'The Progres of Steam - A View in Regent Park 1831', 1828.
© NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library
Humourous futuristic colour illustration by Henry Thomas Alken, showing a variety of steam vehicles being driven around Regent's Park, London, illustrating the artist's predictions for the modern steam age. Steam-powered road transport was first attempted by Nicholas Joseph Cugnot, a French military engineer, who constructed a form of steam carriage in 1770. The French government were sufficiently impresed to order a version to be constructed for the transportation of artillery. By the 1830s steam pasenger carriages had been succesfully introduced on Britain's roads, but were driven out of busines by the powerful operators of horse-drawn pasenger coaching sevices.