101 Things Brum Gave The World. No. 39: Doctor Who

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Way back in 1963, a children’s educational TV programme aired and not that many people noticed—they were too upset that Aldous Huxley had died (especially Sheryl Crow). It starred an old chap who pottered around the universe in four dimensions. But without a nemesis the story was going nowhere, he wasn’t much of a hero—what he needed was an evil race to battle—one that was flawless, except for the flaw that they needed a level floor.

But how would they perambulate across those even surfaces? They needed some sort of castor that kept the two bearing surfaces of an axle, fixed and moving, apart.

Luckily in 1876, in Birmingham,  William Bown patented a design for the wheels of roller skates which did just this…

Then in 1955 a young man called McFly from Hill Valley in the United States took those wheels, invented the skateboard, rock and roll and popular science fiction in a couple of days. Not less than eight years later, way back in 1963, a children’s educational TV programmed aired and not that many people noticed—they were too upset that Aldous Huxley had died (especially Sheryl Crow). It starred an old chap who pottered around the universe in four dimensions. Without a nemesis the story was going nowhere, he wasn’t much of a hero—what he needed was an evil race to battle—one that was flawless, except the flaw that they needed a level floor.

But how would they perambulate across those even surfaces? They needed some sort of castor that kept the two bearing surfaces of an axle, fixed and moving, apart.

Luckily in 1876, in Birmingham William Bown patented a design for the wheels of roller skates which did just this…

 

By Jon Bounds

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed. His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it's out now. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It's Not Shit.

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed. His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it's out now. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It's Not Shit.

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