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Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 2

Image: Origins - Page Header

These are postings on the developments that have encouraged and helped people to explore their world. This is a personal selection and there are hundreds of others which could have been added on transport, marketing, media and other aspects of the subject. Over time the intention is to add-in further postings between those compiled earlier.

For postings about events before 1845 please go to Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 1 - see the list to the left.



Scroll down - New postings have been added!

Image: Martin Randall Tours

1988 Martin Randall Tours develops its distinctive cultural holidays operation out of an earlier art history-tour business.

Image: Leisure Learning Weekends

1976 Ind Coope Hotels adds a new product to its portfolio when it sets up its Leisure Learning programme. This will be an offshoot of its main hotels business, running special interest weekends in its British accommodation units. A range of interests are catered for from photography to history, fine wine to literary heritage. While staying a smaller operation than the dedicated escorted tour companies it will build a highly loyal customer base. The hotel group will become known as Embassy Hotels. Later in the face of further changes the Leisure Learning programme is spun off into the Heritage Club, operating through to 1999.

Image: Elderhostel founded

1975 The US organisation known as Elderhostel is founded. It will build up a major programme of special-interest, cultural tours for people aged over 60. The founders, David Bianco and Marty Knowlton, working at the University of New Hampshire, are inspired by the youth hostel movement in Europe. Knowlton had travelled in Europe and was impressed by the hostel concept, and also by the ways ib which older people there took part in educational programmes and were involved in community life.

They decide to run campus-based educational courses based at their institution. Bianco gives the name when he says that his university campus should not have youth hostels but elder hostels. Later they will branch out into overseas programmes of a wide range and will mainly use hotels, inns and other commercial premises. In 2010 they will become known as Road Scholar. They will also offer courses for people of any age, not just the over-60s.

Image: Page and Moy escorted tours

1961 Leon Page and Tony Moy set up the travel operation named after them. They take 24 people to see the Le Mans 24-hour car race. Page and Moy builds itself up into one of the UK's biggest escorted travel agencies running Reader Offers through Cycling Magazine and Women's Own. They will add third-party tours with the National Trust, The Telegraph newspaper, Walkers Crisps and Barclaycard, as well as opening a retail centre to sell directly to the public through their own brochure. In 2004 the business will be bought by Travelsphere. Reorganised under the Page and Moy Group brand they will then be the UK's largest escorted tour company.

Image: PGL Holidays

1956 Peter Gordon Lawrence sets up PGL Holidays as a commercial venture aimed at outdoor adventure education for school children

- also in 1956 the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is set up. Based on the Moray Badge scheme at Gordonstoun School in 1934 (and later the County Badge in Moray from 1941) it aims to foster skills in outdoor activities and leadershop.

Image: Peter Scott - TV programme Look

1954 BBC TV in Britain shows its first programme about wildlife by Sir Peter Scott. It is broadcast from Bristol, home of the BBC Natural History Unit. From 1955 it will be entitled 'Look'.

The same year the first Zoo Quest, presented by David Attenborough, is filmed in Sierra Leone, also by the Natural History Unit.

1952 Kurt Hahn opens the first German Outward Bound school in Schlosswissenhaus on the Baltic coast.

Image: National Parks in England

1951 The first National Parks are established in England and Wales for the Peak District, the Lake District and Snowdonia

1950 In the UK, Vladimir Raitz sets up Horizon Holidays to fly charter packages to the Mediterranean. His first is to Corsica and a resort using tents and some service buildings. His first year will see 300 people carried, but the aircraft-based holiday package is under way and will begin to dominate the overseas market.

Image: Field Studies Council

1946 The Field Studies Council, established in 1943, opens its first Study Centre in Flatford Mill, Suffolk. It aims to run Centres around Britain to encourage school children and students to study environmental subjects. A deeper aim is to break down ignorance of the countryside amongst town and city dwellers. The idea stemmed from the realisation by one of His Majesty's Schools Inspectors, Francis Butler, that wartime evacuees from London to Cambridgeshire were lacking in knowledge about rural communities and environments. With the help, amongst others, of the geography professor, Sidney Wooldridge, the FSC will create Centres around Britain in due course offering a wide range of subjects to short-stay residential groups.

Image: Outward Bound

1941 Concerned by the need for a fit and healthy population in time of war, a group of people in Britain set up the first of what will become a series of Outward Bound Centres. It is at Aberdovey on the Welsh coast. The movement is driven by Kurt Hahn, the German-born teacher who later moved to Britain where he founded Gordonstoun School in Scotland. Money comes from the Lawrence Holt and the Blue Funnel Line. Out of the work of Kurt Hahn will also come the Duke of Edinburgh's Award for outdoor activity and leadership.

Image: Futurama

1939 The New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows opens. Much bigger than the previous expositions it will have international pavilions but with was breaking out later in the year it will be affected. The Fair is different in that it attempts to look forward to the future rather than celebrate the past.

