Airport Expansion and 19th Century Ports

Jonathan Freedland compares the controversy over airport expansion now with the 19th century battle of the sea ports, examining how we should determine where Britain's gateway to the world should be.

Bristol had been a major port since the Middle Ages but, with the advent of travel by steam ship, Liverpool steals a march on its West Country competitor. Though engineered in Bristol, Brunel's ground-breaking SS Great Britain steam ship made its maiden voyage from Liverpool. But in the long term, it's Southampton that eventually reigns supreme.

As debates continue to rage over a third runway at Heathrow, the proposed 'Boris Island' airport and other options, Jonathan asks what we can learn from the Victorian approach.

Jonathan and guests visit the SS Great Britain - then travel on to the Cunard Building in Liverpool - to debate the issues. He's joined by Andrew Lambert, Professor of Naval History at King's College, Dr Lucy Budd, Lecturer in Transport Studies at Loughborough University, Paul Leblond, a former director of BAA and John Twigg, Planning Director of Manchester Airports Group. Readings are provided by Bristol Old Vic regular Christian Rodska and Liverpool based actor Neil Caple.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

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28 minutes

Last on

Tue 13 Nov 2012 21:30

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