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Historian Liz McIvor explores how Britain's expanding rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and through to modern times. A fast system of transportation shaped many areas of our industrial nation, from what we eat to where we live, work and play. The railways generated economic activity but they also changed the nature of business itself. They even changed attitudes to time and how we set our clocks! Our railways reflected deep class divisions, but they also brought people together and helped forge a new sense of national identity.

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Station: BBC Four (GB)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: To Be Determined
Start: 2016-09-29

Railways: The Making of a Nation Air Dates


S01E03 - The Age Of Leisure Air Date: 13 October 2016 19:00 -

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The idea of excursions to distant places became popular from the 1840s onwards, as people began taking day trips and seeing parts of the country they had never seen before.

However, it wasn't all sun, sea and sand - some excursion trains were set up to satisfy the public's desire to witness public executions and bare-knuckle prize fighting; other lines transported people to enjoy horse racing and sporting events.

Thousands visited resorts, spa towns and the coast, and a new wave of Victorian tourists spent their money on holidays and visited hotels at train stations and beyond. The ultimate experience was often to head to the hills and sample clean air, far away from the industrial grime and pollution, and working-class northerners now had access to the beautiful Lake District.

Historian Liz McIvor explores how Britain's expanding rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and through to modern times. A fast system of transportation shaped many areas of our industrial nation - from what we eat to where we live, work and play. The railways generated economic activity but they also changed the nature of business itself. They even changed attitudes to time and how we set our clocks! Our railways reflected deep class divisions, but they also brought people together and helped forge a new sense of national identity.


S01E04 - The New Commuters Air Date: 20 October 2016 19:00 -

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The railways allowed Brits to live further away from their places of work. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the railways encouraged the development of suburbia inhabited by a new type of resident and worker - the commuter.

In some cases new places emerged on the map, simply because of the railways - places like Surbiton and Kingston-upon-Thames. Liz visits nation's largest commuter zone, London and the south east of England. The Victorian rail network was never part of one single grand plan, but it emerged and evolved, line by line, over decades. For today's commuters, work is still going on to build a network that keeps up with their needs.

Historian Liz McIvor explores how Britain's expanding rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and through to modern times. A fast system of transportation shaped many areas of our industrial nation - from what we eat to where we live, work and play. The railways generated economic activity but they also changed the nature of business itself. They even changed attitudes to time and how we set our clocks! Our railways reflected deep class divisions, but they also brought people together and helped forge a new sense of national identity.


S01E05 - Food and Shopping Air Date: 27 October 2016 19:00 -

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The railways changed what we eat and the culinary tastes of the population. Moving produce around at speed was suddenly possible - fresh meat, wet fish, dairy, fruit and veg, were now widely available. And it was in London where arguably the nation's diet changed the most. With a new system of rapid transport it was now possible for the capital to enjoy food supplies from all corners of the nation. Diets improved in terms of the variety and quality of food available. Victorian men and women developed a taste for one particular dish that would be popular with the masses for generations to come - fish and chips.


S01E06 - A Touch of Class Air Date: 03 November 2016 20:00 -

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Trains reflected class divisions, with separate carriages for first, second and third class passengers. Yet, seen at the time, they were also bringing people physically closer together.

In the early 1800s Britain was clearly divided between upper, middle and working classes. On the railways they shared the same stations and arrived at the destination at the same time. The trains gradually acted as a great catalyst, mixing the country up as people travelled to regions and places for the first time.

Locations, accents, cultures and fashions were all new. The nation's relationship with royalty also changed. Queen Victoria was now able to venture far and wide across her kingdom and visit more of her subjects. Over time Brits developed a stronger sense of shared identity and culture.

Railways: The Making of a Nation Actors

Liz McIvor(Liz McIvor)



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