Sir Vansittart Bowater, predictor of the future
Back in 1913, Sir Vansittart Bowater
, London's new lord mayor, made some predictions for how the world would look like in 2013 [Evening Independent, Dec. 6, 1913
]. Now that 2013 has arrived, we can judge how accurate he was:
— a horse will excite far more wonder and curiosity in the city than an aeroplane or a dirigible flying over St. Paul's does today
— the drone of great airships, each carrying perhaps many hundreds of passengers, will also probably be heard across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
— these new aircraft will require "the protection of pedestrians and householders, possibly by wire netting laid over the housetops and even over the streets."
I'm not sure if he was foreseeing chunks of frozen poop falling from planes (blue ice
). If so, his powers of prediction were impressive. But as for the netting, he was incorrect.
— the channel tunnel scheme may be a commonplace of actuality, with train services running every few minutes direct from London to Paris
The trains don't run every few minutes, but he got the general idea right, so I'll give him this.
— London will assuredly find part relief from the congestion between now and 2013 by the extension of her suburbs
— postmarks and stamps may exist only as curiosities
Stamps are gradually on the way out, but they're not gone yet. So I'm judging him incorrect on this.
— a visit to Mars or the moon [may] be practicable in 2013... by harnessing the elusive ether, by electricity, or by some other at present unknown force capable of off-setting gravitation.
Correct! It was actually in 1914, one year after Bowater made his predictions, that Robert Goddard filed his first patent for a liquid-fuel rocket that would make spaceflight possible.
— such awful scourges as cancer and the hidden plague will be as much a memory as plague and the 'black death' are to us today
Not sure what he meant by the 'hidden plague,' but as far as cancer goes, he was unfortunately incorrect.
— he certainly will be a bold man in that year who will venture to say a person is dead beyond hope of resuscitation.
No. Dead is still dead.
Overall he scored 5 out of 9. Not bad. Better than most 100-year forecasts.