Seven wonders of the industrial world

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Seven wonders of the industrial world

Seven wonders of the industrial worldBy Ethan Lees1Seven Wonders of the Industrial Worldis a 7-part Britishdocumentary/docudramatelevision mini seriesthat originally aired from September 4, 2003to October16,2003onBBC. The programme examines seven engineering feats that occurred during theIndustrial Revolution.2The Great Eastern This episode focuses on the construction of the SS Great Eastern, designed by Isembard kingdom Brunelto be both the firstshipentirely made out of iron and the most luxurious vessel of the day. However, while the ship itself was a marvel of shipbuilding, its construction was slowed by accidents, scandal and misfortune, including a destructive fire which practically destroyed the shipbuilder's yard, problems with the launch and financial scandals, all of which would contribute towards Brunel's deteriorating health and comparatively early demise in 1859 and the popular belief that the ship was 'jinxed' (a rumour leading to the legend of two bodies being found trapped in the hull upon its dismantling).

3The Brooklyn Bridge

Focusing on the construction of the Brooklyn bridge, the episode examines the family that built it -John Augustus Roebling, who designed the bridge; his son,Washington Roebling, who took over construction following his father's death shortly after the project was announced; and Washington's wifeEmily Roebling, who taught herself engineering principles and took on the burden of her husband's work after his health was destroyed by thedecompression sicknesshe suffered, owing to the length of time he spent working and overseeing matters in the pressured atmosphere of the underwatercaissonused to build the bridge.

4Bell Rock Lighthouse

This episode tells the story of the construction in the early 19th century of the offshorelighthouseonBell Rock, by the Scottish engineer Robert Stevenson. Bell or Inchcape Rock was a place which had claimed the lives ofsailorsand sank ships for hundreds of years, but which was underwater except for a couple of hours at low tide each day - causing difficulties in both constructing a design that would stand up to the terrible storms and waves that ravaged the area, and in actually constructing it during the few months of fair weather that were available each year, while at the same time holding the builders who worked on it.5The Sewer King

Set in London during the 1850s, this episode focuses on the construction of theLondon sewerage system, built to replace the antiquated medieval system that was overworked and inadequate for the needs of the-then largestmetropolisin the world, causingepidemicsof disease and a permanent foul stench to fill the air. The episode follows the efforts and work ofJoseph Bazalgette, the brilliant engineer who designed the influential and modern sewer system that would purify the city, transform the streets above and would result in the end of the epidemics ofcholeraandtyphoidthat had ravaged the population.6The Panama Canal

This episode presents the French and American efforts to build acanalthroughPanamato link theAtlantic Oceanwith thePacific Ocean. The first attempt to construct the canal byFerdinand de Lesseps, the builder of theSuez Canal, was abandoned because of tropical diseases (which killed over 22,000 men) and the difficulty of constructing a sea-level canal through the mountains. The resulting financial scandals not only ruined de Lesseps and many investors, it also brought down the French government. The episode then takes up the story seventeen years later when the United States took up the challenge. A concentrated effort succeeded in eradicating the causes of the tropical diseases, but the attempt to build a sea-level canal once again failed. Instead the canal was built with locks.7The First Transcontinental Railroad

The episode follows the construction of thePacific Railroad, the first transcontinentalrailsystem, which would unite the eastern and western seaboards of the United States. Started inSacramentoby a consortium of local shopkeepers with no experience in building a railroad, the episode follows their efforts to build from west to east through the forbiddingSierra Nevadamountains with the help of Chinese labourers whilst simultaneously following the efforts of the workers of theUnion Pacificto build from east to west, and their problems in dealing with the lawless nature of thewild west, attacks byNative Americanraiding parties, and financial corruption and scandal.8The Hoover Dam

The final episode focuses on the construction of theHoover Damduring theGreat Depressionof the 1930s, in particular on the ruthless pace set byFrank Crowe, the builder, whose eagerness to complete the project well before schedule and subsequent exploitation of the workforce (who were desperate for any employment and were forced to accept conditions of extreme hardship in the process) would result in both many deaths and the eventual construction ofa new cityto house the workers.9infoThe movie cost around $2 million to make and produce. The running time of all seven movies is 350 minutes (about 6 hours) and all have at least 1 casualty(death) in them. These structures are truly amazing.10Pics


12quizWhat is the name of the ship?A)The Great WesternB)The Great EasternAnswer: B13How many people died in the making of the Panama Canal?A)25,000B)27,000C)22,000Answer: C14How much did the series cost in pounds?A)3 MillionB)2 MillionC)1 MillionAnswer: C15END I hope you enjoyed my P.H.P. We may watch an episode later!16