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Sunday, 26 April 2009

Steaming into History

My Footsteps feature for this month’s BBC History magazine is on the Manchester Museum of Science and History (MOSI.) The museum is crammed with relics from the steam age such as textile machinery and locomotives. This year MOSI is celebrating a British day to remember: it’s the centenary of the first ever all-British flight. An A V Roe triplane made history on 13 July 1909 when it flew for 30 metres.

Even the site of MOSI is hallowed ground for railway enthusiasts; it was once home to the Liverpool St station of the pioneering Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which first opened on Wednesday 15 September, 1830. On the railway’s opening day a cavalcade of locomotives, including the Northumbrian, North Star, and Stephenson’s Rocket, travelled along the tracks to mark this grand day for Lancashire. Don’t forget, you can find out more about the railway and the story of the navvies who built it in my book Narrow Windows, Narrow Lives.

Image: Stephenson’s Rocket. Engraving from Samuel Smiles’s Lives of the Engineers: George and Robert Stephenson (John Murray, 1879.)

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