A notable pavilion is that by General Motors and called 'Futurama'. Rather than have a display centred on the company's latest automobiles it uses a 35,000-square foot model purporting to predict a city of twenty years later - 1960. This is designed by Norman Bel Geddes and is built by assembling 408 separate sections by George Wittbold and hundreds of craftspeople. The whole design is influenced by current predictions and styles such as the film 'Metropolis' by Fritz Lang and the work of the Bauhaus movement.

A 552-seat conveyor takes visitors round the edge of the model, giving precise control of the flow of viewers. A sound system provides commentary on what is to be seen. 2,150 people can be carried each hour, or approximately 28,000 per day.

After the war many bomb-damaged cities in Europe will attempt to build 'modern' cities using some of the ideas from the Futurama example, again influenced also by 'Metropolis' and the Bauhaus.

Image: Futurama - composite

Image: KLM flight handbook

1936 The Dutch airline KLM issues a high quality hardback book, complete with photographs and strip maps, to passengers on its Amsterdam to Batavia route. The service is a lifeline for the Dutch colonies in the Far East whose alternative transport route is the long sea voyage through the Suez Canal. The book gives great detail about the countries and cities along the route. The coloured route maps (extracts shown here are turned through 90 degrees) are modern equivalents to the strip maps describing roads in the sixteenth century.

Image: PTA Air tour

1932 The British The Polytechnic Touring Association makes its first trip to a destination by air. A party visits Switzerland using Imperial Airways. However by the end of the year the airplane company sees its profits coming from other business and does not renew the PTA contract. Low-cost touring by the Association has to revert to rail transport for some years.

Image: British YHA

1930 In Britain, a Youth Hostels Association is formed and opens its first hostel in Llanrwst, North Wales. However, a problem with a polluted water supply forces its closure the next year. During 1931 no fewer than 75 will be opened, though a fifth of them will not prove successful and close at the end of the year. Although the Second World War will lead to some decline the late 1940s will see recovery, with just over three hundred hostels being opened by 1950.

The YHA will, along with the International YHA, be a major force in helping people to travel and explore places, following up their outdoor hobbies and pursuits.

Image: Swallows and Amazons

1929 Arthur Ransome’s book for children is published called “Swallows and Amazons”. It s success will lead to him writing more in the series and help to create a new tourism sector – adventure sailing.

1925 Founding of the Woodcraft Folk, a non-militaristic, more informal version of the Scouting movement.

1924 The Holiday Caravan Company of Woodstock, Oxford, begins hiring out 36 Eccles caravans, the first such service in Britain.

1921 The Workers' Travel Association is set up in London. Over its 40+ year life span it will organise an extensive programme of educational visits abroad - mainly into Europe.

- In the USA a mutual-help organisation for users of recreational vehicles is started and given the whimsical title of Tin Can Tourists of the World.

1920 Horace Albright of the US National Parks Service hires a park ranger to give lectures, lead guided walks and field trips, produce a bulletin and run a small museum.

- (Also in 1920) The UK Ordnance Survey produces its first Tourist Map, of Snowden.

Image: Weimar Constitution

1919 Post-war Germany’s Weimar Constitution encourages the idea of the Schulwanderung (school journey) and the Wander-tag (expedition day) in Articles 142-150. The Mittelschule syllabus offers progressive expeditions leading up to 24-km hikes. Several schools have their own Schullandheime (school expedition centres).

- (Also in 1919) Steve Mather of the US National Parks Service observes guides at Lake Tahoe interpreting the area to visitors. Their organisers, Mr and Mrs Goethe, had drawn inspiration from a British field teacher working with heuristic methods at the Lake of the Four Cantons in Switzerland. ‘Heuristic methods’ are approaches to learning by doing, sometimes called “trial and error” methods, in which direct investigation by one means or another lead to discoveries and enhanced knowledge.

- for an excellent, detailed account of the development of environmental interpretation see Weaver, H, "Origins of Interpretation" in Sharpe, G (ed)(1982) "Interpreting The Environment" pp29-47, New York, John Wiley and Sons. The present pages will be expanded to illustrate the complex background to this historic development.

- (Also in 1919) Eccles Motor Transport Ltd of Birmingham begins production of a caravan selling at 300 (equivalent to 6,363 today). It is deliberately given a ‘cottage-style’ appearance. As with camping tents the development will be a move towards allowing people to explore places more flexibly. Caravanning will always be much more expensive than camping, however.

1918 The UK Ordnance Survey hires professional artist Ellis Martin to design covers for their main maps. This is part of a strategy to make their use common amongst walkers, cyclists and drivers. As such it plays an important part in supporting the growth of UK travelling and the understanding of places and people.

