Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter

Brilliant British feats of engineering

Jessie Brown

The London Underground is not the only great British engineering achievement.

Fastest car in the world

Speed ... this is the fastest car in the world and has been since 1997.

TODAY is the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground system, a great engineering feat which impressed the globe and is now the world’s oldest underground network. But this is not the only amazing engineering moment in the history of Britain. We love inventing things and often don’t get any credit…so give a round of applause to these often forgotten British innovations.

1. The fastest car in the world: Despite how much British people enjoy queuing we also like to go really, really fast sometimes. The Coventry Transport Museum is home to the world’s fastest car- the ThrustSCC. It holds the Land-Speed record after it drove through the sound barrier in 1997…WOW! Take a look:

2. The world’s first passenger train: Manchester is home to the world’s first passenger train…to everyone commuting via train to campus or work today and no doubt thanking Britain for the invention of the train, you are most welcome! In fact the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was built in 1830 and was the world’s first passenger railway as well.

3. Seven Wonders of the Waterways: The longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel in Britain is actually one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways in the world. The Standedge Tunnel was built about 200 years ago, taking a total of 16 years to complete the three and half mile-long canal. It is located just under the Pennines between Diggel and Marsden in England.

4. The largest bell foundry in the world: Forget Quasimodo, Britain is the place to learn about bells. What is a bell foundry? This refers to the place where the bells are made. The John Taylor Bellfounders has been casting bells in Leicestershire since the 13th century, making it the oldest in the world.

5. The oldest turning shed in the world: The garden shed is a bit of an institution in the UK, especially for men. So it is no surprise the oldest surviving turning shed in the world is located here…in Derby. A turning shed is where a train would end its journey and be turned to go back the same direction for the return journey. Of course these days the train just has a control carriage at each end but in the 30s this was the iPhone of the train world.

Leave us a comment if you know of any other GB achievements which should make the list.

Back to more UK Culture