Cambridge IELTS 17 Reading Test 01 Vocabulary List
READING PASSAGE 1
The development of the London underground railway
In the first half of the 1800s, London’s population grew at an astonishing rate, and the central area became increasingly congested. In addition, the expansion of the overground railway network resulted in more and more passengers arriving in the capital. However, in 1846, a Royal Commission decided that the railways should not be allowed to enter the City, the capital’s historic and business centre. The result was that the overground railway stations formed a ring around the City. The area within consisted of poorly built, overcrowded slums, and the streets were full of horse-drawn traffic. Crossing the City became a nightmare. It could take an hour and a half to travel 8 km by horse-drawn carriage or bus. Numerous schemes were proposed to resolve these problems, but few succeeded.
Amongst the most vocal advocates for a solution to London’s traffic problems was Charles Pearson, who worked as a solicitor for the City of London. He saw both social and economic advantages in building an underground railway that would link the overground railway stations together and clear London slums at the same time. His idea was to relocate the poor workers who lived in the inner-city slums to newly constructed suburbs and to provide cheap rail travel for them to get to work. Pearson’s ideas gained support amongst some businessmen and in 1851 he submitted a plan to Parliament. It was rejected but coincided with a proposal from another group for an underground connecting line, which Parliament passed.
The two groups merged and established the Metropolitan Railway Company in August 1854. The company’s plan was to construct an underground railway line from the Great Western Railway’s (GWR) station at Paddington to the edge of the City at Farringdon Street – a distance of almost 5 km. The organisation had difficulty in raising the funding for such a radical and expensive scheme, not least because of the critical articles printed by the press. Objectors argued that the tunnels would collapse under the weight of traffic overhead, buildings would be shaken and passengers would be poisoned by the emissions from the train engines. However, Pearson and his partners persisted.
The GWR, aware that the new line would finally enable them to run trains into the heart of the City, invested almost £250,000 in the scheme. Eventually, over a five-year period, £1m was raised. The chosen route ran beneath existing main roads to minimize the expense of demolishing buildings. Originally scheduled to be completed in 21 months, the construction of the underground line took three years. It was built just below street level using a technique known as ‘cut and cover’. A trench about ten metres wide and six metres deep was dug, and the sides temporarily help up with timber beams. Brick walls were then constructed, and finally, a brick arch was added to create a tunnel. A two-meter-deep layer of soil was laid on top of the tunnel and the road above was rebuilt.
The Metropolitan line, which opened on 10 January 1863, was the world’s first underground railway. On its first day, almost 40,000 passengers were carried between Paddington and Farringdon, the journey taking about 18 minutes. By the end of the Metropolitan’s first year of operation, 9.5 million journeys had been made.
Even as the Metropolitan began operation, the first extensions to the line were being authorized; these were built over the next five years, reaching Moorgate in the east to London and Hammersmith in the west. The original plan was to pull the trains with steam locomotives, using firebricks in the boilers to provide steam, but these engines were never introduced. Instead, the line used specially designed locomotives that were fitted with water tanks in which steam could be condensed. However, smoke and fumes remained a problem, even though ventilation shafts were added to the tunnels.
Despite the extension of the underground railway, by the 1880s, congestion on London’s streets had become worse. The problem was partly that the existing underground lines formed a circuit around the centre of London and extended to the suburbs, but did not cross the capital’s centre. The ‘cut and cover’ method of construction was not an option in this part of the capital. The only alternative was to tunnel deep underground.
Although the technology to create these tunnels existed, steam locomotives could not be used in such a confined space. It wasn’t until the development of a reliable electric motor, and a means of transferring power from the generator to a moving train, that the world’s first deep-level electric railway, the City & South London, became possible. The line opened in 1890, and ran from the City to Stockwell, south of the River Thames. The trains were made up of three carriages and were driven by electric engines. The carriages were narrow and had tiny windows just below the roof because it was thought that passengers would not want to look out at the tunnel walls. The line was not without its problems, mainly caused by an unreliable power supply, Although the City & South London Railway was a great technical achievement, it did not make a profit. Then, in 1900, the Central London Railway, known as the ‘Tuppenny Tube’, began operation using new electric locomotives. It was very popular and soon afterward new railways and extensions were added to the growing tube network. By 1907, the heart of today’s Underground system was in place.
