Great British Railway Journeys 11 January 2022: Tuesday on BBC Four

Saxmundham to Dedham – Armed with his 1930s Bradshaw’s guide, Michael Portillo explores East Anglia between the wars. His railway journey begins at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, where archaeologists made a staggering discovery. Laura Howarth from the National Trust walks Michael to the top of a mound in a field, where in 1939 a 27-metre-long Anglo-Saxon ship was found buried in the earth. Buried along with the ship were precious objects from across the world.

At Leiston, Michael visits the oldest children’s democracy in the world, Summerhill School, founded in 1921 by a forward-thinking Scottish educator called A.S. Neill. Today, his daughter Zoe Readhead is school principal, and she introduces Michael to the school’s ethos and some of its pupils.

In the Essex village of Dedham, Michael unearths a nasty brush between painters. East Anglian art experts explain the antipathy between traditional artist Sir Alfred Munnings and the modern art school established in the village by Cedric Morris.

Michael takes the harbour ferry from Felixstowe to Harwich to find out about the young Jewish passengers who arrived in Harwich in 1938, having fled Nazi Germany as part of the Kindertransport. Siblings Ruth Jacobs and Harry Heber, now in their 80s, were among them, and Michael is moved to hear their story.

About Great British Railway Journeys

Cartographer George Bradshaw produced the first comprehensive timetable and travel guide of Great Britain’s railway system in 1840. Armed with his Bradshaw’s Guide, presenter Michael Portillo travels around the country by train exploring the ways that society and industry have changed since the guide was first published during the Victorian era. In each destination Michael visits local landmarks, meets residents, enjoys local food, and tries his hand at local crafts and manufacture, and considers the legacy of the industrial revolution.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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