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Subject: ‘Travel’

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Nicolo, Maffeo and Marco

Posted in Exploration, Historical articles, History, Trade, Travel on Friday, 1 July 2016

This edited article about Marco Polo originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 812 published on 6 August 1977.

Marco Polo, picture, image, illustration

Marco Polo crossing the Persian deserts still largely unexplored today, by Ron Embleton

Seventeen-year-old Marco Polo watched his deeply suntanned father and his uncle packing their bags and cases in their luxury house in Venice.

“Please take me with you,” Marco begged.

His father, Nicolo, looked at Maffeo, and the two elder men in turn looked at the fine, strapping young Marco.

“Very well,” said Nicolo. “You may come with us.”

The Polo’s were preparing for another journey to the mysterious East – only this time, as Marco knew, they had a mission to fulfil.

Two years before, Nicolo and Maffeo Polo had returned from a trip to China which had lasted ten years. They had crossed the great Gobi Desert and come to the court of the Kublai Khan, ruler of all the Tartars, in distant Cathay, where China is today.

At this time – the middle of the thirteenth century – it was unheard on for travellers to ventire so far east. All that men in Europe knew about the other side of the world was what they had been told in legend.

Marco knew that his uncle and his father had returned to Venice because the Great Khan had asked them to speak to the Pope on behalf of the Tartars, so that his people might be told something of the Christian religion.

And the two elder Polos had already told Marco of some of their exciting stories of the Great Khan’s court, and had described to him the riches and treasures that were to be found in the East.

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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, 106

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Best pictures, Castles, Educational card, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, Literature, Magic, Music, Religion, Royalty, 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 Mozart and Schikaneder working on The Magic Flute.

Mozart, picture, image, illustration

Mozart and Schikaneder Work on The Magic Flute

The second picture shows the Merovingian Do-nothing Kings.

The Do-nothing Kings, picture, image, illustration

The Do-nothing Kings

The third picture shows the Statue of Osiris visiting the temple of Ipsambul.

Osiris, picture, image, illustration

Statue of Osiris visiting the temple of Ipsambul

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 101

Posted in Africa, Ancient History, Archaeology, Architecture, Educational card, Famous landmarks, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Legend, Music, Myth, Royalty, Sea, Ships, 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 Orpheus playing his lyre.

Orpheus, picture, image, illustration

Orpheus playing his lyre

The second picture shows Frederick the Great playing the flute.

Frederick the Great, picture, image, illustration

Frederick the Great of Prussia and a flute concert

The third picture shows tourists in Egypt.

Egypt, picture, image, illustration

The Pyramids viewed from the outskirts of Cairo

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, 97

Posted in America, Ancient History, Animals, Best pictures, Bible, Bravery, Customs, Educational card, Famous battles, Flags, Geography, Geology, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Minerals, Myth, Religion, Saints, Sea, Ships, Travel, War, Weapons 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 Jason making a sacrifice to the Gods to aid the Argo in its voyage.

Argo, picture, image, illustration

Sacrifice to the Gods to aid the Argo in its voyage

The second picture shows gold prospectors in Alaska.

Gold prospectors, picture, image, illustration

Gold prospectors, Alaska

The third picture shows St James the Great, patron saint of Spain.

St James the Great, picture, image, illustration

St James the Great, patron saint of Spain

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