1916 The US National Parks Service is inaugurated. It will have an impact on rural tourism in setting up and improving visitor services. Conservation messages aimed at the general public will be put over via a range of interpretive media such as panels and guide-rangers. Much later, in the 1950s, Freeman Tilden will encapsulate the principles of interpretation in his book “Interpreting Our Heritage”. This will become one of pioneering books on the subject.

- (Also in 1916) The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry is founded by Ernest Westlake as an organisation similar to Scouting but without the perceptions of militarism. It has Ernest Thompson Seton as Honorary Grand Chieftain.

Image: Holiday Fellowship

1913 The Holiday Fellowship is launched with the aim of providing simple, inexpensive holidays. A plan for chalets at Mickleden in the Lake District will be turned down on conservationist grounds and some will be built instead at Wallsend with mains services and two-person units for accommodation. This simple pattern will appear again in holiday camps like those of Billy Butlin in 1936.

- (Also in 1905) The Federation of Rambling Clubs issues its first Rambler’s Handbook.

- (Also) By 1913 railways in Britain are carrying over 1400 million passengers a year. In 1842 it had been 22 million; in 1860 160 million.

Image: Coney Isand - fire re-enactment

1912 At Coney Island in New York one of the funfairs has a daily reconstruction set of the Great Fire of Chicago with a ‘re-enactment’ twice daily in which New York fire-fighters act out their roles. As with the Blackpool Naval Spectatorium (see below, 1910) and other shows at attractions these can be assumed to both satisfy a desire to know about the world and stimulate another desire to see the places for themselves.

1910 The Blackpool Pleasure Beach opens its “Naval Spectatorium”, a circular building using 360-degree projection and other methods to depict the US Civil War battle between the ships ‘Monitor’ and ‘Merrimac’. In the early 1920s the show will be converted to present the ‘Attack on Zeebrugge’ from World War I.

- (Also in 1910) James Paddock Taylor begins work on creating a 438-kilometre (272 miles) footpath from near Williamstown, Massachusetts to the Canadian border at North Troy, Vermont. On completion it will be called Vermont’s ‘Long Trail’. During the construction work at Stratton Mountain where Taylor conceived the idea one of the workers, Benton MacKaye, will be inspired to work towards a trail running the length of the Appalachian Mountains. This will become the 3,505km (2,178 miles) Appalachian Trail, not completed until 1936.

1909 The London Motor Show displays an Austin Caravan sleeping four including the chauffeur and chef who are to sleep in disguised bunks in the roof. It has dining space for six and a serving hatch from the kitchen. There is a telephone between the driving in the towing vehicle and the caravan. It costs 2,000 (equivalent to 114,000 in 2010).

Image: Boys Scouts - Humshaugh Camp

Image: Scouting Handbook

1908 Robert Baden-Powell begins the Boy Scout Movement officially following the previous year’s camp on Brownsea Island and the spontaneous growth of similar activities across the country immediately after it was publicised. “Scouting for Boys” begins publication on a fortnightly basis at a price of four (old) pence (approx 1.3p: equivalent value - 96p in 2010). In May the first official Scout Camp is held at Humshaugh in the Tyne valley. It is led by a Colonel Vaux running the Sunderland Scout Troop. Many participants are newsboys who are given money by Colonel Vaux to compensate them for loss of earnings. Halfway through they are joined by the Kangaroo Patrol of the 1st Hampstead Troop.

- (Also in 1908) Thomas Hiram Holding publishes the first Camper’s Handbook. As a child over fifty years before he had crossed the American prairies with his parents and drew on the experience.

Image: Burg Altena

1909 In Germany a teacher called Richard Schirrmann takes pupils on an eight-day hike from Altena to Aachen. Caught in a thunderstorm on 26 August he and his group take shelter in a schoolroom. The school's headmaster allows them to stay overnight and a farmer gives them milk and straw to act as bedding. During the night Schirrmann lies awake working out plans for a hostel system.

His children are from poor backgrounds and when he takes extended trips of more than a day hotels are out of the question. He therefore thinks of bunk beds for sleeping and simple meals. "The schools in Germany could very well be used to provide accommodation during the holidays. Villages could have a friendly youth hostel, situated a day's walk from each other, to welcome young hikers."

It is the beginning of the ‘Jugendherberge’ – the youth hostel movement, which will spread world-wide and enable people of all ages to travel at much lower cost. After writing an article in a newspaper donations are sent to Schirrmann from all over Germany to support his idea. At first he uses his own school as a hostel. The first building with a purpose-built hostel incorporated is Altena Castle – Burg Altena – where space is available. The castle has been derelict but in 1909 is being restored for anniversary celebrations. A permanent hostel is opened there in 1912. It is laid out according to his ideas, with two large rooms, one for boys, one for girls, with three-tier bunk beds. There is a day room, kitchen and washing room with showers. Schirrmann is the first warden, living in an apartment above the hostel. By 1913 there would be 83 hostels in Germany. Burg Altena has still got a hostel and the original rooms can still be seen, now only as part of the accommodation.

