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Subject: ‘London’

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London’s underground

Posted in Engineering, Historical articles, History, London, Railways, Transport, Travel on Sunday, 31 January 2016

This edited article about the London Underground Railway originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 944 published on 23 February 1980.

underground, picture, image, illustration

Whole streets were closed and excavated during the building of the London underground railway. Picture by Harry Green

“I do not understand why men should wish to build a road down into Hell to meet the Devil,” roared the vicar to his congregation. “My friends, mark my words well. The advent of this railway will hasten the end of the world.”

The vicar, Dr. Cummings, was not alone in his distaste for the form of transport that was being advocated. Many churchmen feared God would wreak his vengeance on the human moles involved in this work of the Devil. Property-owners thought their buildings would fall as a result of all the excavations taking place. In fact, some of these fears may not have been groundless, for many buildings had to be shored up with timber while the work was in progress.

Anyone visiting London during 1861 could well see the reason for people’s concern. In the vicinity of King’s Cross, gangs of workmen were furiously digging up the streets. Great yawning holes marked where the road had once been, leaving only a small area over which carriages and pedestrians had to make their way as best they could.

Some parts of the road were closed completely to allow the men to dig their holes. Once the holes were completed, with the mud piles high on either side, much to the annoyance of pedestrians, the men started shoring the sides of the hole. Then the upper part of the holes was enclosed in a brick arch. Once this was completed, the earth was replaced over the work, the surplus earth carted away, and the road relaid so that everything looked as it had before. But there was one main difference. Eighteen metres below the new road surface lay a long tunnel that stretched between Paddington and Farringdon Street, a distance of about six kilometres.

The person chiefly responsible for this undertaking was Charles Pearson, a city solicitor. Since 1843, he had been suggesting that London should have an underground railway system. He suggested that a trial section should be constructed along the valley of the River Fleet, which had been arched over and converted into a sewer. It would use trains powered by atmospheric pressure. In spite of Pearson’s pleas the plan was never followed up, but he continued to campaign for this new form of transport.

The idea was not, however, entirely new; for what can possibly be regarded as the first underground railway was started in 1770 at East Kenton Colliery near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The railway, used to carry coal trucks on simple wooden tracks, consisted of a single tunnel, which can lay claim to being the first railway tunnel.

Eventually people began to listen to Pearson’s ideas and in 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition in London, when British pride in its engineering feats was at its height, a committee was set up to examine Pearson’s suggestion.

It was decided that the project was feasible, Parliament approved the idea, and work began on raising the money required to put the project in hand. In March, 1860, Pearson saw the results of his incessant campaigning as work began on the new underground railway.

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The best pictures from educational trade cards, 100

Posted in Architecture, Art, Artist, Arts and Crafts, Best pictures, Castles, Disasters, Educational card, Exploration, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, London, Rivers, Royalty, Ships, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the Royal reception of Francis Drake on his return to London from South America in 1581.

Francis Drake, picture, image, illustration

The Reception of Francis Drake to London from South America in 1581

The second picture shows the burning of the Chinese fleet at Canton.

Canton, picture, image, illustration

Burning of the Chinese fleet at Canton

The third picture shows Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, meeting with artists.

Burgundy, picture, image, illustration

Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, meeting with artists, 1450

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 98

Posted in Actors, Architecture, Best pictures, Educational card, English Literature, Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Invasions, Leisure, Literature, London, Politics, Religion, Royalty, Shakespeare, Theatre, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Shakespeare performing before Queen Elizabeth I in 1595.

Shakespeare, picture, image, illustration

Shakespeare performing before Queen Elizabeth I in 1595

The second picture shows Hernan Cortes, Spanish conquistador, receiving gifts from the Aztec Emperor Montezuma.

Hernan Cortes, picture, image, illustration

Hernan Cortes, Spanish conquistador, receiving gifts from the Aztec Emperor Montezuma, Mexico, 1518-1519

The third picture shows Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden attending an open air service before the Battle of Lutzen, Germany, 1632.

Lutzen, picture, image, illustration

Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden attends an open air service before the Battle of Lutzen, Germany, 1632

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 83

Posted in Ancient History, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous crimes, Historical articles, History, Leisure, London, Nature, Philosophy, Politics, Royalty, Scotland on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the execution of the Earl of Essex in 1601.

