The Robert Stephenson Trust promotes the greatest engineer of the nineteenth century with the aim of making today's generation aware of his work and humanity to insire a new generation of engineers through his achievements.

These pages give news of the Stephensons, their associates, works and activities.
If you would like to contribute to the work of the Robert Stephenson Trust then please click here

 

A PROFILE OF ROBERT STEPHENSON CAN BE SEEN HERE

 

A short biography of Robert Stephenson can be seen here

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Liverpool and Manchester Railway - View near Liverpool, looking towards Manchester.
Liverpool and Manchester Railway - View near Liverpool, looking towards Manchester.

About this event

After last year's success, when the Smeaton lecture sold out weeks in advance and attracted nearly 300 delegates, this key annual event is back for its 2016 edition.

This year’s topic will look at the design and construction of the Liverpool to Manchester railway.

Opened on 15-16 September 1830, the Liverpool to Manchester Railway is the first main-line and intercity railway in the world. As such it was a prototype project, and remains of global interest, most famously for the establishment of steam locomotive traction as a prime mover, paving the way for a transport revolution that transformed the world over the next 50 years. The Railway was a showcase for British engineering establishing a demand for British engineering expertise all over the world.

The lecture will describe the planning, procurement, design, management and construction of this pioneering engineering work and its initial operation. It will consider the project in the context of the state of civil engineering in the 1820s and its significance today.

The line involved many major engineering works: tunnels and deep cuttings through sandstone, long crossings of deep bogs, inclines considered too steep for locomotive working, and majestic bridges and viaducts. The total quantity of excavation for the railway was about 3m. cubic yards.

The station at Liverpool Road, Manchester is the oldest passenger station in the world and sufficient of its 63 bridges and infrastructure survive to justify its inscription as an ASCE International Civil Engineering landmark in 2016.


 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson

NATIONAL CONFERENCE – 17TH JUNE, 2015 UPDATE

The Chair reported that all the speakers had accepted the invitation to present papers to the conference had now accepted with the exception of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and Sustrans, but she will be contacting Ironbridge Gorge and Sustrans for a response.

The dinner on the evening of the Conference will take place in the Great Hall at the Redworth Hall Hotel and arrangements were in hand.

Arrangements for the Cradle of the Railways walk in the Shildon area on the 16th June had been agreed.  It will be organised and conducted by Durham County Council.  This will be followed by a tour of the Timothy Hackworth Museum and then a drinks reception at Locomotion.

The Conference will take place on the 17th June from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Displays will be at the main entrance to Locomotion.

A request has been made to the North of England Museum at Beamish for the loan of the working model of Locomotion No. 1.  This necessitates risk assessments and insurance which will be addressed.

The dinner on the evening of the 17th June at the Redworth Hall Hotel would be the get together for the key players to reflect on the presentations made at the conference, to work together to preserve what has been left of the original 1825 railway and to discuss the feasibility of a World Heritage Bid and what should be included.  Any potential bid for funding for the Conservation Management Plan and the World Heritage Site bid will have to address what is unique and special about the Stockton and Darlington Railway and all towns, villages and communities along the route must benefit from the protection, preservation and restoration of the route which includes economic regeneration.

Auckland Castle has been approached to form a link with the Friends and to participate in the conference.

It was anticipated that there would be 150 to 200 delegates present at the conference.  There would be no delegate fees and the three Councils would be asked to meeting any shortfall in the cost of the conference.

The National Railway Museum fully supported the conference.

A request had been made through the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for the Secretary of State to open the conference, but no response had been received.  The Friends President, Lord Foster, will be asked to approach the Permanent Secretary.  A member suggested that the current Under Secretary of State for Transport be asked to open the conference if there had not been a response from the Permanent Secretary.  The Under Secretary of State is a Patron of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and is keenly interested in heritage railways. 

The Deputy Editor of the Northern Echo had been approached to chair the afternoon session.  The Deputy Editor is considering this and he will be asked again.

The meeting suggested that invitations to the conference be made to the Stephenson, Pease and Backhouse families.