It is the beginning of the Jugendherberge – the youth hostel movement, which will spread world-wide and enable people of all ages to travel at much lower cost.

Shirmann said “Every forest, every valley, every flower, every mountain, every village and every city are separate pages of your Motherland. You should read these pages in your own experience and not in books”.

Image: Brownsea Island camp

1907 Robert Baden-Powell runs a camp in August on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour for boys from two contrasting backgrounds – prosperous and poor. Using ideas from his time in the army in Africa, from the Boys’ Brigade and also the American Woodcraft Indians begun in 1902 by Ernest Thompson Seton, the camp will inspire another world-wide movement, that of the Boy Scouts and later the Girl Guides. Exploration with adventure is the activity that drives it.

- (Also in 1907) Hagenbeck’s Zoo is founded in Hamburg. It sets out to show animals in representations of their natural settings.

- (Also in 1907) J Harris Stone founds the Caravan Club of Great Britain. Dr William Gordon Stables (see 1885) is Vice-President but is too frail now to take a direct interest – he dies in 1910.

- (Also in 1907) The Appalachian Mountain Club publishes the first edition of its 'White Mountain Guide'.

1906 J Fletcher-Dodd opens a ‘socialist holiday camp’ at Caister-on-Sea in Norfolk. It caters for family and is permanent (unlike the seasonal Cunningham Camp in the Isle of Man).

Image: 1905 Hale's Tours

Image: Hale's Tours

1905 - ‘Hale’s Tours of the World’ is opened in Kansas City. An audience of up to 72 ‘passengers’ sit in a mock-up of a Pullman carriage and sees through the end window a film of the forward view that is being projected onto a screen. To either side painted scenes on canvas unroll past windows to add to the impression of travelling and a steam whistle and the noise of the wheels on the track were added as effects. The carriage is rocked to simulate the railway-type movement. The device was first launched in Kansas City the previous year by George C Hale who had been the city’s fire chief. Each film lasted seven to ten minutes. Within a short time Hale has over 500 such shows in the United States and others as far apart as London, Paris, Berlin, Hong Kong and Melbourne as well as Kansas City. Hale will overstretch himself financially however and in 1908 the enterprise will fold.


For some people the experience might have substituted for travel, but like the earlier ‘sea journey’ shows Hales Tours probably inspired others to undertake real journeys. For many years throughout the twentieth century and beyond the filmed journey using a camera pointing forward on a locomotive or at angle out of a carriage window will be a popular entertainment. Examples will run from brief silent movies made before the First World War through to ‘London to Brighton in Four Minutes’ (speeded up film) in 1952 up to the films showing the whole Trans-Siberian Railway put online in 2010. Both of these are available on YouTube. Depictions of travel have been used in entertainments since the late Middle Ages and simulations of journeys will form a central part of theme park rides of all kinds – real or fantastic.

- also in 1905 The UK Federation of Rambling Clubs is formed based on several London clubs

- also in 1905 the Association of American Geographers is formed


Below is a link about the Leek and Manifold Valley Railway in North Staffordshire. Sadly, the line closed in the 1930s. It ran through beautiful scenery in the Peak District. Today it would have been one of the most popular narrow gauge lines. See how it carried standard gauge wagons, and admire its India-influenced locomotive and carriages.

Click here for an unusual railway film from the British Film Institute including a 1930s 'railway ride'.

Image: 1903 Kitty Hawk

1903 The Wright brothers make their successful figure-eight flight at Kittyhawk, North Carolina.

- also in 1903 the first British motor caravan is built by Marshall of Manchester. It has five bunks.

Image: Dr Lehwesser's expedition

Image: Dr Lehwesser's itinerary

Dr E E Lehwesser sets out on a planned round-the-world drive in a motor caravan. On the trip he will be accompanied by a fellow German driver, Max Cudell, H Morgan Browne, an English barrister and journalist, a professional chauffeur and a chef.

The vehicle has been built for him by the firms Panhard-Levassor and Carrosserie Industrielle of Paris at a cost of 3,000 (equivalent in 2010 to about 171,000). It is painted canary yellow and is named ‘Passe-Partout’ (“All-purpose”). The colour is reminiscent of Toad’s caravan in ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and the name of Phineas Fogg’s servant in ‘Around the World in Eight Days’ by Jules Verne. At the time the motor caravan is described in the Westminster Gazette as a ‘travelling hotel’. It weighs nearly three tons and the Centaur engine develops 30 horsepower. There is a photography studio on board. Dr Lehwesser is said to speak German, French, English and Russian. He will supply accounts of the journey in Europe and Asia and H Morgan Browne in America and England.

