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.
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A PROFILE OF ROBERT STEPHENSON CAN BE SEEN HERE

 

A short biography of Robert Stephenson can be seen here

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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.

 


 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Mr Stephenson’s Regret by David Williams

I should immediately declare my vested interest in the historical content of this novel. As a Trustee of the Robert Stephenson Trust and a member of the Panel for Historical Engineering Works I am committed to the continued recognition of the great engineers of the past.

 

In welcoming the publication of this book I was prepared to give some latitude in the accuracy of its historic content if a little disappointed to see the Author’s note that made reference to Samuel Smile’s biography of the Stephenson’s which is somewhat discredited  by modern historians. However my initial reaction was swiftly countered by David Williams’ further reference to the Hunter Davis biography even if I also would have liked to see references to the recent publications, The Eminent Engineer, (Bailey), Prodigy (Haworth), and Railway Engineer (Addyman/Haworth).  

 

The narrative follows two intertwined timeline threads, one commencing with the funeral of George Stephenson and ending with the opening of the High Level Bridge across the River Tyne. The other thread commences with the childhood memories of Robert Stephenson and ends with the opening of the Liverpool Manchester Railway.

 

Weaving these threads together the author tells a story of the sometimes complex relationship between father and son, their family and wider associates. Robert’s Colombian adventure is vividly portrayed as is his confrontation with George Hudson, the Railway King. But there is much, much more to this book which follows the interaction between many nineteenth century personalities.

 

As for the historical accuracy? Well it’s certainly within my degree of latitude, indeed it is meticulously researched, adding colour and depth to many events portrayed in the history books.

 

David Williams’ novel could open the genius of the Stephensons to a new audience and foster a wider appreciation of the great achievements of the nineteenth century.    

 

As for what Mr Stephenson’s regret is I’m afraid you will have to read the book and make your own mind up what it is. I found the novel most enjoyable.  

 


ISBN: 978-1907954207
Publisher: Wild Wolf Publishing
Format: Trade Paperback and E-Book
Retail Price: £9.99 / £3.99


 
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