The delegates list will include the Leaders, Cabinet Members and officers with responsibility for culture, heritage and economic regeneration with Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council and Stockton on Tees Borough Council.  Two or three representatives from the Town and Parish Councils along the original route and from the railway heritage groups and local and national train operating companies.

A power point presentation was being drawn up to be taken to meetings of the Town and Parish Councils along the route of the railway.

There was a question about if it was the Stockton and Darlington Railway or the 1825 line which was different and it was decided that the 1823 Act be examined for the correct route.


 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson

 NORTH TYNESIDE STEAM

A celebration of the bicentenary of the steam locomotive Blucher, together with the story of its creator George Stephenson in North Tyneside and of steam railways in the area

COMPILED AND EDITED BY KEITH ARMSTRONG AND PETER DIXON

PRICE £7.99

ISBN 978-1-871536-21-8

First published 2014 Design and artwork by Peter Dixon Published by Northern Voices Community Projects, 93 Woodburn Square, Whitley Lodge, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE26 3JD

This new book from Northern Voices Community Projects, commissioned by North Tyneside Council, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been published to mark the bicentenary of George Stephenson's steam locomotive Blucher and tells the story of its creator in Killingworth and North Tyneside and of steam railways in the area. Blucher was built by George Stephenson in Killingworth, North Tyneside in 1814 in the Colliery workshop behind Stephenson’s house, Dial Cottage.

The engine was named after the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher who fought in the battle of Waterloo, helping to defeat Napoleon. It pulled coal trucks along the wagonway from Killingworth to the coal staithes at Wallsend. Blucher made Stephenson’s reputation and over the next five years he built 16 more locomotives (many of which were built by recycling Blucher’s parts) at Killingworth, some for the Colliery and some for the Duke of Portland’s wagonway between Kilmarnock and Troon, which improved on the earlier engine, and this led to him being commissioned to build the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, establishing him as an engine designer and laying the foundations for his major role in the development of railways.

The book also celebrates the renovation of the sculpture by Charles Sansbury which was first erected in Killingworth town centre in 1971 to symbolise the town's association with George Stephenson. The sculpture was removed and put into storage during the regeneration of the town centre in the 90s and has not been on public display since. North Tyneside Council, with the active support of Killingworth Local History Society, has restored the 25ft-long metal artwork for the bicentenary of Blucher. Known locally as ‘The Killingworth Engine’, the sculpture was placed above the entrance to the town’s pool and community building. When that was bulldozed in 1994 to make way for a shopping development, it was taken down and chopped in half for easy storage.

Now the artwork, which had been kept at the Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields, has been restored and placed at the Southgate roundabout near the town. With historical documents and images, alongside poems, songs, stories, photographs and drawings by local people, the book is intended to ensure that the story of steam in North Tyneside is not forgotten.

Dr Keith Armstrong, Peter Dixon,

Northern Voices Community Projects


 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson

 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson


Geo Rbt Stephenson

 

Stephenson was born to Robert Stephenson Senior in Newcastle. He was born into a great family of civil engineers, his father was engineer of Pendleton Colliery and Nantlle Railway, his elder brother George Stephenson was a prolific railway engineer as were his uncle George Stephenson and cousin Robert Stephenson It was with Robert that he collaborated most, working together on the South Eastern Railway. Upon Robert's death in 1859 he took over his locomotive works and several collieries.

 

In the 1860s, Stephenson travelled to New Zealand to supervise the survey and arrangements for the construction of a railway from Christchurch, through Mount Pleasant to Lyttelton Harbour. The Lyttelton rail tunnel is still in use today as the country’s oldest operational rail tunnel. Stephenson enjoyed a long association with the country, for which he designed several other works in the mid-nineteenth century.

 

He is perhaps most famous for his close relationship with the Institution of Civil Engineers. He became a member in 1853 and was elected to the council in 1859. The expansion of the Institution's premises in 1868 was made possible by his donation of land to the rear of his offices at 24 Great George Street. He served as president of the Institution between December 1875 and December 1877.


He married Jane Brown in 1846 and had six children. After Jane died in 1884 he soon remarried to Sarah Harrison who died in 1893.

He died at his home in Cheltenham on 26 October 1905.

 


 


 
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