The journey starts from London and apparently all goes well across Europe until the vehicle breaks down in a snowstorm near Nizhniy-Novgorod and it, and the expedition, is abandoned. [At the time of writing I have not been able to discover a picture of the motor caravan or find further reports of the journey].

- (Also in 1902) The Rucksack Club is founded in Manchester. It will be an influential hiking and mountaineering organisation. In 1912 it will open the first climbing hut in Britain. The club is intended for (and remains aimed at) serious practitioners of climbing. In 2010 it will have around 400 members and claim that a quarter of those people have written books.

- (Also in 1902) In America, Ernest Thompson Seton founds the League of Woodcraft Indians as a boys' movement (with girls allowed to join soon afterward) aimed at improving their behaviour and understanding of the outdoor life and the cultures associated with it in North America. It will have an impact on Robert Baden-Powell's ideas which resulted in the Scouting and Guiding movements and on later organisations such as the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry and the Woodcraft Folk. Seton writes articles for the Ladies' Home Journal which he later turns into a book, The Birch Bark Roll. In 1906 he travels to England and gives a copy to Baden-Powell who creates the Scouting movement the next year and writes Scouting for Boys. In 1910, with Dan Beard of Cincinnati, he founds the Boy Scouts of America which later still will become part of the B-P movement.


1901 The Association of Cycle Campers is formed helping to encourage low-cost travel and exploration. Some members will break away to form the Camping Club but the two bodies will later merge as the Amateur Camping Club and then in 1910 amalgamate with the National Camping Club with 820 members. After World War I it will become the Camping Club of Great Britain and Ireland with Sir Robert Baden-Powell as President.

++ At this time therefore there are numerous strands of activity – Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, camping, caravanning, youth hostels (in Europe), hiking, cycling, school excursions and journeys, early holiday camps and group-based holidays – all in early stages of growth but symptomatic of an increased desire to be out and about. The transportation infrastructure was also expanding with innovations like passenger aircraft and the motor car being introduced.

Image: Cunninghams Holiday Camp - history

1900 One of the earliest holiday camps in the British Isles is set up in Douglas, Isle of Man. Until after the First World War it will take only men.

- Also in 1900 Raoul Grimoin-Sanson’s ‘Cineorama’ is another version of the 360-degree cinema show and installed at the Paris Exposition. It depicts an all-round view of Paris filmed from a tethered balloon. His cameras were synchronised to maintain consistent light conditions and to ensure smooth picture-matching and the projectors were to do the same. However the latter used arc-lights which generated so much heat that they malfunctioned. As the auditorium was above the projection box it would have been a considerable fire hazard. The system had earlier worked in a less ambitious form with Grimoin-Sanson producing films made in a number of European cities.

- Also in 1900 Launch of the Kodak Brownie camera makes George Eastman’s system simpler: the user removes the film and takes, or posts it, to a processing chemist or studio.

- Also in 1900 The Black Forest Association opens its 280-kilometre West Way from Pforzheim to Basle. It is the first long-distance footpath anywhere in the world. Within three years the Association will add its Middle and East Ways. Long-distance footpaths will become popular tourist features around the world. To create one requires arrangement of access rights, clearing and management, publicity, description, way-marking and possibly interpretive guide book publication.

Image: Children's museums

1899 The Brooklyn Children's Museum is opened. It is the first museum designed specifically for children, anywhere in the world.

Image: Kruger National Park

1898 The Kruger National Park is inaugurated in South Africa.

Also in 1898: Thomas Barber’s ‘Electrorama’, first seen in New York, is exhibited in the Niagara Hall, London. It is a system of ten projectors mounted on a tower showing linked pictures on a 360-degree continuous screen. Despite the name the lantern-projectors are lit by oxy-hydrogen jets. The still photos used are shown on the screen with a height of 40 feet (12.19 metres) and a circumference of 400 feet (121.9 metres). This kind of show is developed from the painted panoramas (see February posting for 1787) and will be carried further in many forms towards shows like Cinerama, Circle-Vision-360, IMAX and Omnimax.

1895 The founding of the National Trust for England and Wales. The Trust will become a highly influential manager of tourist attractions throughout England and Wales, with counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland. As such it will also be heavily used as an operator and shaper of educational attractions.

1893 The Royal Geographical Society helps Professor Halford Mackinder and others form the Geographical Association in Britain. It will have a heavy influence on teaching and inspire the use of field work. During the twentieth century it will also support outdoor project work involving travel, school journeys and adventurous exploration.

