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In the 150 years from the beginning of the eighteenth century a revolution transformed the way we think, work and play for ever. This was the industrial revolution. And it started here in Britain. Professor Jeremy Black, Why the Industrial Revolution Happened Here, BBC 2013
Roads, railways and canals were built. Great cities appeared, and scores of factories and mills sprang up. Our landscape would never be the same again. ibid.
Coal kick-started a revolution in eighteenth-century Britain. ibid.
A wave of free-thinking and creativity. ibid.
Watt was determined to make the most efficient steam engine yet produced. ibid.
The Perrier brothers didn’t want to just copy the design of the Watt/Boulton steam engine, they wanted to improve on it … They failed. ibid.
Britain was the naval superpower with the largest fleet in the world. ibid.
The Royal Navy played a vital role in expanding the trade of the empire. ibid.
All this wealth was created at a terrible human cost with the exploitation and suffering of millions of slaves. ibid.
Just under two and a half million slaves were transported by the British across the Atlantic. ibid.
New institutions like banks and the stock exchange were established. ibid.
Josiah Wedgwood – he was brought up in a family of potters in north Staffordshire. ibid.
The canals – the motorways of the eighteenth century. ibid.
Two-thirds of the world’s coal and half its iron. ibid.
Ultimately, no corner of the British Isles was left untouched by a bloody and tragic war that set brother against brother and mother against son. Jeremy Black, The English Civil War I, BBC 2001
With the agreement of the Solemn League and Covenant the whole complexion of the war was altered. For it bound the Scots to provide an army on the Parliamentary side. Jeremy Black, The English Civil War II: A Nation at War
The execution of King Charles in January 1649 was not the final chapter in one of Britain’s most tragic stories. If the people of the British Isles imagined a new era of peace and stability, they were to be sorely disappointed. Jeremy Black, The English Civil War IV: The Shadow of the Scaffold
This phase of Cromwell’s life was to bring him lasting infamy in so many parts of Ireland and the British Isles. On 4th September 1649 Cromwell’s fearsome New Model Army made an assault on the Royalist held town of Drogheda. ibid.
Despite Fairfax’s deep reservations Cromwell invaded Scotland entering the country in the summer of 1650. ibid.
The magnificent steam locomotives of the Great Western Railway: a combination of elegance and raw power. They still evoke a spirit of adventure. Great Railway Adventures with Dan Cruickshank: Brilliant Brunel, National Geographic 2010
Brunel was obsessed about every detail, building wonderful stations to suit his great enterprise. Nothing deters him. The Great Western Railway was just part of his steam-driven revolution. ibid.
The construction of the Great Western Railway between Bristol and London was inspired by Brunel’s vision to bring speed and comfort to the experience of travel. ibid.
It was the coming of the railway that led to Britain adopting a standard time across the country. ibid.
Brunel would eventually lose the battle of the gauges. ibid.
When the Great Eastern was launched its paddles were driven by the biggest marine steam-engine of its day. ibid.
After a journey of just fifteen days and five hours his Great Western steamship made a triumphant entry into New York Harbor. ibid.
Brunel had produced two of the finest ocean steamers in the world, but the city of Bristol failed to take advantage of his genius. ibid.
I sell here what the whole world desires – power. Matthew Boulton
I have been branded with folly and madness for attempting what the world calls impossibilities. Even the great engineer Mr James Watt said that I deserve hanging for bringing into use the high-pressure engine. Richard Trevithick
The parties adjourned to the hotel. And comforted their hearts with a roast goose and proper drinks. Richard Trevithick
Richard Trevithick: to get round Watt’s patent Trevithick began to build his own engines. This was his greatest achievement: the Puffing Devil. All eight horse-power of it. And unlike Boulton & Watt’s engine it moved. Trevithick’s genius was he built high-pressure steam-engines. Michael Mosley, The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion, BBC 2010
Britain’s greatest engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and East London’s shipbuilders created vessels that were bigger, faster and tougher than ever before. Brunel’s Last Launch: A Time Team Special, Channel 4 2011
A hundred and fifty years ago Brunel created a ship five times bigger than anything that had gone before. The most revolutionary vessel the world had ever seen: the SS Great Eastern. ibid.
Launching such a big vessel proved to be a disaster. ibid.
The only option was a relatively untested sideways launch. Nothing on this scale had ever been attempted before. ibid.
Having already built two smaller transatlantic steamships The Great Britain and The Great Western Brunel believed it could be done. ibid.
East London shipbuilding had grown into a vast industry. ibid.
So well-built was the Great Eastern that it apparently took two years to dismantle. ibid.
Three million rivets. ibid.
He [Brunel] was constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible. ibid.
Human error and muddy conditions had caused one slip to be steeper than the other. The ship’s weight was evenly distributed and it stuck fast. ibid.
From this day in 1830 nothing would be the same again. This is where the modern world begins. Locomotion: Dan Snow’s History of Railways, BBC 2013
One billion passengers still travel these lines each year. ibid.
By the early 1800s British was at the centre of a world-wide trading web. ibid.
The people fell in love with them. ibid.
The Stockton & Darlington became world famous. ibid.
The Railways came along and changed everything. ibid.
In the late 1830s a great swathe of Victorian London was ripped apart. The railway had arrived in the capital. Locomotion: Dan Snow’s History of Railways II
Hills were being mined and blasted, valleys were being bridged. ibid.
Trains could already hit fifty miles an hour. ibid.
The working classes got their first taste of the railway … cheap excursions were being offered. ibid.
As the investors vowed never to gamble on the railways again, the whole banking system teetered on the edge. The government had to step in. ibid.
Britain begins to export the railways to the rest of the world. ibid.