Inside the Spitfire

    Take a close-up look at Britain's 'most famous plane' and read the personal stories of the people who designed, built and flew the aircraft.

    Amy Johnson

    Amy Johnson was the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia. Discover the story behind this extraordinary achievement.

    Blog posts

    Early flying machine

    Read posts about transport on Stories from the Stores, our collections blog.

    Garrett Morgan

    Garrett Morgan was a prolific inventor during the early 20th century. He patented two life-saving inventions, the Safety Hood (an early gas mask) and the first three-way traffic signal. He was also an active campaigner for the rights and welfare of black people.

    John C. Bourne

    John Cooke Bourne was a prolific artist and illustrator who pioneered the realistic depiction of the construction of the railways in Britain.

    Railway posters

    The period between the formation of the "big four" railway companies in 1923 and nationalisation in 1947 was a golden age of graphic design. This exhiblet celebrates the art of the Southern Railway's publicity department.

    The First Flight

    Wilbur and Orville Wright were bicycle salesmen who turned their minds to flight and made the first sustained, powered flight.


    Pulley blocks in a ship's rigging may appear insignificant, but the machinery invented to build them at Portsmouth dockyard played a major role in manufacturing history.

    Advances in aviation

    Aviation matures, bringing military terror but also the chance to roam the world.

    Constructing the railway system

    Railways spread to form new social end economic networks.

    Empire, navy and trade

    A maritime culture transforms British culture and identity.

    The Heroic Age

    Railways, waterworks and factory towns transform Britain and its landscape.

    Over the horizon

    Throughout history the societies that have grown and prospered have often been those that were willing and able to explore – and often exploit – other lands, people and resources.