Image: Skansen

1891 Skansen, Stockholm’s famous folk museum, is founded by Artur Hazelius. It draws ideas from the Great exhibition in 1851 but also from ideas in Scandinavian countries about preserving examples of folk culture, especially buildings of different regions being destroyed during changes in the landscape from agricultural systems to more urban societies. Skansen will collect buildings from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland onto a large site in Stockholm as a regional museum, a concept that will spread throughout Europe, North America and other continents over the next century. Animals will be added to farming reconstructions at Skansen and people showing regional costumes and folk arts will join in.

- also in 1891 the Bowes Museum, a more traditional glass-case museum housed in an impressive, purpose-built building of French chateaux-style is opened in County Durham.

- also in 1891 The Reverend T A Leonard takes a party from Colne to Ambleside for four days at a cost of 21 shillings (1.05p, equivalent to 62.88 today. A skilled industrial worker may have been earning about 2.00 – equivalent to 119.78 - per week) per person. This will lead to the formation of the Co-operative Holidays Association as a company in 1897. In 1964 it will become the Countrywide Holidays Association. In 2004 after five years being operated under licence by Shearings it will be bought by Ramblers Holidays.

1890 The first National Geographic society expedition sets off for the Canada-Alaska border.

Image: Abbotsholme School

1889 In 1889 Dr Cecil Reddie founds Abbotsholme School near Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, UK. He aims to develop both body and mind in pleasant surroundings with a sense of responsibility through communal work. Reddie was an admirer of German secondary schools and gymnasia and influenced by Rousseau and John Ruskin. Herman Leitz will join the teaching staff in 1896 and return to Germany in 1899 to found three similar schools there between 1896 and 1901. The Anglo-German developments will continue through the work of Kurt Hahn and others in the twentieth century with increasing emphasis on education based on the natural and human environment of schools.

- (Also in 1889) In Bowness, in the Lake District, a group of people begins to publish local walking guides and to signpost footpaths.

- (Also in 1889) George Nugent-Bankes and his wife Peggy make a caravan trip from Bordeaux to Genoa. Their horse-drawn caravan is called “L’Escargot”. He subsequently writes a book called “Across France with a Caravan”, published in 1893.

1888 The first Kodak camera is put on sale. It uses roll film capable of taking a hundred pictures. When ready the photographer posted the whole camera back to Eastman’s laboratory and received it back loaded with a new film immediately, to be followed quickly by the processed prints when completed.

Also in 1888: Colonel Joe Shelley (“Mexican Joe”) puts on a Wild West show at the Alexandra Palace in north London depicting the Pony Express and other popular subjects. The Palace also has firework displays by James Pain based on the “Last Days of Pompeii”, the “Siege and Capture of Peking” etc.

Also: The National Geographic Society is founded in the United States. With its future reputation for fine photography in mind it can be noted that it started in the year popular photography was stimulated by the introduction of the Kodak camera system. The Society will shape popular American thinking about the world through its choice of subjects and articles, its magazine becoming almost essential reading in better-off homes. The 1896 photo in an article showing bare-breasted native women seems to set a trend. Criticised at the time the editor defends it as being an honest effort to show life in foreign places as it is lived. The Society will organise and sponsor many important explorations around the globe.

Image: 1885 Dr William Stables

Image: The Land Yacht Wanderer

1885 Dr William Stables has a touring caravan built. When he goes on tour he is accompanied by two servants, one riding ahead of the vehicle to warn other road users. One servant cooks his meals and attends to his clothes and provides hot water for washing and shaving, cleans the caravan and runs errands. The other is a stable boy who looks after the horses, harnesses them, rides ahead and stays at inns overnight where the horses are stabled in order to keep an eye on them. Dr Stables, who wrote an average of four adventure and home-life books a year for thirty years, will write a book called “The Cruise of the Land Yacht ‘Wanderer’” about his journeys.


The 'Wanderer' is now exhibited at the Bristol Industrial Museum, having been built by the Bristol Wagon works Company.

Also in 1885: the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Farnham, Surrey, is opened, designed as an entertaining as well as educational day out for families.

Image: Kodak - 1880

1880 George Eastman begins to make photographic roll film under the brand name 'Kodak', an entirely made-up name.

1879 The Sunday Tramps is a new group founded by Sir Leslie Stephen. They organise walks starting and finishing at railway stations with lunches at a pub on the way. the idea is to hold learned conversations along the way. Sometimes they meet in the evening for dinner with prominent guests such as Charles Darwin. Continues until 1885.

1876 Founding of the Appalachian Mountain Club in the USA. It describes itself in 2010 as "the nation's oldest recreation and conservation organisation".

1874 Around this time T C Horsfall of the Manchester Museum in the UK takes parties on field excursions. A colleague, Beatrice Vernon, makes experimental use of heuristic methods - ie discovery by trial and error, direct observation, etc. See also 1919.

