Browsing: Industrial Revolution

And did the Countenance Divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here Among these dark, Satanic Mills? —William Blake Our favorite images of England are the rustic, the rural and the picturesque, where nature appears to advantage and humans live happily in harmony with the natural world. The idylls of early 19th-century Romanticism and the unshakeable optimism of Victorian England color our expectations of Britain today. William Blake’s Jerusalem, of course, was one idyll of the Romantic. But what if those dark, satanic mills weren’t so bad? What if, in fact, they were the New Jerusalem?…

The heroes of this 1877 mining disaster in Wales worked doggedly to free their coworkers trapped deep below the surface in rising flood waters.

Isambard Brunel’s railway was among his greatest engineering successes and established him as one of Victorian Britain’s brightest lights–one that continue to shine and inspire today.

The scars left behind by the collieries of Wales’ Rhondda Valley are beginning to heal, but some things never change. SCARCELY AN HOUR’S DRIVE WEST OF THE PRISTINE VILLAGES, PROSPEROUS COTTAGE GARDENS, AND SYLVAN LANDSCAPES OF THE COTSWOLDS LIES THE SOUTHERN WELSH county of mid-Glamorgan. Throngs of touring coaches, camera-wielding photojournalists, and well-heeled tourists don’t come here. These are the valleys of the Rhondda. Fanning out above the Welsh capital of Cardiff, these valleys are the coal fields of South Wales, narrow glens snaking their way south to north, from the Bristol Channel coast toward the Brecon Beacons. Every few…

Britain’s first ‘true’ railway, the Liverpool and Manchester, successfully connected one of England’s biggest ports with its largest textile manufacturer. This remarkable achievement was the first major link in the national rail network that eventually covered more than 6,000 miles and joined together all England’s major cities and ports. Britain now lavishes the same care on its industrial heritage as it once reserved for its castles and cathedrals. Honour, too, is now paid to its creators. Telford, a ‘new town’ in Shropshire, records the name of the founding father of modern civil engineering. But Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) is honoured,…