Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The timing of inventions

I am currently hard at work writing my regency duo. i wanted to include a bit about the railways and their beginnings. After all, George and Robert Stephanson were from the Tyne Valley. I started out by thinking about the Rainhill competition in 1829 for the Liverpool Manchester railway. It was at the opening of the Liverpool- Manchester railway that there was the first railway fatality when an MP did not heed warnings and climbed down from the coach...But this is really strictly speaking that funny time between Georgian and Victorian. William IV. A thoroughly interesting period and one I am very fond of but it is not strictly speaking Regency.
Then I thought, let's move the clock back earlier The first public railway was the Darlington Stockton railway completed in 1825, but the amazing thing for me was that over 200 miles of rails existed at that point in time. In the North East, people had begun to see the possibilities of steam locomotives.
I went further back. George Stephanson first perfected the steam locomotive in 1814 and this is FINALLY the date I am going for. Even then, he was not the first to have a travelling engine, he built on the Trevick engine and a number of other engines, but his My Lord engine was the first to use rails and grooved rather than ratcheted wheels. The development of the railways was also enhanced by the development of wrought iron which meant the iron rails could actually hold the weight of the engine. It was pretty much the start of locomotive fever in the North East of England.
Sometimes, I think that people consider the Regency period to be the last bastion before industrialization when in fact, the vast majority of the inventions were happening and the world was changing rapidly.
I shall have to make another trip to Beamish. Their waggonway exhibition is wonderful. You get a real sense of the period. They often have a wood fire going in the station. And the third oldest surviving engine in the world is there. The other two are in the Science museum in London and I think in Glasgow, but I can't be bothered to look it up. They look a bit different to today's notion of a steam engine.
Anyway the wip is going better now that I have discovered that the whole things reads better if I swap the first two scenes. My ever so lovely cp made the suggestion and it does up the emotional tension for all concerned.

My children are all excited about the publication of Harry Potter. My eldest has loved the books since the first one came out in paperback. Apparently on JK Rowling's website, she disproves some of the more outlandish theories on her website -- including Dumbledore being Ron or Harry returned from the future!


Kate Hardy said...

There's another museum that isn't too far from you - the National Railway museum at York.

(I recommend the science museum, though. And we loved Beamish. Even though my DH and youngest managed to get lost...)

Donna Alward said...

Speaking of HP, we're on the last few chapters of The Prisoner of Azkaban.

I have a the books and movies get scarier as they go on? Because my girls are 9 and 7 and I don't know if I should wait to read them more or not.

And your wip is going to be brilliant. I responded to your characters right away. :-)

D xx

Michelle Styles said...

I have spent many happy hours at the National railway museum -- the consequence of having two boys who were train mad! The another excellent museum in York is the YorkCastle museum. I prefer these two to the Jorvik because you can wnader through at your leisure rather than taking a ride...

I should say that I love and adore museums. they are such fum to visit.

Donna --
After HP 3, they do get a tad darker BUT mine all coped with the books. It is all very PG. These are children's books, not adult books masquerading as children's books.
My dh read the books out loud to my youngest, starting when he was about 6. He is planning to read the last one out loud as well because it is a tradition. FWIW

And lol about my wip. It will be good once it has gone through the process...

Unknown said...

I studied the Industrial Revolution at school and it is a fascinating period. The history of iron and steelmaking is also fascinating (which I ended up studying as part of my degree as well).

Donna - I would suggest the girls read the books first and then maybe saw the films. The books do get darker but, as Michelle says, they are childrens books.

Jen Black said...

I expect you've already been to Shildon as well as Beamish and York?