1872 Thomas Cook’s first world tour.

Also in 1872 – the founding of the Polytechnic Touring Association inspired by Quentin Hogg. It is aimed particularly at educational travelling. It will send thousands of school children on visits – in 1888 a boys’ group to Belgium and Switzerland for example. In 1893 it will acquire chalets by Lake Lucerne, and in 1896 buy a steam yacht to tour Norwegian fiords. It will, in 1960, become the ‘Poly’ of Lunn Poly on merging with Henry Lunn Ltd.

1871 Sir John Lubbock’s Bank Holidays Act stipulates four national UK holidays, though not at first for everyone. This begins to reverse the decline in holidays – as defined by Bank of England closing Days: in 1761 there were 47, in 1830 18, but by 1834 only 4. Industrialisation had been squeezing out official holidays. By no means was everyone covered by any of these provisions however, and while Saturday could be a working day for many those same people might take off each Monday – unofficially. Not until the mid-twentieth century will holidays be paid and made to apply to everyone.

Image: Ordnance Survey

1870 The Ordnance Survey completes its first mapping of Great Britain at the 1” to one mile scale (1:63,360). The maps were originally produced to help the military and the government at different levels to plan their activities, but in the twentieth century they are marketed imaginatively to walkers, cyclists and drivers. Different scales of mapping and other services make them immensely popular. In France IGN maps are produced by the army, in the USA by the US Geological Survey.

Image: Suez Canal

1869 Opening of the Suez Canal, cutting the journey time for example to India from Britain to around 17 days at a cost of 50 (2010 equivalent = 2,285.00).

Also - Cook's first Nile tour.

1865 Thomas Cook’s first tour of the USA.

Also in 1865 S Soloman introduces transfer-printed lantern slides costing around one shilling (5p, equivalent in 2010 to 2.16) for a dozen. This allows mass production and sales of, among other subjects, pictures of distant places, helping to foster travel interest.

Image: Black Forest Association

1854 Thomas Cook’s first European tour.

1852 Britain’s first post boxes are erected in St Helier, Jersey, as part of the standard-price ‘penny post’ system in which the sender, not the recipient, pays for sending letters.

In the same year the American Geographical Association is set up by businessmen who want accurate information about the world.

1864 The founding of the Schwartaldverein or Black forest Association in Germany, which will later become the first group anywhere to promote long distance footpaths.

Also in 1864 the Yosemite National Park is created.

Image: The Gunnery Camp

1861 The 'Gunnery Camp' is held in the USA. It is probably the earliest example of the use of camping within formal children's education. The Gunnery School still exists.


In nineteenth century Britain there was nowhere really that was unknown to people. The exploration mode was already moving towards that of ordinary individuals setting out for themselves to see what others had already discovered. Thomas de Quincey camped for nine nights in a tent he had made himself in order to walk from Manchester to North Wales in 1802. John Wilson used a tent on a walking tour in 1815.

In North America, on the other hand, in the great plains and northern wastes of Canada and the western USA there was much still be be seen, at least by settlers of European origin if not for native Americans. They knew their country and they lived with it intimately in a relationship that would not be known or understood by the white man for many decades to come.

The European settlers were moving north towards the Arctic Circle and west towards the Pacific, besides progressing further up the Pacific coast from Mexico and along the sea routes. Driven by reports of adventure and wonders to be seen, even the longer-established communities of the Atlantic coast harboured aspirations of exploration and desires to meet the challenges of the open spaces.

When the United States Civil War broke out in 1861 the news was greeted with an upswelling of patriotic feeling on both sides. As the years went by and the dreadfulness of the war machine ground onwards these feelings became less intense. At the start, however, the boys of a school in Connecticut were keen to march and camp just like the soldiers. Frederick William Gunn and his wife ran what they called the Gunnery School in Washington in that state. They seized the chance to introduce activities that would develop the boys physically and morally. In August of 1861 they took the whole school on a two-day, 40-mile trip to Welch's Point on Long Island Sound. A horse-drawn wagon carried tents and two donkeys were on hand for younger children less able to walk the whole way. On arrival they swam and fished and at night stories were told and songs enjoyed by the light of camp fires. Accounts of the expedition suggest that the Gunns probably held discussions about the causes of the war and the likely outcomes for the country. Similar events were held in 1863 and 1865 and then camps were switched to a site on Lake Waramaug seven miles from the school. Academic subjects were introduced at Lake Waramaug. The camps were finally discontinued in the 1870s, but for some years afterwards, alumni from the school held reunion holidays at the spot. The Gunnery School still thrives, and each year a commemorative hike is made to the Steep Rock Reservation near to Washington, Connecticut.

William Gunn is considered to be the originator of leisure camping in America. Other people developed their own camps of different kinds during the century. One of these was founded by Ernest Balch and some friends on Burnt Island, Squam Lake in New Hampshire. Called Camp Chocorua, it did not have a ready-assembled group of users of the sort the Gunnery School had, but it attracted boys whose parents spent their own holidays in resorts which Balch considered socially less desirable for children. Again, the aim was to develop healthy activities in a well-ordered community. Camp Chocorua lasted only eight years but had a long-lasting influence on many other pioneers of education in the open air, and it and the Gunnery camps sparked off what would become a very active part of the merican tourist industry.

