A British Appreciation for Industrial History & Hands-On Restoration

There is an element of British television that revels in the industrial history that many generations of us lot lived through, and I’m hooked on it.  My favourite is Henry Cole & Sam Lovegrove’s Shed & Buried which follows the two as they dig up hidden treasures found in some of the more eccentric sheds in the U.K., including a lot of older motorbikes:

They find all sorts of old machines in people’s sheds which often leads to impromtu history lessons on brands I’ve never heard of or hidden bits of industrial history I hadn’t heard of before.  From seed fiddles to motor memorabilia to the esoteric history of British motorbike production, it’s never dull and usually enlightening.
They don’t just rummage around in other people’s sheds.  The show also casts a light on the ‘car boot sale‘ and the used sales trade in the UK.  This culture of reverance for past technology is completely foreign in Canada.
It’s tough to find anything motorbikey in Ontario to begin with let alone anything old and interesting, yet Henry & Sam seem to be able to find any number of interesting old bikes for around £1000 ($1700CAD).  In a country like Canada that prefers to hide its history under a modern marketing blanket, throwing stuff away is a cultural imperative.  This (very colonial) approach means there simply isn’t an ecosystem of old machinery to explore.  This is exacerbated by Canada’s history as a resource extractor rather than an industrially focused manufacturer; we don’t make much here so there is no home-grown pride in any vehicle.
These cultural differences in background prompt media and awareness that is distinctly different in both countries.  The British produce a plethora of programs that explore industrial history and mechanics.  Shows like this would never fly in consumerist focused Canada.
Here’s a case in point:  Shed & Buried started out with a ’69 Triumph Daytona project, sorta like the one below described as ‘an excellent buy’ in Ottawa right now for $4650 Canadian .  Henry paid £600 ($1000CAD) for his old Daytona in similar condition.
If they exist at all, older bikes in Canada are prohibitively expensive.
What got me thinking about this was someone else on FB Marketplace offering disorganized boxes of old Triumph parts for $3600 without even a clear idea of what’s in there.  Henry and Sam picked up a 1950s BSA for £400 they found in pieces in a caravan.  Canada’s disinterest in and lack of history around industrial manufacturing make it a very difficult place to find old project bikes – unless you want to go into massive debt for an incomplete box of shit.
If, like me, you find living in this vacuous, consumerist wasteland frustrating, there are a lot of British TV programs that will remind you that finding old things and getting your hands dirty restoring them is a viable thing to do.  Here’s a list of what to watch if you’re looking for some proof that you’re not crazy:
Find It, Fix It, Drive It: if you’re crafty with VPNs you can stream this on Channel4.

Guy Martin’s How Britain WorkedGuy’s background as a mechanic comes up in most of his shows

Car SOS: one of my favourites – restoration leading to catharsis

Wheeler Dealers: started in the UK, went to the US and lost its way, now back to UK

Even Top Gear makes a point of mechanics, though often in jest:

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