George and Robert Stephenson

Samuel Smiles (1812 - 1904)

George Stephenson did not invent the steam engine, that was due to Newcomen and later to James Watt. He did not invent the steam locomotive, that was due to a number of people including Cugnot, Trevithick and others. He did not invent the Railway. Railways or tramways had been in use for two hundred years before Stephenson.

The reason why Stephenson was known as ‘The father of the steam locomotive’ was that he took a primitive, unreliable and wholly uneconomic device and turning it into an efficient machine not very different to those which ran until fifty or so years ago, married it with the iron rail and alone, and against considerable opposition,began, via the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and then the London and Birmingham Railway, the development of steam railways in England and the world.

George Stephenson began life in 1781 in the worst and poorest of all circumstances, he did not learn to read until he was twenty years old, but he, together with his son Robert, became the foremost engineers in the railway world.

If, in the middle years of the nineteenth century you wanted to build a railway, then, if you wanted it big bold and imaginative you might go to Mr. Brunel. If you wanted it to pay however, you would go to the Sephensons. (Summary by AJM)

Genre(s): Biography & Autobiography, Transportation

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Introduction Part 1 Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 01 Introduction Part 2 Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 02 Chapter 1 Newcastle and the Great Northern Coal Field Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 03 Chapter 2 George Stephenson's Early Years Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 04 Chapter 3 Engineman at Willington Quay Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 05 Chapter 4 The Stephensons at Killingworth Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 06 Chapter 5 Early History of the Locomotive Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 07 Chapter 6 Invention of the 'Geordy' Safety Lamp Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 08 Chapter 7 George Stephenson's further Improvement of the Locomotive Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 09 Chapter 8 George Stephenson, Engineer of the Stockton and Darlington Railway Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 10 Chapter 9 The Liverpool and Manchester Railway Projected Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 11 Chapter 10 Chat Moss. Construction of the Railway Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 12 Chapter 11 Robert Stephenson in Colombia, The 'Rocket' Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 13 Chapter 12 Opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 14 Chapter 13 Robert Stephenson Constructs the London and Birmingham Railway Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 15 Chapter 14 Manchester and Leeds and Midland Railways Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 16 Chapter 15 George Stephenson's Coal Mines Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 17 Chapter 16 Robert Stephenson's Career Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 18 Chapter 17 Robert Stephenson's Tubular Bridges at Menai and Conway Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 19 Chapter 18 George Stephenson's Closing Years - Illness and Death Andy Minter (1934-2017)
Play 20 Chapter 19 Robert Stephenson's Illness and Death. Stephenson Characteristics Andy Minter (1934-2017)