Year of the Pier Lecture Series: Rails to the Seaside with Richard Furness

Event Start Date:
16 November 2023
Event End Date:
16 November 2023
Event Venue:

This talk explores the symbiotic relationship between the growth of railways and the development of British seaside towns. From 18th century health resorts, places on the coast witnessed a dramatic upsurge in visitor numbers as the railway network expanded from the 1840s. As industrialisation changed society, the seaside became a counterpoint to the growth of manufacturing towns and cities and was very much part of the same technological progress. The ironwork that defined the Victorian era was ever-present at the seaside, most obviously in the construction of piers. As a world leader in railway technology, Britain also exported the concept of the ‘day-tripper’ to most other countries.

Dr Richard Furness has been interested in railways from his earliest recollections. During his career as a chartered engineer, with an international reputation in the field of flow measurement and fluid flow, he lectured across the globe and worked as a UN technology consultant. In 1995 he began collecting railway posters, a passion which led him to catalogue those in national archives and write the ten-volume ‘Poster to Poster’ book series. It is this series that forms
the basis of the NPS exhibition, Piers on Posters, that has been touring throughout the 2023 Year of the Pier.

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