Press Centre

The Wonder of Britain

  • Episode: 

    2 of 5

  • Title: 

    Our Industrial Story
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Tue 13 Jan 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 03 2015 : Sat 10 Jan - Fri 16 Jan
  • Channel: 

The information contained herein is strictly embargoed from all press, online and social media use, non-commercial publication, or syndication until Tuesday 6 January 2015.
“I went to school right here in Sheffield, one of Britain’s great industrial cities.  If I had been standing here 250 years ago I’d be looking out at rolling fields, stretching on as far as the eye can see. But then something happened, a spark ignited that fuelled a revolution.  One that would change our landscape, and culture forever.” Julia Bradbury
Episode two - Our Industrial Story 
A brand new series for ITV celebrates some of the most impressive natural and manmade wonders that make Britain great.  Julia Bradbury embarks on a stunning 12,000-mile journey around the country to some of Britain’s most spectacular locations and chooses some of the greatest assets she believes we should be most proud of.  
Taking in our industrial, natural and royal heritage, Julia’s scope encompasses rolling countryside, dramatic coastline, bird-filled archipelagos and deep dizzying gorges to beautifully eclectic buildings; from grand stately homes to cramped industrial era terraces.  She investigates our industrial past and learns about how our engineering achievements re-shaped the world.  Beautifully captured using the latest cameras and technology, combined with aerial and time-lapse photography, the Wonder of Britain is vividly brought to life.
In episode two, Julia looks at our industrial story.  Without coal, the revolution would never have taken place. And Julia visits the Caphouse Colliery in Yorkshire, which operated continuously for two centuries before closing in 1985.  She meets fourth generation miner Gerry Starkey who spent nearly 40 years working underground and shows her the conditions he used to work in.   Until 1842, mining was a family affair and children as young as six worked in the mines with their parents.  Gerry takes Julia 460 feet underground to show how early miners worked in spaces less than two feet high and how families would pull together.  
Julia then visits the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct, the longest of Britain’s 370 aqueducts which joined a canal network with 3000 bridges, 1500 locks and more than 50 tunnels.   Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is 1000 foot of cast iron and stone, which holds over a million and a half litres of water 126 feet above the River Dee.  Julia boards a narrowboat to cross the aqueduct for an incredible view of the river below.   It was the tallest and longest cast iron aqueduct in the world when it opened and allowed horse drawn carts to travel from England into North Wales with ease, transforming this part of Britain forever.  
In Hampshire, Julia visits the Watercress Line, as she explores the history of Britain’s stream railways.  Opened in 1865, the line connected rural Hampshire to the heart of London and got its name from the locally grown watercress, which it carried into the city.   British railways were built on a grand scale, leaving the landscape with a legacy of stunning architecture and design.
Julia then looks at the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the British engineer who revolutionised Britain.  She explores one of his greatest achievements, the ss Great Britain, which was the largest ship on the planet in its day.   
Julia says: “It is quite scary up here, and we are in a dock, not moving, it must be absolutely petrifying to be working on a rig like this out there in the open seas.  And imagine all those centuries ago, no safety, no harnesses, just dangling off all of this.”
The genius of the SS Great Britain lay under the waterline.  It was the first iron-hulled ship which was driven by a propeller, rather than traditional paddles.  Brunel revolutionised sea travel and the SS Great Britain became the model for nearly all modern-day ships.  
Julia says: “Victorian engineers like Brunel were obsessed with not only building bigger but also more beautiful.  Art, science and innovation all went hand in hand to create these objects of national pride.  Look at the name of this ship, SS Great Britain.  What an advert!  And this sense of civic pride had an impact on everything.”
Next she visits Manchester Town Hall, a building that impresses from the outside and makes even more of a statement inside.  The hall celebrates both the well-known names in industry, as well as the 110,000 people employed in Lancashire’s cotton mills.  
In New Lanark Julia discovers a cotton mill with a difference.  Founded in 1786, the rural location offered a breath of fresh air to its workers and its pioneering manager, Robert Owen, had the idea of turning the factory town into a model community.  He transformed the working conditions of the workers and opened the world’s first free nursery school.  
Julia rides the lift to the top of Blackpool tower, which was modelled on the Eiffel Tower and opened in 1894.  The tower took three years to build and used nearly 2500 tons of steel.  When it opened it contained a ballroom, an aquarium, roof gardens and circus full of animals.   She helps to chip off the layers of paint, in an effort to control the continual rust that affects the tower.  
Finally, Julia heads home to Sheffield to the location of the world’s first ever football club.  Sheffield FC played in Bramall Lane and stepped out on the field for the first time, just over 150 years ago. Today, Sheffield United play at the ground.
Julia says: “Football is the sport that is watched by billions and it all kicked off here.  Being here you realise why this is such a crazily addictive sport. And isn’t it great that along side our railways, our canals our town halls and our great ships this is a part of our invention story. A true wonder of Britain.”