The Thrill Electric

Episode 1: The Workshop of the World
Panel One

Location Cap: Oxford Road, Manchester, January 1871.

Telegraph Cap:  W. M. to F.R. Collision on Oxford Road, all stopped, come in by Hyde Road instead.

Telegraph Cap:  G.W. to O.R. Please meet my wife from the 8:45 train at Oxford Road, I can't get there on time. Traffic horrific. Much obliged.

Telegraph Cap:  P.F. to B.S. where is our order? You assured next morning delivery and my customer is livid! 

Emily:  Is it always this bad? I'm amazed anyone even gets to work.

Emily:  Archie?

Panel Two.

Emily:  Archie! 

Panel Three.

Emily:  Archie! Are you even listening to me?

Archie: EH?

Cap:  Mr. Archibald Bennett – 'Archie'

Panel Four.

Archie: Oh. Um. You were saying about your father... on the wire this  morning. He's stationed in... Sicily?

Emily:  It was Malta, Archie. I had no idea I was that boring!

Emily:  By all means, please go back to sleep! 

Panel Five.

Archie: Sorry Emily. I had a late one. I'm not really used to early- 

Archie (interrupting):  Portland Street? Good job you woke me up!

Panel Six.

Emily:  Ooh, look at all the fancy shops! Dad said I'd love it here…

Archie: Cottonopolis, 'Workshop of the World' or Manchester as I call it.

Archie: God, my head hurts. Maybe the chemist first, then the Mill.
Panel One.

Location Cap:  Ancoats.

Emily: For God's sake, what a bloody carry-on! You allergic to fresh  air or something?

Archie:  It's- *cough* it's just the smell of whatever it is in that canal. I  still feel a bit queasy… 

Panel Two.

Archie:  Ah! Here we are. I warn you, it's going to be really, really loud  and unpleasant. 

Emily: The machinery, you mean? 

Panel Three.

Archie:  Well, I was talking about my sister... but, yeah, that too.

Panel Four.

Cap: 'They never stop you know. Day and night every day but Sunday…'

Cap: '…and I bet Becca'd drag people out of church if she thought  it'd help turn a profit.'
Panel Five.

Emily: How much cotton does it make?

Archie:  Three hundred and... something spindles? It's about a tenth  of the whole of Manchester, I think. 

Archie:  I… I don't come in that much to be honest. 

Cap: Charlotte Scott – CS

Panel Six.

Archie:  Hello! Any chance of a kiss for a man about to die?

Archie:  Only kidding. Well, about the dying anyway.
Panel One.

Archie:  Rebecca, Sorry I'm a bit late but Emily wanted to see the place  and the traffic was… 

Rebecca (off, bottom right):  Come in and shut the door.

Panel Two.

Rebecca:  Mr. Stewart and I are just about finish—

Cap: Robert Stewart –  R.S.

Stewart (interrupting):  Mr Bennett sir? It must be you!

Panel Three.  

Stewart:  Robert Stewart at your service sir. You're the image of your  father sir, the image of him!

Stewart:  Explain to the young girl here. You'll make her see sense won't  you?

Panel Four.

Cap: Miss Rebecca Bennett - Becca

Rebecca:  Mr Stewart, your... mistake almost cost this mill  hundreds of guineas.

Rebecca:  If I hadn't checked, your order would have gone out, and we'd be paying for it!

Panel Five.

Mr Stewart:  Please Mr Bennett! It was an innocent mistake!

Mr Stewart:  You know how it is sir, give us another chance!

Panel Six.

Rebecca:  I've told you Stewart, you've had plenty of chances.
Panel One.

Mr Stewart:  But, bein' this mill's telegrapher…it's all I've had for these  fifteen year, I'll be in the workhouse otherwise!

Mr Stewart:  I'm innocent! Can't you tell her sir?

Panel Two.

Rebecca :  Innocent? You're a hopeless drunk! A liability! Dad should've  got rid years ago!