Eells, E (1986) Eleanor Eell's History of Organised Camping: The First Hundred Years, Martinsville, Indiana


1857 John Pouncey’s guide book ‘Dorsetshire’ is published and is the first to use photolithographic illustrations.

1856 Founding of the South Kensington Museum (later the Victoria and Albert Museum and –across the road from 1828 - the Science Museum) with funds from the Great Exhibition.

1851 The owner of Belle Vue Gardens in Manchester visits the Great Exhibition and the Surrey Zoological Gardens. On his return he gets George Danson and his sons to paint a scenic backdrop for themed firework displays at Belle Vue. The displays had been staged since 1842 and will continue –irregularly towards the end – until 1969. He has a 4,000-seater auditorium built. The first of a series of ‘battle’ re-enactments using fireworks will be The Bombardment of Algiers in 1851-52. Later ones will include: 1859 the Temple of Janus (no battle scenes so not very popular); 1904 the Attack on Port Arthur; 1919 Mons 1914-18; 1954 The Storming of Quebec. The last show in 1969 will be about Robin Hood. This kind of dramatic presentation using unusual media is popular elsewhere and will be common in theme parks such as those later in Coney Island.

Image: 1851 The Great Exhibition

Image: 1851 The Great Exhibition

The Great Exhibition

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Continents is held in London from 1 May to the 15 October 1851. Organised by Henry Cole and other London notables and led by Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert, it has an unsurpassed influence on the developing world, the growing British Empire and both manufacturing and services industries. For Britain it seems to symbolise its transformation from an agrarian to a manufacturing economy, even though that chance had been under way for the best part of a century beforehand.


In 1851 London hosted the first international exhibition of manufactured goods. It was remarkably successful and set the fashion for exhibitions, or ‘expos’ as they are often called nowadays, which still exist as essential parts of the industrial economy. So many trends in society crossed each other in 1851 in London’s Hyde Park that it is tempting to see the Great Exhibition as the most interesting of all nineteenth century cultural events: not fine art, not performing art, but popular and utilitarian art as appreciated at that time by over six million people directly and countless millions more indirectly.

The Exhibition is well documented in numerous books, articles and websites and so it is beyond the scope of this posting to attempt to cover the same ground. It can just be noted that the remarkable iron and glass structure that formed the temporary venue – dubbed “The Crystal Palace” by Punch magazine – was a landmark piece of architecture that paved the way for many later structures; the exhibition, as noted, led to an enduring fashion for industrial showcases around the world ever after; that the ticketing policy linked to contemporary media coverage created a popular and peaceful event (when some had predicted chaos or even an opportunity for armed revolution); that while the design standard of many goods on show sometimes represented the worst of Victorian taste, the opportunity to show technologies and their output was immensely valuable; and finally, the railway infrastructure with its ability to handle huge numbers of passengers, 165,000 of them travelling with Thomas Cook’s enterprise, marked the onset of mass tourism, at least of the excursionist variety, in which education and entertainment were blended.

The Exhibition building was taken apart after the event was over and re-erected in Sydenham. It remained a popular venue for events until being destroyed in a fire in 1836. A few traces of the Sydenham period remain and around Britain can be found some bits and pieces from the building as well as a number of the items exhibited within it. The 1851 event was commemorated a century later by the popular 1951 Festival of Britain, a so-called “tonic to the nation” after the war and austerity marking the whole of the 1940s. In 2000 the attempt to hold another exhibition marking the start of the third millennium of the Common Era in Greenwich, London, was mired in controversy with little sense of the clarity of vision enjoyed by the Great Exhibition. It also soaked up millions of pounds sterling and left continuing arguments that it had diverted money that could have been better spent elsewhere. The Great Exhibition produced a surplus equivalent to over 15m today that was used to fund the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum built along Exhibition Road which runs from the place in Hyde Park where the 1851 event was held. Those institutions are all, of course, world leaders in their fields today.

[Pictures above from Wikipedia Commons]


1848 W H Smith opens his first railway bookstall on Euston Station. The bookstalls will become an institution and a source not only of newspapers and magazines but of guidebooks of all kinds.

1847 Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon is bought for the nation to prevent it from being transported and rebuilt in the United States. An Act of Parliament has set up the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The London Zoo becomes short of funds and allows the public in at 1 shilling per person, without a ticket from a Member. In 1848 the price will be reduced to sixpence.

1845 Thomas Cook’s first leisure-only trip, to Liverpool. He checks the hotels and restaurants beforehand and organises the rail transport. 350 people take part.

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