Execution, picture, image, illustration

Execution of the Earl of Essex, 1601

The second picture shows the burning of the books of Confucius.

Confucius, picture, image, illustration

The burning of the books of Confucius

The third picture shows the Highlands.

The Highlands, picture, image, illustration

The Highlands

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 74

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Arts and Crafts, Best pictures, Children, Customs, Dance, Educational card, Famous crimes, Historical articles, History, Leisure, London, Politics on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Guy Fawkes Night in London.

Guy Fawkes, picture, image, illustration

Guy Fawkes Night in London

The second picture shows the assassination of Louis of Orleans by the men of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy.

assassins, picture, image, illustration

Assassination of Louis of Orleans by the men of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, Paris, 1407

The third picture shows Romans drinking and dancing in a villa on the Bay of Naples.

Romans, picture, image, illustration

Romans drinking and dancing in a villa on the Bay of Naples

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 57

Posted in Ancient History, Animals, Arts and Crafts, Best pictures, Educational card, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Industry, Institutions, London, Politics, Trade on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Oliver Cromwell being sworn in as Lord Protector.

Oliver Cromwell, picture, image, illustration

Oliver Cromwell sworn in as Lord Protector of England , Scotland and Ireland, 1653

The second picture shows Bucephalus tamed by Alexander the Great.

Bucephalus, picture, image, illustration

Bucephalus tamed by Alexander the Great

The third picture shows Porcelain manufacturing in the 18th Century.

Porcelain, 18th Century, picture, image, illustration

Porcelain manufacturing, 18th Century

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 43

Posted in Best pictures, Customs, Dance, Educational card, Famous news stories, Fashion, Geography, Geology, Historical articles, History, Leisure, London, Music, Politics, Railways, Religion, Transport, Travel on Tuesday, 24 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows traditional Pentecost celebrations in Russia.

Russia, picture, image, illustration

Traditional Pentecost celebrations in Russia

The second picture shows the Vesuvius funicular railway in Italy.

Vesuvius, picture, image, illustration

Vesuvius funicular railway, Italy

The third picture shows Gladstone defending his policy for Irish Home Rule in the House of Commons.

Gladstone, picture, image, illustration

Gladstone defending his policy for Irish Home Rule in the House of Commons

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 33

Posted in Architecture, Best pictures, Boats, Educational card, Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Industry, London, Politics, Prehistory, Royalty, Transport on Tuesday, 24 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Roger of Sicily capturing Palermo in 1072.

Palermo, picture, image, illustration

Roger of Sicily capturing Palermo, 1072

The second picture shows the Brewhouse of a London brewery in the 18th Century.

brewery, picture, image, illustration

Brewhouse of a London brewery, 18th Century

The third picture shows Prehistoric boats.

Prehistoric boats, picture, image, illustration

Prehistoric boats

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 20

Posted in Actors, Ancient History, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous battles, Famous Inventors, Historical articles, History, Institutions, Inventions, London, Oddities, Royalty, Science on Monday, 23 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Archimedes and his eureka moment.

Archimedes, picture, image, illustration

Archimedes and his principle

The second picture shows the British banker Nathan Rothschild after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.

Rothschild, picture, image, illustration

British banker Nathan Rothschild after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815

The third picture shows Charles Sherwood Stratton, better known as General Tom Thumb.

Tom Thumb, picture, image, illustration

Charles Sherwood Stratton, better known as General Tom Thumb

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 4

Posted in Actors, Aviation, Best pictures, Cars, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Inventions, London, Royalty, Shakespeare, Theatre, Weapons on Monday, 23 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows William Shakespeare staging a production for Queen Elizabeth I.

theatre, picture, image, illustration

William Shakespeare staging a production for Queen Elizabeth I.

The second picture shows a motorised carriage with a powerful headlight.

car, picture, image, illustration

Motorised carriage with a powerful headlight

The third picture shows a flying torpedo boat in the year 2000.

weapon, picture, image, illustration

Flying torpedo boat in the year 2000

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.