Stewart:  You'll be sorry! Old Mr Bennett won't like it! He'll see my  side, you'll see!

Panel Three.

Mr Stewart:  You think you're a man's equal but you're not!  

Mr Stewart:  You're a dizzy gasbaggin' tart whose got ideas above 'er station!

Rebecca (interrupting):  Get out of this office. Right Now.

Panel Four.

Mr Stewart:  I'll show her. Stuck up little cow! What does she know? Thinks  she can get the better o' me does she? I'll show 'er…

Panel Five.

Mr Stewart:  …I'll show the whole snooty bloody lot of 'em!
anel One.

Emily: Wow.

Emily: Awkward.

Panel Two.
 
Rebecca :  I asked you to do one thing Archie! All you had to do was be  there!

Rebecca:  I knew that old bastard wouldn't take being sacked by woman. 

Archie:  Come on Becca, you're being unfair, I was—

Panel Three. 

Rebecca:  Look at you! You're out all night doing God knows what. Spending Dad's money like its water, and earning nothing!  

Rebecca: What are you supposed to be then? A playboy?

Panel Four. 

Rebecca (inside): Some dashing bloody libertine? 

Panel Five.

Rebecca:  I work an eighty hour week and you? You lazy…irresponsible…

Rebecca:  You don't even TRY!

Panel Six.

Emily: Look, you two clearly have some, um, issues to work out, so  maybe I should go for a wander, see the mill?

Archie:  No, no, stay! Come on Becca, let's not embarrass Em any more, eh?
Panel One.  NO CAPTIONS OR SPEECH BUBBLES

Panel Two.

Archie:  C'mon sis, we'll sort something out, wont we? I mean-

Emily (interrupting): Hey, I've got an idea. 

Panel Three.

Emily: I could be the new telegrapher. Anything to get me out of the  house.  Aunt Mill is...well, she's Aunt Mill! 

Emily: I use my key every day at home, I'm really fast. I don't make  mistakes.
 
Panel Four. 

Archie:  Christ no! No, no, no, Em. Uh-uh. Not going to happen. 

Archie:  Mill telegraphers... well, I mean, everyone knows don't they?

Panel Five.

Archie (inside): They're fast Em. Easy! Everyone and their Mum knows that.  

Panel Six.

Rebecca:  My God. Archie Bennett turned moral guardian. I've heard  everything!

Rebecca:  Stewart's replacement – brazen, sex-crazed, trollop that she  undoubtedly is, is waiting outside. 

Rebecca:  Her name is Charlotte Scott. Could you send her in on your  way out?
Panel One.

Emily: Look, you hate it here. I get that, but there must be something  about the Mill that interests you?

Emily: There's more to it than paperwork I'm sure!

Archie:  Oh there is... much more. Every stage more tedious than the last.

Panel Two.

Archie:  You might think it's incredible.  I can't stand it. The noise, the filth - its hell on bloody Earth!

Archie:  And that's before you get to the paperwork.

Panel Three.

Emily: Well, I think it's amazing. All these people – every job a part of  the whole. 
 
Emily: It's like... like they're all cogs in a machine. 

Archie:  Well, I'm nobody's cog.

Panel Four. 

Emily: I wouldn't mind it, you know. Having a part to play, a place  where I fitted in.  

Emily: Dad says the army does that. Gives you a place where you  belong.

Panel Five.

Emily (off panel left): Where do you belong Archie? If it's not here?
Panel One. 

Emily: What's going to happen when your parents get home? Rebecca's worked so hard...

Archie:  She's fantastic at the job – it's all she thinks about. She's doing  a better job than dad even.

Archie:  Dad... he'll be proud, I'm sure. 

Panel Two.

Emily: But he should be proud of you too! You could make him proud. 

Emily: I mean… well… what's your passion? What do you want to  do?  

Panel Three.

Archie:  That's the question, isn't it Em? 

Panel Four.

Emily: Well, I love the telegraph, and Becca loves her ledgers, we  just need to find you something like that.

