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The idea of excursions to distant places became popular from the 1840s onwards, as people began taking day trips and seeing parts of the country they had never seen before. However, it wasn't all sun, sea and sand - some excursion trains were set up to satisfy the public's desire to witness public executions and bare-knuckle prize fighting; other lines transported people to enjoy horse racing and sporting events.Thousands visited resorts, spa towns and the coast, and a new wave of Victorian tourists spent their money on holidays and visited hotels at train stations and beyond. The ultimate experience was often to head to the hills and sample clean air, far away from the industrial grime and pollution, and working-class northerners now had access to the beautiful Lake District.Historian Liz McIvor explores how Britain's expanding rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and through to modern times. A fast system of transportation shaped many areas of our industrial nation - from what we eat to where we live, work and play. The railways generated economic activity but they also changed the nature of business itself. They even changed attitudes to time and how we set our clocks! Our railways reflected deep class divisions, but they also brought people together and helped forge a new sense of national identity.

Episode Title: The Age Of Leisure
Airs: 2016-10-13 at 20:00