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Cheltenham to Wolverhampton

On the final leg of his journey from Southampton to Wolverhampton, Michael Portillo's first destination is the elegant spa town of Cheltenham, where he discovers a very early locomotive carriage which ran not on rails but on the road, and he is lucky enough to get behind the wheel.

His next stop is the medieval town of Tewkesbury, scene of a grisly battle during the Wars of the Roses. Armour-plated and sword at the ready, Michael joins a group of re-enactors for a taste of the action. Mercifully unscathed, he makes tracks for Droitwich to find out about how a lowly boatman became the King of Salt and lived in a beautiful chateau, an unexpected sight in the Midlands countryside.

Michael's journey ends in Wolverhampton, where he hears Queen Victoria made an emotional visit which signalled the end of her exile from public life after mourning her husband, Prince Albert. He learns how the townspeople showed off their talents to the queen, among them the lost art of Japanning, a speciality of Wolverhampton.

29 minutes

On TV

Next Wednesday 19:30

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterMichael Portillo
Series ProducerAlison Kreps
Executive ProducerJohn Comerford

Steam Railways Collection

Steam Train

A collection of programmes from the BBC archives on the beauty of steam locomotives.