Archie:  You were serious then, earlier? When you said about wanting a  telegraph job?

Cap: If you're up for it, I think I might be able to help you.

Panel Five.

Cap: Archie! If I could work on the telegraph, that would be… fantastic!
Panel One.

Location Cap:  Angel Meadow.

Albert: WAAAH

Panel Two.

Thomas:  Knock harder Jen! The old bag's deaf as a post.

Jenny (tallest sister): I knocked hard! I did! 

Cap: Mr Thomas Shaw – 'Tom Cat' TC

Panel Three.

Mrs Wagstaff: Y'r mam can't be out toutin' this early can she? 

Thomas:  I don't know where she bloody is, but I'm in work at half past!

Thomas:  I know you 'ad 'em last week Mrs Wagstaff, but I've no-one  else I can ask!

Panel Four.

Mrs Wagstaff:  I've got better things to do than raise some tart's brats you know!

Mrs Wagstaff:  I've got nothin' in f'r 'em neither.

Panel Five.

Thomas (off panel left):  Please Mrs Wagstaff, it's all I've got. I get paid tomorrow. 

Mrs Wagstaff:  Best you bring it then, or I'm not mindin' 'em again.
Panel One.

Location Cap:  Electric and International Telegraph Company,  Deansgate. Next day  

Messenger boy: Three local, two London and one international.

Messenger boy: Newlyweds it were. Off on honeymoon. Lucky fella too!

Panel Two.

Messenger Boy: Any news then? J.J. trainin' me up as a clerk or what? 

Clerk: No idea. If anyone leaves upstairs I'll tell you.

Clerk: Gorgeous George might not be stayin' long apparently.

Panel Three.

Clerk: Anyway, If anything happens I'll let you know. Go on!

Panel Four.

Balloon:  Hello? Can I help?

Panel Five.

Cap: George Bradley –  'Boy Blue' B.B.

George:  George Bradley at your service, miss…?

Emily: Bagley. Sorry, Emily Bagley. 

Emily: I'm looking for Mr. Jenks, but my idiot cousin didn't tell me  where he'd be.

Panel Six.

George:  Well then Emily Bagley, luckily enough I'm heading up there  myself so I'll show you the way. 

Panel Seven.

Emily: Heh, good job you were here, otherwise I'd have been wandering around lost for hours! 

Emily (quiet):  Smooth Emily. Point out what an idiot you are…that's just…perfect.
Panel One.

George:  Is he expecting you? Jenks I mean,

Emily: Well I thought so, but given that Archie arranged it, it suddenly  seems really really unlikely. 

Emily: There's probably a bar manager across town wondering where  I am.

Panel Two.

Emily: Is Jenks all right then? Anything I should watch out for?

George:  Well, apart from his laudanum addiction and stack of dirty  stereographs you mean?

George:  No, no I'm kidding. He runs a tight ship, but he's fair. 

Panel Three.

Emily: I bet it's amazing, working here in the middle of it all…

George:  Ha! I'm on the Exchange line. Nothing juicy there, unless you're really into commodities. 

George:  The other lines? Well, they have their moments.

Panel Four.

George:  Mr Jenks? This is Emily Bagley, Mr Bennett's niece. As in  Bennett's Mill?

Jenks: Ah. That explains th' note from the Bennett lad. Shocking scrawl! 

Jenks: Y' can send and receive Miss Bagley? Twenty words a minute is what's expected. 

Panel Five.

Emily: I can send twenty five. I talk to dad in Malta every day. He's a Medical Officer. 

Cap: Mr. Jeremy Jenks – J.J. 

Jenks: Lasses don't get special treatment here you know. An operator  is an operator. That's that!
 
Panel Six.

Jenks: When you're online you represent this office. 

Jenks: Your code should be impeccable, carbon copy everything, and  no messaging your mate two rows back. Clear?

