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A futuristic vision: the advance of technology leads to rapid transport, sophisticated tastes among the masses, mechanization, and extravagant building projects. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1829.
[ca. May 1829]
Rapid transport: passengers travel on a model horse driven by steam; a postman equipped with wings travels by air; a steam-powered waggon travels between Bath and London in six hours; a pneumatic tube takes passengers from Greenwich Hill to Bengal; there is a suspension bridge between Bengal and Cape Town; a giant flying fish takes convicts from England to New South Wales; Irish emigrants are fired from a cannon; etc. Mechanization: boot-polishing and shaving are powered by steam; bodies are lifted by crane up on the roof of a church for burial in order to foil body-snatchers Sophisticated tastes among the masses: dustmen eat icecream and pineapples; cat's meat is called "delicate viands for quadrupeds"; a street-vendor sits under a tasselled parasol reading fiction. A tombstone marking the grave of the "Select Vestry" is decorated with dining implements, implying that the introduction of local government elections will stop aldermen etc. from extravagant dining at public expense Extravagant building projects: Marble Arch and Buckingham Palace; a church with Chinese, Indian and Gothic features; literally building castles in the air to pay off the national debt
By William Heath using the pseudonym Paul Pry, represented by a vignette of Paul Pry
March of intellect. "Lord how this world improves as we grow older." [Paul Pry] Esq.re del.
Wellcome Library no. 37252i