Researching the 1850s and thus the Victorian era has been eye opening for me so far. Everything I thought I knew from general knowledge and a good BBC drama has disappeared in front of my eyes. So here’s a comprehensive rundown of:
‘Did it exist in 1850? Round 1’: Transportation
Although bicycles were patented in the 1840s, ironically bicycle bells were not to be invented until 1887 by John Dedicoat. So, possibly the sound of bike wheels was a thing in the Victorian soundscape but, unfortunately no bike bells.
In an attempt to find a contemporary mode of transportation, I researched the infamous Penny Farthing. As it turns out, these beautiful but impractical machines were not invented until the 1870s. Once again, I drew a blank…
To me, a thing of steampunk beauty is the Grenville Steam Carriage. But alas, it was not to be as this mode of transport wasn’t invented by Robert Neville Grenville until 1875!
‘What did York have?’, you may ask. Well, they had horse drawn busses. Is it as cool as a Grenville Steam Carriage…arguably not. It is infinitely useful for the soundscape though!
Finally, trains! Steam trains to be exact. Trains came to York in the early 1840s. By the 1850s there were thirteen trains a day between York and London accounting for 341,000 passengers per year. Trains also brought with it the first heavy industry to the city. For York, the trains signalled the start of its industrial revolution.