Welwyn author reveals 19th century innovations

Inginious Victorians

Inginious Victorians - Credit: Archant

A Welwyn author has published a book exploring the genius of Victorian inventors

John Wade, once deputy editor of the Welwyn Hatfield Times, has researched how 19th century boffins were responsible for the world’s largest glass structure, an underwater railway, and even cameras disguised as bower hats.

Among the visionaries whose stories he tells is Sir Edward Watkin, who started digging a tunnel under the English Channel in 1880, completing nearly two miles before it was abandoned.

The Ingenious Victorians, a 288-page illustrated paperback, reveals “safety coffins” designed to prevent premature buuriel, and unusual medical uses of electricity.

Mr Wade also explains how Marc Brunel, father of the famous Isambard Kingdom Brunel, dug a tunnel under the Thames, the first under a navigable river in the world.

His book also tells the stories of two well known London landmarks, Tower Bridge, and the Victoria Tower at the Houses of Parliament.

Mr Wade told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Most of my previous books have been concerned with classic cameras and photographic history, but I have always had an interest in the Victorians and the sheer ingenuity of their age.”

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The Ingenious Victorians is published by Pen & Sword Books for £14.99.

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