Railway navvies

Victorian illustration to download showing a picture of railway navvies in their working clothes: loose coats, leggings or thigh boots, and stocking caps or hats with broad protective brims at the back. They are equipped with pickaxes and shovels. By the 1850s (the date of this picture) quarter of a million navvies had built 3,000 miles of railway line in Britain. ‘Navvy’ derives from ‘navigator’; navigators built the first navigations, or canals, in the 18th century.