Something New Every Day
Thanks to the internet we can learn continually, every day, with relative ease. If only it had been around in my younger years.
I learned something new today about my native city of Lincoln situated in the East Midlands region of the United Kingdom. It is amazing that one can be born, grow up, be educated, and live in an historic place for many years and while being aware of something of its past, be blissfully unaware of the significance and role of the place in fairly recent times. I am talking of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and on into the current early years of the twenty first century. I am also speaking of my own ignorance, until today, of the importance of my birthplace in modern times as a time capsule of the technological progress of mankind. A significance untrumpeted, as far as I am aware, outside of that city and also largely unheard of and unknown within its bounds, though its influence has been felt worldwide.
Powering The Industrial Revolution
Yes, having read what I have read today, I am going to claim that epithet for my home town of Lincoln.
This city, throughout the previous two centuries and into the current, has provided the means to power progress through the revolutionary industrial eras of coal, oil and gas powered energy, through the times of steam, petrol, diesel, avgas and jet fuel powered transportation, both in the UK and around the world. Including in a country almost as far removed from that city as it is possible to reach: Australia, where I now live.
I have in years past discovered evidence of technology produced in the city of my birth being used in both urban and rural areas (Korumburra, Victoria for example) of my adopted country.
Take a look at this video as a reference to the things of which I speak. I find this amazing.
The Birthplace Of The Tank
One of the things you may have noticed if you viewed the above video is that Lincoln is stated to be the home of the Tank (the war machine, not a vessel for holding liquids or gases), dating from 1916. Almost 100 years ago in that period of global conflict that we know as World War 1 – the war to end all wars, or at least the first one to be described as such. That is absolutely something that I did not know before today. Oh, I knew that tanks were built there during the Second World War because it was while working in the engineering production of those tanks that my mother and my father met. My mother was cooking for the workers at the time. My father was deemed medically unfit for active service. Neither of them had any formal qualifications for doing what they were doing, nor much in the way of formal education either.
So, how did I come across this news that Lincoln was where tanks were first made? Well, being an expatriate of that city and still having family living there, I follow a Facebook page called The Lincolnite in order to keep up with events and news. Today I read a post there which pointed me to this web page and a story that explains how Lincoln is planning a memorial which they name as the Lincoln Tank Memorial and which will carry the epithet ‘Lincoln – Birthplace of the Tank’.
I followed a link from there to the Tank Memorial web site where the organisers are trying to raise the necessary funds to finish construction. The site contains much interesting information, many images and some video including the one I shared above.
Back To The Future
So, my home town, renowned for many things in history, ancient and modern, yet little spoken of outside of its boundaries, and while still retaining much of its character from Roman Times and the Gothic era of the Middle Ages, became something of a powerhouse of modern industry and progress in more recent times. The story, and especially the progress of engineering endeavours, encapsulates everything that has marked the path trodden by human kind throughout the industrial period.
While I am happy to see the place of my youth in this light and to delight for the moment in the revelation of its heretofore, to me, unknown significance, I also look toward the future and to what all of this progress and technological achievement is leading.
What is in the past, is interesting. It was what it was. We can’t undo that, even if we wanted to.
What is in the present, is disturbing. It is what it is. …but is it what it should be? …and where is it leading?
What is in the future, is alarming. It will be what it will be. …but what sort of future can we expect?
Just what the future holds has already been influenced by the past. Shaped by everything that we have done since the Industrial Revolution in our search for progress and prosperity. In our mining of the Earth’s resources. In our consumption of products and energy resulting from those resources.
Just what the future holds is still being shaped by the present. Shaped by everything that we continue to do today in our goal of never-ending economic growth. In our continued grasping for technological advancement and growth in a time when we have been warned that such actions are reaching a limit beyond which we should not trespass.
Just what the future holds will be shaped by what we do from here on in, in part. In part it already has been shaped by the consequences of earlier actions. Actions taken by my home town community. Actions taken by myself. Actions taken by your community. Actions taken by yourself.