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Subject: ‘Transport’

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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, 115

Posted in Actors, Africa, Ancient History, Best pictures, Boats, British Countryside, Christmas, Customs, Educational card, Fairy Tale, Famous Composers, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Magic, Music, Rivers, Theatre, 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 a barge on the Nile.

Nile, picture, image, illustration

On a barge in the Nile

The second picture shows Christmas Eve in England in the 18th Century.

Christmas, picture, image, illustration

Christmas Eve in England, 18th Century

The third picture shows the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote.

opera, picture, image, illustration

The Queen of Night Meets Tamino and Papageno

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 112

Posted in Aerospace, Ancient History, Architecture, Aviation, Best pictures, Boats, Customs, Disasters, Educational card, Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Sea, 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 an Ancient Egyptian funeral ceremony.

Ancient Egypt, picture, image, illustration

Ancient Egypt, funeral ceremony

The second picture shows Francisque Arban being rescued by Italian fishermen, 1846.

balloon, picture, image, illustration

Francisque Arban rescued by Italian fishermen after his balloon crashed into the Adriatic, 1846

The third picture shows the Battle of Milazzo, 260 BC.

Milazzo, picture, image, illustration

Milazzo, the first Roman naval victory over Carthage in 260 BC

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

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, 99

Posted in Ancient History, Animals, Arts and Crafts, Astronomy, Best pictures, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Inventions, Literature, Philosophy, Plants, Rivers, Science, 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 Hannibal crossing the Rhone with his army and elephants, 218 BC.

Hannibal, picture, image, illustration

Hannibal crossing the Rhone with his army and elephants, 218 BC

The second picture shows Ancient Egyptian papermakers.

papyrus, picture, image, illustration

Ancient Egyptian papermakers

The third picture shows Aristotle, Ancient Greek philosopher and scientist.

Aristotle, picture, image, illustration

Aristotle, Ancient Greek philosopher and scientist

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 85

Posted in Art, Artist, Best pictures, Discoveries, Educational card, Exploration, Famous artists, Fashion, Historical articles, History, Leisure, Trade, 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 reception of Vasco da Gama by the Samudiri of Calicut, India, May 1498.

Vasco da Gama, picture, image, illustration

Reception of Vasco da Gama by the Samudiri of Calicut, India, May 1498

The second picture shows men and women on bicycles.

bicycles, picture, image, illustration

Men and women on bicycles

The third picture shows Leonardo da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa, picture, image, illustration

Leonardo da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 73

Posted in Ancient History, Best pictures, Boats, Educational card, Famous battles, Famous landmarks, Geography, Geology, Historical articles, History, Nature, Rivers, Ships, Transport, Travel, War 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 Galley of the Roman Emperor Caligula on Lake Nemi.

Galley, picture, image, illustration

Galley of the Roman Emperor Caligula on Lake Nemi, Italy, 1st Century

The second picture shows Mount Etna.

Mount Etna, picture, image, illustration

Mount Etna

The third picture shows the submission of the Saxons to Charlemagne.

 Charlemagne, picture, image, illustration

Submission of the Saxons to Charlemagne

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 72

Posted in Aerospace, Africa, Ancient History, Architecture, Aviation, Best pictures, Disasters, Educational card, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Literature, Myth, Nature, 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 Aeneas at Dido’s palace.

Aeneas, picture, image, illustration

Aeneas at Dido's palace

The second picture shows passengers boarding an airship.

airship, picture, image, illustration

Boarding the airship in London

The third picture shows a hurricane on Martinique.

hurricane, picture, image, illustration

Hurricane on Martinique

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.