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.
A Touch of Class
Episode 1x6; Nov 03, 2016
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.
1x6: A Touch of Class
1x5: Food and Shopping
1x4: The New Commuters
1x3: The Age of Leisure
1x2: Capitalism and Commerce
Liz McIvor as Liz McIvor
|Liz McIvor||as Liz McIvor|