Cambridge IELTS 17 Reading Test 01
Vocabulary List for READING PASSAGE 1
- astonishing-adjective-extremely surprising or impressive; amazing.-“an astonishing achievement”
- horse-drawn – adj – (of a vehicle) pulled by a horse or horses. – “a horse-drawn carriage”
- horse-drawn carriage – large, usually closed, four-wheeled carriage with two or more horses harnessed as a team, controlled by a coachman. Coupé: The horse-drawn carriage equivalent of a modern coupe automobile.
- solicitor – a member of the legal profession qualified to deal with conveyancing, the drawing up of wills, and other legal matters. A solicitor may also instruct barristers and represent clients in some courts.
- coincide – to happen at or near the same time; to occupy the same positions on a scale ;
I timed my holiday to coincide with the children’s.
- mesmerize – verb – capture the complete attention of (someone); transfix.
“They were mesmerized by his story”
- What does persisted mean?
: to continue to do something in spite of opposition, warnings, or pleas : persevere. : to last on and on : continue to exist. persister noun.
- What does it mean by pertaining to?
: to belong as a part, member, accessory, or product. (2) : to belong as an attribute, feature, or function. the destruction pertaining to war.
- What is an example of beneath?
We had a picnic beneath a large tree. The paper was hidden beneath a pile of books. She wore a sweater beneath her coat.
- trench– A trench is a type of excavation or in the ground that is generally deeper than it is wide (as opposed to a wider gully, or ditch), and narrow compared with its length (as opposed to a simple hole or pit)
- timber beams – Timber post and beam construction is a building method that comprises vertical structural posts and horizontal beams, jointed to form a structural frame into which walls are ‘placed’.
- steam locomotives – A steam locomotive is a locomotive that provides the force to move itself and other vehicles by means of the expansion of steam.
- firebricks – Principal raw materials for firebrick include fireclays, mainly hydrated aluminum silicates; minerals of high aluminum oxide content, such as bauxite, diaspore, and kyanite; sources of silica, including sand and quartzite; magnesia minerals, magnesite, dolomite, forsterite, and olivine; chromite, a solid solution of
- boilers – A boiler is a closed vessel in which fluid (generally water) is heated. The fluid does not necessarily boil. The heated or vaporized fluid exits the boiler for use in various processes or heating applications, including water heating, central heating, boiler-based power generation, cooking, and sanitation.
- locomotives – A locomotive or engine is a rail transport vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. If a locomotive is capable of carrying a payload, it is usually rather referred to as a multiple unit, motor coach, railcar or power car; the use of these self-propelled vehicles is increasingly common for passenger trains, but rare for freight.
- condensed – condensed adjective (REDUCED)
—(of a liquid) made thicker by removing some of the water: condensed soup. condensed milk. (of a piece of writing) made shorter in length: The speech was largely a condensed version of his book.
- electric locomotives – An electric locomotive is a locomotive powered by electricity from overhead lines, a third rail or on-board energy storage such as a battery or a supercapacitor.
- ‘cut and cover’ method – Cut and cover construction involves using excavation equipment to dig a large trench or rectangular hole in the ground which is then covered by a concrete deck.
- smoke and fumes – Smoke is a fine solid formed by incomplete burning. Fumes are fine airborne particles produced when a solid vapourises and condenses, eg during welding.
- ventilation shafts – Ventilation shafts (or vent shafts) are similar to an exhaust fan for the wastewater system. Vent shafts allow air to enter and exit the wastewater system, which is important to help the system work properly.
