Societies have an uncanny ability to be seduced by the past.
Back in the Day, people say, and point to a Golden Age, where life was somehow simpler, or more interesting, or even more advanced. Things that the contemporary world can’t experience and imagine become romantic, and people look fondly upon past eras.
But I’m not dismissive. Although in my life I looked steadily ahead and forged the iron bones of a new future, I appreciated where I came from. My century laid the foundations of yours, and it’s a good thing, sometimes, to look back.
To be certain, the century had its tragedies and inequities, and more than enough of both. But it was also a time of giants! Engineering, art, literature, exploration, and politics, how we strove to push the boundaries of the world as we knew it. We often stumbled, it is true, and our record is best judged by the standards of our own times, and not yours. But good and bad, it was a fascinating time.
I invite you to accompany me on this Venture – this Adventure, I might suggest – into the exciting eras of change of the Industrial Revolution and Victorian times, both as they were and as they are (re)imagined today.
I remain, yrs. &c,
I. K. Brunel (Ghost)