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Railways & Transport

Key Texts

Geoffrey Alderman, 'The Victorian transport revolution', Historical Journal, 1971

Daniel Bell, ‘Dissolving distance: technology, space and empire in British Political thought, 1770-1900’, Journal of Modern History, 2005

S Engermann, 'Railways and economic growth in England and Wales 1840-1870. A new approach to railway history'. Business History, 1971

Michael Freeman, Railways and the Victorian imagination

Michael Freeman, 'The railway as a cultural metaphor: what kind of railway history? Re-visited', Journal of Transport History, 1999


Seminar Questions
  • What impact did the transport and communications revolution have on Victorian cities?
  • What contribution did railways make to the culture of Victorian cities?
  • What implication did the transport revolution have for the Victorian economy?
  • Which 'class' issues emerge from exploring the advances in transport and communications?
  • How was the transport revolution depicted in Victorian art and literature etc.
Suggested Films

The Railway Children (1970); The First Great Train Robbery (1978)


Further Reading

W Albert, The turnpike road system in Britain

D Aldcroft, Studies in British transport history

D Aldcroft and M Freeman (eds), Transport in the industrial revolution

G Alderman, The railway interest

P S Bagwell, The transport revolution from 1770

T Barker, An economic history of transport in Britain

Robert Barker, 'The metropolitan railway and the making of Neasden' Transport History, 1981

B Duckham, The transport revolution

J Francis, A history of the English railway: its social relations and revelations (1851)

M Freeman, Atlas of railway history

T R Gourvish, Railways and the British economy

G R Hawke, Railways and economic growth

R W Ireland, 'The railway and crime in the 19th century', Continuity and Change, 1997

R J Irving, 'The capitalisation of Britain's railways 1830-1914', Journal of Transport History, 1984

J R Kellett, The impact of railways on Victorian cities

Maurice Kirby, The Origins of Railway Enterprise: The Stockton and Darlington Railway, 1821-1863

F C Mather, 'The railways, the electric telegraph and public order during the Chartist period, 1837-48', History, 1953

Frank McKenna, 'Victorian railway workers', History Workshop Journal , 1976

Iwan Morus, 'The electric aeriel: telegraphy and commercial culture in early Victorian England', Victorian Studies 1996

H Parris, Government and the railways in 19th century Britain

H Perkin, The age of the railway

Douglas Reid, Douglas 'The Iron roads and the happiness of the working classes: the early development and social significance of the railway excursion', Journal of Transport History, 1996

J Richards and J McKenzie (eds), The railway station. A social history

J Simmons, The Victorian railway

James Taylor, ‘Business in pictures: representations of railway enterprise in the satirical press in Britain, 1845-70’, Past and Present, 2005