- Cambridge IELTS 17 Reading Test 01
Cambridge IELTS 17 Reading Test 01
READING PASSAGE 2
Stadiums: past, present, and future
Stadiums are among the oldest forms of urban architecture: vast stadiums where the public could watch sporting events were at the centre of western city life as far back as the ancient Greek and Roman Empires, well before the construction of the great medieval cathedrals and the grand 19th- and 20th-century railway stations which dominated urban skylines in later eras.
Today, however, stadiums are regarded with growing scepticism. Construction costs can soar above £1 billion, and stadiums finished for major events such as the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup have notably fallen into disuse and disrepair.
But this need not be the cause. History shows that stadiums can drive urban development and adapt to the culture of every age. Even today, architects and planners are finding new ways to adapt the mono-functional sports arenas which became emblematic of modernization during the 20th century.
The amphitheatre* of Arles in southwest France, with a capacity of 25,000 spectators, is perhaps the best example of just how versatile stadiums can be. Built by the Romans in 90 AD, it became a fortress with four towers after the fifth century and was then transformed into a village containing more than 200 houses. With the growing interest in conservation during the 19th century, it was converted back into an arena for the staging of bullfights, thereby returning the structure to its original use as a venue for public spectacles.
Another example is the imposing arena of Verona in northern Italy, with space for 30,000 spectators, which was built 60 years before the Arles amphitheatre and 40 years before Rome’s famous Colosseum. It has endured the centuries and is currently considered one of the world’s prime sites for opera, thanks to its outstanding acoustics.
The area in the centre of the Italian town of Lucca, known as the Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro, is yet another impressive example of an amphitheatre becoming absorbed into the fabric of the city. The site evolved in a similar way to Arles and was progressively filled with buildings from the Middle Ages until the 19th century, variously used as houses, a salt depot and a prison. But rather than reverting to an arena, it became a market square, designed by Romanticist architect Lorenzo Nottolini. Today, the ruins of the amphitheatre remain embedded in the various shops and residences surrounding the public square.
There are many similarities between modern stadiums and the ancient amphitheatres intended for games. But some of the flexibility was lost at the beginning of the 20th century, as stadiums were developed using new products such as steel and reinforced concrete, and made use of bright lights for night-time matches.
Many such stadiums are situated in suburban areas, designed for sporting use only and surrounded by parking lots. These factors mean that they may not be as accessible to the general public, require more energy to run and contribute to urban heat.
But many of today’s most innovative architects see scope for the stadium to help improve the city. Among the current strategies, two seem to be having particular success: the stadium as an urban hub, and as a power plant.
There’s a growing trend for stadiums to be equipped with public spaces and services that serve a function beyond sport, such as hotels, retail outlets, conference centres, restaurants and bars, children’s playgrounds, and green space. Creating mixed-use developments such as this reinforces compactness and multi-functionality, making more efficient use of land and helping to regenerate urban spaces.
This opens the space up to families and a wider cross-section of society, instead of catering only to sportspeople and supporters. There have been many examples of this in the UK: the mixed-use facilities at Wembley and Old Trafford have become a blueprint for many other stadiums in the world.
The phenomenon of stadiums as power stations has arisen from the idea that energy problems can be overcome by integrating interconnected buildings by means of a smart grid, which is an electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage, without significant energy losses. Stadiums are ideal for these purposes because their canopies have a large surface area for fitting photovoltaic panels and rise high enough (more than 40 metres) to make use of micro wind turbines.
Freiburg Mage Solar Stadium in Germany is the first of a new wave of stadiums as power plants, which also includes the Amsterdam Arena and the Kaohsiung Stadium. The latter, inaugurated in 2009, has 8,844 photovoltaic panels producing up to 1.14 GWh of electricity annually. This reduces the annual output of carbon dioxide by 660 tons and supplies up to 80 percent of the surrounding area when the stadium is not in use. This is proof that a stadium can serve its city, and have a decidedly positive impact in terms of the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Sporting arenas have always been central to the life and culture of cities. In every era, the stadium has acquired new value and uses: from military fortress to a residential village, public space to the theatre, and most recently a field for experimentation in advanced engineering. The stadium of today now brings together multiple functions, thus helping cities to create a sustainable future.
