Railways: The Making of a Nation

Food and Shopping

Series 1 - Episode 5 Food and Shopping



You may recall a BBC4 series last year along similar lines to this called Canals: the Making of a Nation. Social historian Liz McIvor now extends her theory to railways, exploring how the spread of rapid transport across Britain in the 19th century helped catalyse social change and bring different regions (and classes) closer together.

In a way, the programme does the opposite, since the BBC1 English regions will see different episodes tonight, then the series as a whole will unfurl for all of us starting tomorrow on BBC4 at 8pm. Check your listing pages to find out which part of the story your region gets to see first.


Thanks to the advent of rail, moving produce around at speed suddenly became possible, allowing fresh meat, wet fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables to be widely available. With a new system of rapid transport it was now possible for London to enjoy food supplies from all corners of the nation. As Liz McIvor reveals, Victorian men and women developed a taste for one particular dish that would be popular with the masses for generations to come - fish and chips.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Liz McIvor
Producer George Henton
Series Producer Andy Richards