Thomas Ferguson features on BBC Great Railway Journeys
12 February 2019
Steered by his Edwardian Bradshaw’s Guide, Michael Portillo navigates his way by rail – and ferry - across Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands from Newry to Argyll and Bute.
Early 20th-century Britain was reeling from industrial strife and suffragette outrages, but the biggest crisis of all was the conflict in Ireland. Beginning in Newry, Michael finds a specially chartered train would deliver demonstrators campaigning for Irish Home Rule to a rally in the town.
On the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic at Glaslough, Michael is amused to discover a christening robe belonging to Sir Winston Churchill and hears how he and his American mother saved the impressive Castle Leslie.
Michael finds himself in a sticky situation at an Edwardian bakery in Portadown when he attempts to make an Irish staple, soda bread. At Scarva, Michael discovers the importance of Irish linen for aircraft during the First World War, and in the hangars of the Ulster Aviation Society he learns how a replica Ferguson Flyer from 1909 was built.