History – Victorians

            The age of the industrial revolution. and so much more:

IK Brunel – was he our greatest engineer?

Described as one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history, one of the 19th-century engineering giants.   One of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, a man who changed Victorian England with his designs and ingenious constructions, which we can still see today. Brunel built dockyards, the Great Western Railway (GWR), a series of steamships including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship, and numerous …….

Did you know that Queen Victoria:

Victoria was the Queen of England from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901.  On 1 May 1876 she became the Empress of India.

More interesting facts:

  • She married her first cousin, Prince Albert, in 1840, when he died in 1861, she …………….
  • A cheese, she was given as a wedding gift, …………..
  • As a little girl she was frightened of wigs. That was until ………..
  • From ……..
  • She was the first Monarch to live in Buckingham Palace. 

The world of Amateurism had to change

In 1839 the first Henley Regatta was held for a single day. In March that year Captain Edmund Gardiner proposed Henley’s annual regatta, to be managed under judicious and respectable management. That year the first Henley Regatta was held over a single day, its success meant that next year it ran for two.

However, this is really a story about the fate of amateurism, you see, originally ……..

A Victorian Legacy
A special age

When do you think the first public park was opened in England?

Today we take our public parks for granted, but it didn’t used to be like that. There were a few pleasure gardens, but the wealthy had their private estates, that were enormous parks, but they weren’t public.

This happened before the reign of Queen Victoria, there weren’t any public parks.

Her reign was the start of a period of great change ……

Who was
I K Brunel’s father?

It is said that Isombard Kingdom Brunel was our greatest engineer, did his background help him?

His father, Sir Marc Brunel, was an amazing engineer, of whom nobody has heard.

Born in Hacqueville, Normandy, France, at 25 to escape the Guillotine he fled to America.  There he became Chief Engineer of New York. Then he came to England, when here he invented many things we live with today, ……….

The story of Thomas Cook

It was 180 odd years ago in 1841 when a cabinet maker from Leicestershire, called Thomas Cook, launched the first travel package trip. 

It all happened because he believed that alcohol was to blame for social problems, therefore when the Midland Counties Railway extended the line from Leicester to Loughborough, he organized a special train to carry temperance supporters to a teetotal rally in Loughborough.

I wonder what his thoughts would have been if he had realised that his simple idea has led to all those booze trips?……

Can you go round the world
in 72 days without
using aeroplanes?

On November 14th 1889 Nellie Bly left New York in the steamer Augusta Victoria as she was fascinated by the book Around the World in Eighty Days in which Phileas Fogg fictionally went round the world in 80 days. 

She thought she could better it and …..

Newsflash –
Punch and Judy
is not English!!

We think that it a traditional British seaside entertainment, it isn’t.

It came from Italy in the 16th-century from the Italian “commedia dell’arte”.  While the “commedia dell’art” in fact had roots going all the way back to Roman times.  So where did it come from.

How did Punch and Judy come to England?

It all happened because of the Restoration of the Monarchy, Charles II became king and the country had been fun-starved after years …..

The amazing
George Francis Train

This man organised

  • the first clipper to sail around the Horne,
  • set up the Union Pacific Railway,
  • then Trans Continental Railway.
  • He came to England and set up the Horse Tramway Company. 
  • Finally, George Train stood, unsuccessfully, for the Presidency of the United States.
  • This ……

The ‘Plumstead Ghost’

In October 1897, the ‘Plumstead Ghost’ appeared in Plumstead, near Woolwich. The local papers were full of stories about young girls fainting on being approached by the ghost. Then a schoolmaster was frightened out of his wits when the ghost suddenly shouted ‘Boo-hah!’ at the top of his voice. Well, he was convinced it was the ‘Plumstead ghost’.

This went on until another schoolmaster …………

The Queen of Sinking Ships
Yes, another Titanic Story

This is Violet Jessop, a stewardess on SS Titanic.  She was also a stewardess on both SS Olympic and SS Britannic when they sank,  both sister ships of SS Titanic!

So, she got the nickname “Miss Unsinkable”, especially as she lived to the ripe old age of 83, they also called her ………

From SS Royal William to SS Britannia

Did you know that Samuel Cunard, the founder of the Cunard Steamship Company, in 1833 part owned the first ship to cross the Atlantic entirely under steam power, SS Royal William.

The SS Royal William was built in Canada as a side paddle steamship, it was 1,370 tons, was 49m long with 13m breadth, making it the largest steamship of its time.  Samuel Cunard was one of the original investors in the Quebec and Halifax Steam Navigation Company, who ……..