glyph 237: Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Joseph Priestly, Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood ... Birmingham, England ... network creativity ... industrial, scientific revolution . late 18th century ..... Melvyn Bragg, BBC ... John Lienhard, University of Houston, Texas, Engines of Our Ingenuity ..... streaming audio here
On June 5, 2005, Melvyn Bragg presented a program on BBC radio that described a remarkable exploratory venture among a small group of friends. It was called the Lunar Society of Birmingham.
The program is available over the internet in audio form, and begins with these words:
In the late 18th century, with the ascendant British Empire centred on London, a small group of friends met at a house on the crossroads outside Birmingham and applied their minds to the problems of the age. Between them they managed to launch the Industrial Revolution, discover oxygen, harness the power of steam and pioneer the theory of evolution. They were the Lunar Society, a gathering of free and fertile minds centred on the remarkable quartet of Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Joseph Priestly and Erasmus Darwin. The potter Josiah Wedgwood, another member, summed up the ethos of this group when he said that they were 'living in an age of miracles in which anything could be achieved'.
Listen to the BBC program:
Listen to: "Engines of Our Ingenuity" No. 1726, "The Lunar Society" by John H. Lienhard:
entered before July 9, 2006