Build a lesson around any TED-Ed Animation, TED Talk or YouTube video
Create a Lesson

How the world's first metro system was built - Christian Wolmar

  • 546,913 Views
  • 5,227 Questions Answered
  • TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

It was the dawn of 1863, and London's not-yet-opened subway system — the first of its kind in the world — had the city in an uproar. Most people thought the project, which cost more than 100 million dollars in today's money, would never work. So how did they do it? Christian Wolmar explains how the London Underground was built at a time when no one had built a railway under a city before.

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Christian Wolmar
  • Director Biljana Labovic
  • Script Editor Dan Kwartler
  • Animator Inna Phillimore
  • Designer Inna Phillimore
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott, Elizabeth Cox
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

Additional Resources for you to Explore
The building of subway systems, often known as metros, should be viewed in the wider context of the development of railroads across the world. The first lines, including the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in the UK and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the United States, were developed in 1830. Within a few years, many other nations followed suit.

Until then, no one had traveled faster than a galloping horse. Now, whole states—and nations—could be crossed in less than a day. The changes this brought about affected every aspect of life in the second half of the 19th century. On an economic level, industries grew into much larger enterprises. On a social and cultural level, people were now able to travel long distances for vacation. The railways ruled the world for about a century until they were displaced by the motor car and, later, the airplane. But they still play a vital role in the 21st century, such as carrying a large proportion of America’s freight, which continues to help cities function efficiently.

To learn more about the London Underground, check out the Subterranean Railway, written by the educator. Other publications about the evolution of transportations systems include Blood, Iron, and Gold and The Great Railroad Revolution.
Teded square logo
TED-Ed
Lesson Creator
New York, NY

Customize This Lesson

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Christian Wolmar
  • Director Biljana Labovic
  • Script Editor Dan Kwartler
  • Animator Inna Phillimore
  • Designer Inna Phillimore
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott, Elizabeth Cox
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

Log In to Take or Create a Lesson

Log In to participate

Please Log In or Register to Apply

Please Log in to Access Leader Resources

If you have already logged into ted.com click Log In to verify your authentication. Click Register if you need to create a free TED-Ed account.
Log In    Register

Enter your name

Your name and responses will be shared with TED Ed.

To track your work across TED-Ed over time, Register or Login instead.