Recent History

The Discovery of Aether

Up until 1851 Victorian Britain had steam engines and had begun building a network of railways across the land. However they were slow as they had to continually stop at water stops to take on water, sometimes up to 15 times in a trip over longer distances. This was seen as an inconvience, but much improved on the old coach travel which had to stop to change horses and was bumpy and uncomfortable.

In 1851 Jonas Wildthorpe who was a scientist at Imperial University London was trying to examine the fundamental nature of what particles made up matter, found a way to extract the "glue" that makes up that matter that he called Aether. This process, known as Pro-Calcitrine filtration was complex and required three stages. Jonas struggled for some time to come up with a way to store the Aether since its volatility made it naturally want to go back into the elements that it was extracted from. Initially he used the theory of Electo-Magnetism to hold the particles of Aether in a state of suspension to analyse them, but later was able to develop a substance known as Corodite that was stable when holding the Aether.

Jonas approached the industrialist Max Henderson (who he had known for years) to help manufacture Aether on a large scale. The first Aether plant was built in Corby in the Midlands and started production in 1856. Max Henderson and Jonas Wildthorpe patented for process for Aether production and once its uses in Steam Engines was discovered soon were able to license other company's to use their process. Henderson, Wildthorpe and his company Henderson Engineering soon became very rich.

Unfortunately for Jonas Wildthorpe he was not to live long to enjoy his success. In 1858 he was murdered in the East End of London by persons unknown. Scotland Yard to this day have still not been able to identify his killer.

The Underground railway was started in London in 1856 and the new Metropolitan line opened in 1863. The new Metropolitan line was soon joined by the District line in 1868 and the East London line in 1869.


The new technology was extended to be used in air travel as well as the railways. The hydrogen filled balloons are propelled by Aether steam engines mounted on the bag of a large canopy beneath the balloon. The Dirigables can carry only a few passengers (20 at most) and passage on them is currently an expensive luxury that many of the wealthiest on the country choose to take. There are currently three competing companies that run dirigibles to the continent - Valberous Ltd, AirShip Inc (funded partially from the USA), and Kellner & Sons Skyliners. Services to other parts of the country are currently being considered by a fourth company known as Hydroway Ltd.

The Crimean War (1853-1856)

The last great war that Britain entered into was the Crimean War against the Russians to prevent them to taking a southern port into the Bospherous. The war from 1853-1856 was notorius for the first use of modern techniques including the Railway system and the Telegraph. The war also showed the need for more modern medicine techniques that were pioneered by Florence Nightingale. One of the consequences of the war was that Britain gained further influence over the Greek Islands.

The Franco-Prussian War (1870)

The new Prussian King Willhelm I along with his Iron Chancellor Bismark had been expanding their influence over greater Germany, gradually swallowing up more parts, including the southern parts after the War with Austria in 1866. The efficiency of the German army with stolen Aether Steam Tech completely overran the French in 6 weeks and the peace accord thus created the new German state. Britain is very much affraid of further German expansion attempts both in Europe and in the new African colonies. The British government is very suspicious of the Germans in the early 1870's.

The Irish Question

The problem of Ireland has continued throughout the Nineteeth centuary, and erupted again in 1870 as a result in the rise of nationalistic feeling around Europe at the time. William Gladstone the Prime Minister had in part won the election in 1868 on a promise to deal with the Irish Question. He introduced the Irish Land Act in 1870 and attempted to introduce the Irish Church Disestablishment Act, but it was thwarted by the Lords. This failure has lead many in Ireland to see that the British will not give up their Lordship of Ireland easily and have taken to more radical means to gain their freedom.

The Government

The Liberal Government elected in 1868 brought about Electorial Reform introducing the secret ballot for the first time in 1870. They decided that they would be a neutral party in the Franco-Prussian war, but were much concerned by the swift defeat of the French at the hands of the Germans. Talks have been ongoing with the French about a pact against German aggression. The Government has continued its expansion into Africa on a wave of New Imperialism. Missionaries as well as traders have flocked to Africa to both educate, explore and seek new horizons in the new territories (as well as make a grad for land).


Unofficial Trade Unions had been formed for a number of years and strikes had for some time demanded better rights for workers. The tide is starting to turn towards official recognition with a Royal Commision being established in 1868 to determine whether they should be legalised. The Prime Minister has declared that he intends to legalise them in the next Parliament. For some this may be enough but there are many radicals in Britain at this time, including a number of radical women who demand the vote!

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