Cambridge IELTS 17 Reading Test 01
Vocabulary List for READING PASSAGE 2
- A bishop — is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of authority and oversight in a religious institution.
- cathedrals – A cathedral is a church that contains the cathedra (Latin for ‘seat’) of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate.[
- medieval – With its roots medi-, meaning “middle”, and ev-, meaning “age”, medieval literally means “of the Middle Ages”. In this case, middle means “between the Roman empire and the Renaissance”—that is, after the fall of the great Roman state and before the “rebirth” of culture that we call the Renaissance.
- urban skylines – A skyline is the outline or shape viewed near the horizon. It can be created by a city’s overall structure, or by human intervention in a rural setting, or in nature that is formed where the sky meets buildings or the land.
- scepticism – an attitude that shows you doubt whether something is true or useful:
The company’s environmental claims have been greeted/regarded/treated with scepticism by conservationists.
- Construction costs can soar – here, sour means – to increase very quickly in amount or price. The temperature soared to 100 degrees. Stock prices are beginning to soar. The oil shortage sent prices soaring.
- disuse — the state of not being used.
“his voice was croaky with disuse
- disrepair. /ˌdɪs.rɪˈper/ the state of being broken or old and need to be repaired: The building has fallen into disrepair over the years. In bad condition.
- mono-functional- monofunctional (not comparable) Having a single function. (organic chemistry) Having a single functional group.
- emblematic – adj- serving as a symbol of a particular quality or concept; symbolic.
“this case is emblematic of a larger problem”
- amphitheatre – noun – (especially in Greek and Roman architecture) an open circular or oval building with a central space surrounded by tiers of seats for spectators, for the presentation of dramatic or sporting events. “the opera was performed in the Roman amphitheatre”
- spectators – noun -a person who watches at a show, game, or other events.
“around fifteen thousand spectators came to watch the thrills and spills”
- fortress – fortress. noun [ C ] us. /ˈfɔr·trəs/ a large, strong building or group of buildings that can be defended from attack.
- spectacles – a pair of glasses
- What is reinforce concept?
If something reinforces a feeling, situation, or process, it makes it stronger or more intense.
- What is reinforce concept? If something reinforces a feeling, situation, or process, it makes it stronger or more intense.
- Photovoltaics (PV) is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry. The photovoltaic effect is commercially used for electricity generation and as photosensors.
- micro wind turbines – Small wind turbines, also known as micro wind turbines, generate electricity for small-scale use. These turbines are typically smaller than those found in wind farms. Small wind turbines often have passive yaw systems as opposed to active ones.
- amphitheatre: (especially in Greek and Roman architecture) an open circular or oval building with a central space surrounded by tiers of seats for spectators, for the presentation of dramatic or sporting events
To catch a king
Anna Keay reviews Charles Spencer’s book about the hunt for King Charles II during the English Civil War of the seventeenth century
Charles Spencer’s latest book, To Catch a King, tells us the story of the hunt for King Charles II in the six weeks after his resounding defeat at the Battle of Worcester in September 1651. And what a story it is. After his father was executed by the Parliamentarians in 1649, the young Charles II sacrificed one of the very principles his father had died for and did a deal with Scots, thereby accepting Presbyterianism* as the national religion in return for being crowned King of Scots. His arrival in Edinburgh prompted the English Parliamentary army to invade Scotland in a pre-emptive strike. This was followed by a Scottish invasion of England. The two sides finally faced one another at Worcester in the west of England in 1651. After being comprehensively defeated on the meadows outside the city by the Parliamentarian army, the 21-year-old king found himself the subject of a national manhunt, with a huge sum offered for his capture, through a series of heart-poundingly close escapes, to evade the Parliamentarians before seeking refuge in France. For the next nine years, the penniless and defeated Charles wandered around Europe with only a small group of loyal supporters.
