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Technology and Transport

This section deals with the practicalities of Victorian life – things like the modes of transport and communication available. It can't hope to be encyclopedic, and to really get a thorough grounding you should read some of the many excellent books of the period, but it will help you avoid anachronisms like having your character make telephone calls or taking the underground railway.

Within London, horse drawn omnibuses are very common. Private horse-drawn carriages are used by the wealthy, along with the Hansom cabs perfect for a short trip across town to the Theatre. The Thames is also used for transport, by 1860 it was full of very large steamboats which could convey a large number of passengers. These were used mostly to bring people in and out of London, as by this time, smaller boats are used for trips across the city.

The 1860s saw a massive growth in the railways, the stations in the heart of the city being built and expanded in this decade. The Victoria and Charing Cross stations have recently been built, and the grand project of the new underground lines is now underway, much to the consternation of the general populace. The addition of a large number of suburban lines was more to their liking, though the increase in stations in the centre caused a great deal of problems for the traffic flow.

Gas is the primary source of light and heat for cooking in the homes that can afford it. Coal is used to heat the house, a large contribution to the foul choking smog that often hangs over the city. Mains water has been installed throughout the city, although households in their thousands still had to depend on standpipes or pump for their water supply, often badly contaminated and a source of frequent cholera outbreaks.


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