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Lesson Transcript

Kellie: Hello and welcome back to Englishclass101.com
Gina: I’m your host Gina
Kellie: And I’m Kellie. This is Culture Class, Season 2, Lesson 10 - Top 5 Most Influential Thinkers in British Energy and Manufacturing
Gina: That’s a long title! I think we should start on this quickly as I have a premonition that there will be a lot of history to cover in this lesson…

Lesson focus

Kellie: I think you might be right! At number 5 is Ronald Bishop.
Gina: Bishop is famous for designing aeroplanes. In 1921 he joined The De Havilland Aircraft Company and worked there until he retired in 1964.
Kellie: He worked for only one company?
Gina: Isn’t that impressive? It was a good partnership for both Bishop and De Havilland though. Some of Bishop’s aeroplane designs became legendary.
Kellie: Oh? Like what?
Gina: He designed the Mosquito, which not only flew faster than even he expected but it was the fastest aircraft used in World War II for a full two and a half year period. Bishop’s designs helped win the aerial battle that took place during the war.
Kellie: What did he do after the war?
Gina: He designed the Comet, the first jet airliner and first jet to be in service across the Atlantic. He was also responsible for the first British plane that broke the speed of sound.
Kellie: Thanks to Rolls-Royce and BAE, Britain is still very important and influential in the aerospace industry now and it’s due to people like Bishop, isn’t it?
Gina: Yes. The current success is built upon and influenced by the past.
Kellie: Our number four is Richard Arkwright.
Gina: You mentioned that there would be some history in this lesson, and number 4 is going to prove you right.
Kellie: I like being right! Are we going back to the days of the Industrial Revolution?
Gina: We are. Probably the biggest and most influential event in British Energy and Manufacturing, and maybe even in worldwide energy and manufacturing was the Industrial Revolution so it’s only fair that we talk about it!
Kellie: I agree. What was Arkwright famous for?
Gina: In 1769 he patented the water-frame which was a machine to help with the production of cheap textiles. Along with some partners, he built the world’s first steam powered mill and installed several more across the country. He also patented the spinning-frame.
Kellie: It was inventions like this that really drove the spread of manufacturing during that time.
Gina: Yes, it made things easier and more efficient. Without that ease and efficiency, things wouldn’t have progressed the way they did. He was knighted in 1786.
Kellie: Does Arkwright still have a legacy now?
Gina: There was a lot of debate about his patents and whether he actually designed the things he was credited with. Eventually, the patents were taken away from him.
Kellie: Wow. I’ve heard of the Arkwright Scholarships Trust though, is that related to him?
Gina: Yes, it was set up in his honour and supports teenagers in their education and helps them enter engineering courses.
Kellie: That’s good to hear. Now, onto number three – Thomas Newcomen.
Gina: We’re going even further back in history now! Newcomen was born in 1664 and had a multitude of jobs. Most important to us are his jobs as an ironmonger and inventor, but he was also a Baptist priest.
Kellie: That’s interesting! He must have been very busy!
Gina: I guess so! Our interest really lies in his inventions though. He developed the world’s first steam engine in 1712.
Kellie: Steam power was very important for manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution. It powered the machines and made the work easier.
Gina: Yes. And for nearly 75 years it was Newcomen’s steam engine that was used throughout the UK and Europe. By 1775, around 600 of his steam engines had been produced.
Kellie: That’s a long time for one product, one machine, to be in use.
Gina: It was inevitable that eventually somebody would make something better and that happened when James Watt developed an engine that was more cost effective that Newcomen’s. But, Newcomen’s was still the first!
Kellie: That can never be changed!
Gina: Are we going to get more modern with number 2?
Kellie: We are, although some of our listeners may be slightly confused by our choice to begin with.
Gina: Why’s that?
Kellie: Because number two is not really a name that is linked with energy and manufacturing, but hopefully we can find out why number 2 is so high on the list.
Gina: Who is it?
Kellie: Number two is former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Gina: Aha! I see what you mean! Yeah, Thatcher was UK Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and before her political career she was a barrister. However, she had an immense influence on energy and manufacturing during her time as PM and it shaped the industries we have today.
Kellie: Privatisation, right?
Gina: Privatisation. So many major companies were nationalised, government owned, before Thatcher came to power. The entire energy industry was too. One by one she privatised them all and raised billions in the process.
Kellie: Which companies did she privatise?
Gina: To name just a few, there were BP, British Aerospace, British Steel and Rolls-Royce. We’ve covered some of those names in the previous lessons. Also, the gas, electric and water industries were privatised.
Kellie: Was privatisation a good thing or a bad thing?
Gina: It depends on who you ask, really! For the energy companies and consumers it was good as it opened up the market. However, for the coal industry and companies like British Steel it was a near disaster.
Kellie: Thatcher targeted the coal mines anyway and closed many of them, didn’t she? I remember hearing about the miner’s strikes and how towns and villages that lived off the money the mines earned and the jobs they provided were destroyed by the closures.
Gina: Yes, that’s true. The British coal industry is almost non-existent now.
Kellie: I think we should move onto number 1 – George Stephenson. The Father of Railways, right?
Gina: Yes! Without Stephenson’s railways, manufacturing would have ground to a halt. He built the first railway that operated without animal power in 1820 and was able to build railways and trains that could take the weight of what needed to be moved.
Kellie: There’s no point in manufacturing goods if you can’t transport them! You also need to be able to get the raw materials so the railways were essential.
Gina: And Stephenson was essential. He was asked to build many different railway lines and the first Americans to build railways even came to Britain to ask for his advice and expertise!
Kellie: His reputation really travelled far!
Gina: Stephenson’s fingerprints are still all over the railways now as most tracks worldwide use a standard gauge and it was Stephenson who created this very gauge. Without him, manufacturing worldwide would have stalled.
Kellie: No wonder he is number one!
Gina: Thoroughly deserved I think!
Kellie: Me too!
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Kellie: And that’s all for this lesson, so see you next time!
Gina: See you!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Hi Listeners! In your opinion, who would be the number 6?!

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:43 PM
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Hello Nyan,

Thanks for taking the time to write to us! 😄

We are constantly updating the lessons on our site so please stay tuned! 👍

We hope you continue to enjoy your studies with us.



Team EnglishClass101.com

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:13 PM
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Hello Pablo,

Thank you so much for your kind message! 😇❤️️

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.

Kind regards,


Team EnglishClass101.com

Tuesday at 02:41 AM
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Great lesson to learn more about the history, and to continue learning English.


Nyan Soe
Friday at 01:06 AM
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may be James Watt

Wednesday at 12:25 PM
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Hi there Ahmed,

Glad this lesson was right up your alley!

Thank you for sharing!! It's great to have you on board with us!

If you ever have any questions regarding your studies, please let me know.



Team EnglishClass101.com

Ahmed tecnician
Sunday at 08:04 PM
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Hi! specially I had blast for this lesson because I worked as Engineer so then anything about engineering i am keen for that also am wish that i will one best student of this 101.com