Years later, after his restoration as king, the 50-year-old Charles II requested a meeting with the writer and diarist Samuel Pepys. His intention when asking Pepys to commit his story to paper was to ensure that this most extraordinary episode was never forgotten. Over two three-hour sittings, the king related to him in great detail his personal recollections of the six weeks he had spent as a fugitive. As the king and secretary settled down (a scene that is surely a gift for a future scriptwriter), Charles commenced his story: ‘After the battle was so absolutely lost as to be beyond hope of recovery, I began to think of the best way of saving myself.’
One of the joys of Spencer’s book, a result not least of its use of Charles II’s own narrative as well as those of his supporters, is just how close the reader gets to the action. The day-by-day retelling of the fugitives’ doings provides delicious details: the cutting of the king’s long hair with agricultural shears, the use of walnut leaves to dye his pale skin, and the day Charles spent lying on a branch of the great oak tree in Boscobel Wood as the Parliamentary soldiers scoured the forest floor below. Spencer draws out both the humour – such as the preposterous refusal of Charles’s friend Henry Wilmot to adopt disguise on the grounds that it was beneath his dignity – and the emotional tension when the secret of the king’s presence was cautiously revealed to his supporters.
Charles’s adventures after losing the Battle of Worcester hide the uncomfortable truth that whilst almost everyone in England had been appalled by the execution of his father, they had not welcomed the arrival of his son with the Scots army, but had instead firmly bolted their doors. This was partly because he rode at the head of what looked like a foreign invasion force and partly because, after almost a decade of civil war, people were desperate to avoid it beginning again. This makes it all the more interesting that Charles II himself loved the story so much ever after. As well as retelling it to anyone who would listen, causing eye-rolling among courtiers, he set in train a series of initiatives to memorialise it. There was to be a new order of chivalry, the Knights of the Royal Oak. A series of enormous oil paintings depicting the episode were produced, including a two-metre-wide canvas of Boscobel Wood and a set of six similarly enormous paintings of the king on the run. In 1660, Charles II commissioned the artist John Michael Wright to paint a flying squadron of cherubs* carrying an oak tree to the heavens on the ceiling of his bedchamber. It is hard to imagine many other kings marking the lowest point in their life so enthusiastically, or indeed pulling off such an escape in the first place.
Charles Spencer is the perfect person to pass the story on to a new generation. His pacey, readable prose steers deftly clear of modern idioms and elegantly brings to life the details of the great tale. He has even-handed sympathy for both the fugitive king and the fierce republican regime that hunted him, and he succeeds in his desire to explore far more of the background of the story than previous books on the subject have done. Indeed, the opening third of the book is about how Charles II found himself at Worcester in the first place, which for some will be reason alone to read To Catch a King.
The tantalizing question left, in the end, is that of what it all meant. Would Charles II have been a different king had these six weeks never happened? The days and nights spent in hiding must have affected him in some way. Did the need to assume disguises, to survive on wit and charm alone, to use trickery and subterfuge to escape from tight corners help form him? This is the one area where the book doesn’t quite hit the mark. Instead its depiction of Charles II in his final years as an ineffective, pleasure-loving monarch doesn’t do justice to the man (neither is it accurate), or to the complexity of his character. But this one niggle aside, To Catch a King is an excellent read, and those who come to it knowing little of the famous tale will find they have a treat in store.
Cambridge IELTS 17 Reading Test 01
Vocabulary List for READING PASSAGE 3
- resounding defeat – meaning opposite of resounding victory. What is a resounding victory? a very great success, victory, etc.
- Parliamentariansa member of a parliament, especially one well versed in its procedure and experienced in debate.”the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary are sound parliamentarians”
- What’s the meaning of Scots?belonging to or relating to Scotland or its people: His wife is Scots.
