History KS3 & KS4/GCSE: The world that railways made

In the middle of the 19th century, railways began to multiply across the whole country.

It started an engineering boom the likes of which the world had never seen before. For the first time, cities the length and breadth of Britain were connected; railways had brought the world closer together.

However, they could also be an incredible destructive force, driving people from their homes and ripping up land to make way for new lines.

This clip is from the series Locomotion: Dan Snow's History of Railways.

Teacher Notes

Students could try to think of facilities which are important to their life, for example roads, fresh water, or the internet.

See if you can agree a list of the ten most important. Do railways come on the list?

The class could then make similar lists for Britain in 1750, 1800, 1850, 1900. Where does the railway feature in these?

Curriculum Notes

This clip is suitable for teaching History at KS3 and GCSE/KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4 and in Scotland.

More from Locomotion: Dan Snow's History of Railways

How to build a railway
Life before railways
Liverpool to Manchester - the world’s first modern railway
The Stockton and Darlington Railway