This website uses cookies to provide a rich user experience. Please consult our Cookie Policy to learn about what cookies this website uses, or to control the cookies you receive. You need do nothing if you are happy to receive cookies.
Look and Learn History Picture Library License images from £2.99 Pay by PayPal for images for immediate download Member of British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA)

Subject: ‘Railways’

All of these articles and images are available for licensing: click on an image to see further details and licensing options; contact us about licensing textual content.

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.

Read the rest of this article »

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 111

Posted in America, Ancient History, Boats, Educational card, Famous battles, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Politics, Railways, Ships, Transport, Travel, 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 Miltiades, Athenian general and victor of the Battle of Marathon, 490 BC.

Marathon, picture, image, illustration

Miltiades, Athenian general and victor of the Battle of Marathon, 490 BC

The second picture shows an American locomotive, 1860.

American locomotive, picture, image, illustration

American locomotive, 1860

The third picture shows a prayer before the Battle of Lepanto.

Lepanto, picture, image, illustration

Before the Battle of Lepanto

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 110

Posted in America, Architecture, Art, Best pictures, Educational card, Engineering, Famous Inventors, Historical articles, History, Inventions, Railways, Revolution, Transport, Travel 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 Colossus of Nero, by the Sculptor Zenodore, 66 AD.

Nero, picture, image, illustration

The Colossus of Nero, by the Sculptor Zenodore, 66 AD

The second picture shows George Stephenson’s locomotive Rocket, 1830.

Rocket, picture, image, illustration

George Stephenson's locomotive Rocket, 1830

The third picture shows the Philippine Revolution and its leader.

Philippines, picture, image, illustration

Emilio Aguinaldo, Filipino revolutionary leader and politician

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 71

Posted in Architecture, Best pictures, Bravery, Educational card, Famous crimes, Famous news stories, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Literature, Politics, Railways, Revolution, Rivers, Royalty, Transport, Travel 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 Goltzsch Viaduct Railway Bridge, Mylau, Germany.

viaduct, picture, image, illustration

The Goltzsch Viaduct Railway bridge, Mylau, Germany

The second picture shows Dante exiled from Florence.

Dante, picture, image, illustration

Dante exiled from Florence

The third picture shows the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday.

Marat, picture, image, illustration

The assassination of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday, French Revolution, 13 July 1793

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 62

Posted in America, Animals, Birds, Communications, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Music, Oddities, Railways, Sport, Theatre, Transport, Travel, Wildlife 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 a Tourist car on the Mount Lowe Railway, California.

Mount Lowe, picture, image, illustration

Tourist car on the Mount Lowe Railway, California

The second picture shows a futuristic prediction: enjoying the theatre in one’s own home in 2000.

prediction, picture, image, illustration

Enjoying the theatre in one's own home in 2000

The third picture shows men hunting flamingos in Spain.

hunt, picture, image, illustration

Hunting flamingos, Spain

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, 12

Posted in Ancient History, Best pictures, Disasters, Educational card, Engineering, Historical articles, History, Myth, Railways, Superstition, Transport, Travel 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 the opening of the first French railway, 1832.

 railway, picture, image, illustration

Opening of the first French railway, 1832

The second picture shows the earthquake at Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, 1843.

earthquake, picture, image, illustration

Earthquake at Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, 1843

The third picture shows the Oracle of Delphi.

Delphi, picture, image, illustration

Consulting the Oracle of Delphi

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

The Flying Scotsman

Posted in Engineering, Historical articles, History, London, Railways, Scotland, Transport, Travel on Sunday, 22 November 2015

From the great age of steam comes this superb painting of the Flying Scotsman locomotive, in which peerless draughtsmanship and a thorough knowledge of engineering combine to present an utterly compelling picture of power, beauty and speed. The LNER bottle green livery still captivates the viewer, and it remains a unique icon in both appearance and romantic name.

The Flying Scotsman, picture, image, illustration

The Flying Scotsman by John S Smith

Many more pictures of railways can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

A Picture Palace of Edwardian Times

Posted in Arts and Crafts, Cinema, Famous Inventors, Historical articles, History, Inventions, London, Railways, Technology on Saturday, 21 November 2015

This striking and historically accurate picture shows the sensational screening of the Lumiere film, L’Arrivee d’un Train A la Ciotat at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London. It is a perfect pictorial representation of one of the famous films and great moments in the early history of cinema.

cinema, picture, image, illustration

A Picture Palace of Edwardian Times by Peter Jackson

Many more pictures of cinema can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

A Railway station in England during the 1960s

Posted in Architecture, Britain in the 60s, Cars, Historical articles, History, London, Railways, Transport, Travel on Saturday, 21 November 2015

This is a marvellous and thoroughly realistic bird’s-eye view of a railway station in the London suburbs. The black taxi picks up a traveller, the red bus brings others to the station, and meanwhile all the architectural detailing of footbridge and station building, along with the level-crossing gate, give one an unavoidable impression of looking down on a child’s model railway layout. The early diesel train is a cleverly modern touch.

Railway station, picture, image, illustration

Railway station in England, 1960s

Many more pictures of railways can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.