- Presbyterianism – Presbyterianism, Form of church government based on rule by elders, or presbyters. The presbyters who govern the church are grouped in a hierarchy of courts, the highest of which is the general assembly. They are elected by the members of the congregation for fixed terms, in a system intended to affirm the equality of all Christians. The term Presbyterianism also refers to a denomination, the Presbyterian Church. The modern Presbyterian churches trace their origins to the Calvinist churches of the British Isles; in continental Europe such congregations were known as Reformed churches.
- Does the word invade mean?to enter forcefully as an enemy; go into with hostile intent: Germany invaded Poland in 1939. to enter like an enemy: Locusts invaded the fields. to enter as if to take possession: to invade a neighbor’s home. to enter and affect injuriously or destructively, as disease: viruses that invade the bloodstream.
- pre-emptive strike.A pre-emptive attack or strike is intended to weaken or damage an enemy or opponent, for example by destroying their weapons before they can do any harm.
- meadow – a piece of grassland, especially one used for hay.”a meadow ready for cutting”
- Manhuntan organized search for a criminal, suspect, or escaped prisoner.”the military launched a big manhunt for army coup leaders”
- heart-poundingadjectiveCausing the heart to pound; dramatically exciting or shocking.
- to evadeverbescape or avoid (someone or something), especially by guile or trickery.”friends helped him to evade capture for a time”
- the pennilessadjective(of a person) having no money; very poor.”a penniless young student”
- bursary – a grant, especially one awarded to someone to enable them to study at university or college.
- diarist – a person who writes a diary.
- fugitive – a person who has escaped from captivity or is in hiding.
- captivity – noun: captivity; plural noun: captivities – the condition of being imprisoned or confined.shears – a cutting instrument in which two blades move past each other, like scissors but typically larger.
- “when cutting roses, always use a sharp, clean pair of shears”
- pale skin – Pale skin makes the skin appear lighter than usual. Another term for this is paleness, and it can occur in a person with any skin tone. While people associate paleness with the face, it can also cause the nail bed to become very light or white. The color change can also affect the lips, gums, and tongue.
- Boscobel Wood – Boscobel Wood is a rare form of hardwood that is often used for decorative furniture and accessories. It is not widely known outside of specialist circles, and is mostly used to craft unique and attractive pieces of furniture, but it can also be used to create a number of other decorative items.
- scoured – clean or brighten the surface of (something) by rubbing it hard, typically with an abrasive or detergent.
- “she scoured the cooker”
- the humour – the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech. “his tales are full of humour”
- preposterous – adjective- contrary to reason or common sense; utterly absurd or ridiculous. “a preposterous suggestion”
- disguise– verb -give (someone or oneself) a different appearance in order to conceal one’s identity.”we took elaborate measures to disguise ourselves as locals”
- whilst – conjunction – during the time that; at the same time as. “Michael runs the island co-operative whilst Mary runs the pub”
- appalled– adjective – greatly dismayed or horrified. “Alison looked at me, appalled”
- courtiers – plural noun: courtiers -a person who attends a royal court as a companion or adviser to the king or queen.
- memorialise– verb: memorialise – preserve the memory of; commemorate. “the novel memorialized their childhood summers”
- chivalry – very polite, honest, and kind behaviour, especially by men towards women; the system of behaviour followed by knights in the medieval period of history, that put a high value on honour, kindness, and courage: the age of chivalry
- flying squadron of cherubs
- bedchamber – a bedroom – A bedchamber is a bedroom. [formal]
- pulling off such an escape in the first place.
- pacey, – adjective: paceymoving or progressing quickly.”a pacy thriller”
- prose steers –
- fierce republican regime
- tantalizing question
- wit and charm alone,
- trickery and subterfuge
- pleasure-loving monarch
- Presbyterianism: part of the reformed Protestant religion
- cherub: an image of angelic children used in paintings
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