item (1)
The History and Description of the Great Western RailwayView images from this item (2)
The Official Illustrated Guide to the Great Western RailwayView images from this item (4)
Newspaper report of a new royal train to carry the Queen from Windsor to London, 1897View images from this item (2)
Turnpikes and canals
Communications had rapidly improved since the days of the first stage-coaches. By 1830 22,000 miles of road across England and Wales had been ‘turnpiked’. This refers to a moveable barrier, sometimes armed with ‘pikes’ or barbs, across a road, turned aside only after a toll was paid. Many turnpike-keepers’ cottages can still be seen beside rural roads. Heavy loads were more economically carried by the canal network which had developed piecemeal since 1757, linking the growing industrial centres to the ports, and to London, with an important nexus at Birmingham. Some spectacular routes were created, tunnelling through mountains and soaring across valleys on viaducts, with locks, sometimes in series, to manage changes in level.
Meanwhile the traffic in inner cities was becoming chaotic. The answer that those astonishing Victorians came up with was obvious: move the whole problem underground. In 1863 the first underground railway in the world was built, connecting Paddington station – the London rail terminus for many prosperous commuters to the City – to Farringdon Street, just minutes away from the Bank of England.
Photographs showing the construction of the London Underground's Central LineView images from this item (2)
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59) pioneered railway engineering, and even designed his Great Western Railway to connect at Bristol with his trans-Atlantic steamship The Great Western, to carry travellers easily between London and New York. The railway termini were magnificent structures. Brunel’s Paddington Station, with its soaring arches and unimpeded space, is the cathedral of the railway age.
Constructing the Waterloo and City Line, The Graphic, 16 November 1895View images from this item (1)
Copyright: © British Library
The Electric Telegraph
Beside the rails ran the telegraph wires. To begin with, they were confined to railway matters, but their usefulness was soon perceived by the business community, and as the Victorian world expanded, the telegraph kept pace. Another of Brunel’s ships, The Great Eastern, played a major part in laying thousands of miles of submarine cable. It reached almost every part of Queen Victoria’s vast empire.
The Great Eastern Steam ShipView images from this item (2)
Newspaper report on Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897View images from this item (1)
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