Emily: Oh, no sir. I mean, yes sir. I-I'll do my best.
Panel One 

Jenks: Here you go, hub of the Northwest network. More code sent  and received here than any office outside o' London. 

Jenks:  Emily Bagley… I've just thought, we've already got a Mr.  Errol Bryan works here, so E B is out… 

Emily: Well, LL is my usual sig. Dad called me 'Lightning Lass' when he taught me Morse and I'm afraid it stuck.

Jenks: Lightning Lass, eh? That'll do. 

Panel Two.

Jenks: The international line there can connect direct to Paris an' then  on to… well, you name it, Moscow, Cairo, Calcutta even. 

Jenks: There's nowhere on earth that's far from the wire now.

Panel Three.

Jenks: You'll probably be sending plenty of encrypted messages, so  don't be surprised if they don't make sense.

Jenks: Just get it down exactly as it comes and send it exactly as it's  written, and you'll do fine.

Cap: Grayson Standish –  'Mr Gray' – M.G
Panel One.

Jenks: Make sure you get the incoming messages down neat, if our  code gets corrupted it costs us money, and I'll dock it from  your pay.

Jenks: I hope your handwriting's better than your cousin's!

Panel Two.

Jenks: The clerks bring you messages t' send and take away those  you've writ down. Simple really.

Panel Three.

Jenks: There, I've put you on Bolton. Quick, but nothing taxing.  

Emily: What? Right now? Is that it?

Jenks: What did you expect? Tea and biscuits? Ah Mr Standish, A  word if you please! 

Panel Four.

Jenks (off right): Don't give me that! If I say nine then nine is what I expect!
 
Panel Five.

Emily: 'They'll probably just give you a tour.' Archie you are a dead  man.
Panel One.  NO CAPTIONS OR SPEECH BUBBLES
 
Panel Two.

Cap: SENSATION CAUSED IN CENTRAL MANCHESTER BY  YOUNG SOPHISTICATE.

Panel Three.

Cap:  MEN DRIVEN TO NEAR MADNESS BY RAVISHING DEBUTANTE. 

Panel Four.

Cap:  WHEN SEEN LAST SHE WORE AN UGLY GREY SKIRT, AN UNFLATTERING BLOUSE AND A CRUMPLED JACKET.

Panel Five.

Cap:  SHE WORE HER HAIR VERY COARSE AND  FLYAWAY, NO JEWELS AND SCRUBBERS FACE.

Caption:  Florence Borsberry – WF (Winning Filly)

Panel Six.

Cap: LAST SEEN AT E.I.T.C. OFFICE MANNING THE BOLTON  LIN-

Panel Seven.

Emily: Oh!
Panel One.

FX: HAHAHAHAHAHA 

Thomas:  Very mature lads. I'm really proud of you.

Panel Two.

Emily: Ohhh. How did I not see that coming? Gah.

Panel Three.

Balloon (off left): You alright miss? Take no notice of Flo, all the new Op's get  it…  

Panel Four.

Thomas: …especially the pretty ones. 

Panel Five.


Panel Six.

Cap: Miss Emily Bagley – 'Lightning Lass' LL

Links for issue 1

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Page One: Did you know that during the 19th Century parts of Manchester were known as "Cottonopolis" or the "Workshop of the World"?

Manchester Cottonopolis
Wikipedia: Cottonopolis

Page Seven: Sexism and ineqality in the workplace; what was it like to be a woman in Victorian Britain?

Telegraph Girls
Wikipedia: Victorian Woman

Page Twelve: The world's first global communcations system for exchanging text messages wasn't the internet nor the mobile phone but instead was instrumented by those clever Victorians!

BBC News: The Telegraph
Wire Around the World
Victorian Internet

Page Nine: Find out why Angel Meadow was known as "hell on earth":

BBC News: Angel Meadow
Angel Meadow PDF
Oxford Archaeology: Angel Meadow

Page Fourteen: Ever wondered what your name would look like in morse code or wanted to send an encrypted message of your own? Check out this morse code translator:

Morse Code Translator