In Victorian times, Britain was famous for producing things; it was known as ‘the workshop of the world’. I’m travelling to York to find out how this industrial past is still important for a newer industry: tourism.
Before planes, trains and cars, this was one of the best ways to travel.
Rivers and canals played a very important role during the Industrial Revolution. Barges like this were the lorries of their day, transporting coal to the factories and finished products around the country. Now they’re used for leisure and many canals have become a focus for cafés, restaurants and art galleries.
Amandeep: Thank you for the lift.
Bargee: Thank you. Bye-bye.
Amandeep: Steam trains replaced the canal boats and became great symbols of Britain’s industrial past. And they’re still attracting tourists from around the world today.
There is a huge collection of them here at the National Railway Museum.
The museum has its own work shed where engineers restore these incredible machines to their former glory.
Amandeep: Chris, how much work goes into restoring these trains?
Chris: Well, there’s a lot of work involved. We work on them virtually every day, repairing them and maintaining them to make sure they can operate properly and safely.
Amandeep: Why is it important to keep them and show them?
Chris: Basically, it’s important educationally to show the young generation of how railways used to operate in older days, so it’s a link from the past that’s brought to life in present day.
Amandeep: Like so much of Britain, these streets are full of history. This is the old part of the City of York. Tourists love to come and experience this historic area.
Woman 1: I think visitors come to Britain because of the shopping and the history.
Man 1: It is actually a very nice country, you know. Lots of historical places in Britain.
Man 2: I think visitors come to Britain for the culture, for the historic sites and because it’s different from anywhere else in the world.
Near to York Castle, there’s a museum that's created a street from the past.
Wow, this is like stepping back in time! I’m actually in a Victorian street museum. Visitors come here to travel back around 130 years. Natalie Kingston is a guide here and dresses up for her role.
Amandeep: Why do you think people like to visit this old street?
Natalie: I think people like to visit this street because it recreates the past. It was the first ever recreated street in the world. It was built in 1938.
Amandeep: What reactions do you get to being dressed up?
Natalie: The most common reaction to being dressed up is that people want to take photos of you and they like to have photos taken with you. People ask a lot more questions when you’re dressed up. Not just about the costume, but also about the street and everything in it.
Amandeep: Being here, I really do feel like I’ve been transported back in time.