Full Steam Ahead

Full Steam Ahead

Series 1 - Episode 6



The expansion of the railway network transformed how and where we spent our free time. With much of the population working a six-day week, trips for pleasure became possible and so tiny coastal villages such as Swanage turned into thriving holiday resorts.

In the final episode the three historians discover what Victorians got up to on high days and holidays. But while Ruth Goodman does a little shopping (and visits the glorious St Pancras hotel) and Alex Langlands whizzes off in a steam car for a picnic, poor Peter Ginns is lumbered with the dirty jobs of locomotive inspector and boiler maker. “He’s never happier than when he’s covered in filth,” observes Ruth.


The team discover how the combination of increased leisure time and affordable rail transport brought a new kind of freedom for working-class Victorians. Ruth Goodman travels along the south Devon coast from Paignton to Kingswear, where she helps prepare a paddle steamer for a journey up the River Dart, while at Swanage, Peter Ginn finds out what it was like to work on the excursion trains and the impact mass tourism had on the area. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Ruth Goodman
Presenter Alex Langlands
Presenter Peter Ginn
Director Chris Mitchell
Editor Dominic Hutton
Editor Steve Brown
Executive Producer Nick Catliff
Producer Chris Mitchell
Producer Emma Randle-Caprez
Producer Georgina Stewart
Series Producer Stuart Elliott
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