A recent study carried out by Birmingham Science City has revealed that one in three Brit’s believe that time travel IS possible.
Really? I mean, really, really? Colour me cynical but perhaps these overly optimistic folk have just been watching a teensy bit too much Doctor Who/Back to the future. My prescription for these people would usually contain advice to severely cut back on their viewing time and a slap round the head to bring them back to reality. But just for the sake of opening up a discussion lets imagine that I’ve managed to stumble across a Tardis. A hot pink Tardis (yours can be whatever colour you like.) At the end of my street. As you do.
I know exactly where I’d choose to go, and exactly where I wouldn’t want to go. It’s weird but I wouldn’t want to go to the future. I don’t feel the need to know about, and have no interest in what will happen ten, twenty years from now. I wouldn’t want to intervene. Ca sara sara and all that. I wouldn’t go back to a point in my life either even though I have things that I wish I had done differently and people that are now gone that I wish I could spend just one more day with. I don’t see what good it would do. These things happened for a reason and digging them up isn’t going to make any difference.
There are four time periods in history that particularly catch my attention and imagination, which run basically in succession: Victorian Britain (1837-1901), Edwardian Britain (1901-1910), WW1 Britain (1914-1918) and WW2 Britain (1939-1945). These periods in history absolutely fascinate me. I’d like to park up my pink Tardis and wander round the streets of London during the Victorian/Edwardian eras. I know that you’d see dirt and poverty and all manner of other things but that would be the whole point. To see how these people went about their day to day lives, both the rich and the poor. What the feeling on the streets was like. I’d love to go to a big stately home, a la Downton Abby, and live for a day as both the lady of the manor (how fabulous!) and then switch to do a day as a servant girl (which I’m sure would teach me the true meaning of hard work.) The school trips that I remember the most are the ones that were attached to a history lesson. I can remember in primary school going to a museum where all the class had to dress up, all the girls as house servants. And then in my GCSE year going to The Thackray Museum in Leeds, which chronicles the history of medicine. I loved these trips, as just for a few hours you felt like you were there. Back in time.
Next on the Tardis time travel trail are the World War eras. Yes I know they were dangerous times but history shows they were also times of hope and togetherness. As a nation Britain pulled together and everyone contributed to the war effort. Again I’d like to feel the feeling. As well has having great respect for those that fought IN these wars and sadly died, I also have respect for those that lived WITH these wars and survived. Once more, even just for a day, I’d like to go back and help with the work on the home front whatever it may be. I’d like to see if I could survive on a ration card. It would be interesting to walk alongside these people, amongst the rubble, and see how even in the midst of all the destruction they still found something to smile about.
What I hadn’t realised when looking a little deeper in to my reasons for choosing these time periods was that both played a huge part in women’s changing roles in society. There was of course the suffrage movement in the late 19th early 20th centuries, which saw women actively campaigning for the right to vote (women finally achieved full voting rights in 1928.) And thanks to their contributions to the war effort (in both world wars) women gained the trust and respect of the nation. In the absence of the men women worked in factories,farms etc and thus were seen as competent contributors to the working world.
I’d love to go back to these times. How amazing to feel the atmosphere and speak to the people. I’d ask them about their thoughts and their feelings, their hopes and their dreams. It would be interesting to discover what ideas and perceptions they held about the future. I’d have a crack at convincing them that I’m from 2011 and had gatecrashed on their era via a hot pink Tardis.
But I’m curious. Where would you go? Any time period you like, past or future. Why would you go there? What would you want to achieve? A mission of discovery or simply just nosing around? Hit me with some comments and let me know.
So putting my cynical nature aside I’ve found I’m nostalgic for days before my time but it’s always nice to imagine.