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Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Mr Stephenson regret
North East publisher, Wild Wolf Publishing is delighted to announce the release of Mr Stephenson's Regret by local award-winning author, David Williams.
This absorbing novel brings to dramatic life the pioneers of the railway age. Significant figures appear on the broad canvas of history – Wellington, Peel, Dickens and Queen Victoria among them – but the story belongs as much to the modest mining community that is home to George and Robert Stephenson in the early years, and to their intimates, not least the women in their lives (who have remained all but anonymous in the biographies).
Central to the narrative is the complex, often tense, relationship between father and son. Both have ambitions and desires that provide the engine for their achievements but also create a crisis of conflict that threatens to derail their journey at a crucial stage.
In following their battles, personally and as a partnership, much is revealed about nineteenth century society – about class division, self-interest and greed, indulgence and sexuality, repression and guilt – that may taint even the sweet taste of success.
Semi-finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
“This richly detailed and meticulously researched storyline breathes life and a palpable sense of intimacy into these historical figures and immerses readers in an England embroiled in political and social upheaval as it teeters on the cusp of the industrial revolution.”
~ Publishers Weekly
Title: Mr Stephenson's Regret
Author: David Williams
ISBN: 978-1907954207
Publisher: Wild Wolf Publishing
Format: Trade Paperback and E-Book
Retail Price: £9.99 / £3.99

Posted By Robert. Stephenson


Cpt Pim
Bedford Clapperton Trevelyan Pim accompanied Robert Stephenson on his visit to Egypt in 1858/1859 on the yacht Titania., He was a naval officer, born in Bideford, Devon, 12 June, 1826; died in London, 1 October, 1886. He was the only son of a captain in the British navy. He was educated at the Royal naval school, went to India in the merchant service, and on his return in 1842 was appointed a volunteer in the royal navy. He was employed for several years in the surveying service, made a voyage around the world in" the "Herald" in 1845-'51, and was engaged in the entire search for Sir John Franklin through Bering strait and Baffin bay.

He saved the crew of the "Investigator," which had been frozen in for three years, and was the first man to make his way from a ship on the eastern side of the northwest passage to one on the western side. He was in active service in the Russian war, and in China, where he was wounded six times, He was made a commander, 19 April, 1858, visited the Isthmus of Suez, and studied the question of an interoceanic canal in 1859, was sent to the West Indies in command of the "Gorgon" in 1860, and employed on the coast of Central America to prevent filibustering attempts on the part of William Walker against Nicaragua.

He retired on half-pay in 1861, visited Nicaragua in 1862 in company with Dr. Berthold Seemann, and devoted himself for several years to the project of interoceanic railway communication across that country and to the promotion of mining interests there. He was made a captain, 16 April, 1868, and was retired in April, 1870. He afterward studied law, was called to the bar of the Inner Temple, 27 January, 1873, elected to parliament as a Conservative in February, 1874, and retained his seat till 1880. At the time of his death he was the oldest arctic explorer. On the return of Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely and his comrades from the polar regions, he tendered them a banquet in Montreal.

He was a member of several scientific societies, proprietor of "The Navy," and author of "The Gate of the Pacific" (London, 1863) ; "Dottings on the Roadside in Panama, Nicaragua, and Mosquito," in conjunction with Dr. Berthold Seemann (1869) ; "The War Chronicle" (1873) ; "Essay on Feudal Tenure"; and various pamphlets and magazine articles.


Posted By Robert. Stephenson

josephbellMr Joseph Bell, 51, was born in Farlam, Cumberland in May 1861 and educated in Carlisle. He served an apprenticeship at Robert Stephenson & Co., Newcastle upon Tyne and commenced his seagoing career in 1883 with the Lamport & Holt Line of Liverpool.

Bell joined the White Star line in 1885 and served on many vessels trading on the company`s New Zealand and New York services. At the age of 30 he was promoted to Chief Engineer on the Coptic and he served aboard the Olympic before being transferred to the Titanic. He "stood-by" the ship during her construction in Belfast.

A member of the Institute of Marine Engineers and of the Royal Naval Reserve Joseph Bell lived at 1 Belvidere Road, Great Crosby, Liverpool but had a temporary address in Southampton.

Bell died in the sinking leaving a widow (Maud) and four children, two boys and two girls; the eldest boy, 16½ years old, had recently commenced an apprenticeship at Harland & Wolff and accompanied his father aboard Titanic when the ship sailed from Belfast to Southampton.

His estate at death was worth £6,457 2s 10d.

Posted By Robert. Stephenson

This is a photograph of a replica of the Iron Duke, part of the broad-gauge Iron Duke class of locomotives on the Great Western Railway. They were built to pull the express, and could travel up to 80 mph. In particular, they pulled what was then the world’s fastest express train, the Flying Dutchman, which ran between Paddington and Exeter. The first locomotive of that class was called the Great Western, after the railway company, and was built in 1846. The Iron Duke itself, named after the Duke of Wellington, who installed iron shutters on his windows during the parliamentary reform crisis so they would not be smashed by supporters of reform, was built in 1847 and remained in service until 1871. However, the class fell from favour when broad gauge was removed. The last of Iron Duke class of locomotives last saw service in 1887, but in 1985 this replica of the eponymous engine was built to mark the GWR’s 150th anniversary and is now, as shown here, in the National Railway Museum in York.

Iron Duke


Posted By Robert. Stephenson


Although it was authorised as a through line by an Act of 1834, the Durham Junction Railway opened to mineral traffic in August 1838 as a five-mile branch between the Stanhope & Tyne line at Washington South Junction and Rainton Meadows. Passenger services began in March 1840. Four years later it became part of the Newcastle & Darlington Junction Railway and hence the East Coast Main Line, but this elevated status lasted only until 1868 when the North Eastern opened a shorter link between Newton Hall Junction, north of Durham, and Gateshead. Under the banner of the Leamside line, its remaining life was spent serving local passenger and freight trains, occasionally acting as a useful ECML diversion.

Based on the Roman bridge at Alcántara in Spain, the route's most significant engineering work was the Victoria bridge, later retitled Victoria Viaduct. Designed by Thomas Elliot Harrison and built from rusticated sandstone by James Walker, it carried its two tracks over the River Wear at a height of 135 feet. Work started in 1836 and the official opening coincided with Queen Victoria's coronation on 28th June 1838.

The remarkable structure comprises four vast arches - the middle two boasting spans of 160 feet (over the river) and 144 feet, with the others measuring 100 feet. Beyond these were king piers and then three small approach spans of 20 feet each. Of Britain's remaining masonry railway viaducts, it has a single span surpassed only by Ballochmyle Viaduct on the Glasgow Paisley Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway to the north-west of Cumnock. Designed by John Miller, that one reaches 181 feet in length.

The top of Victoria's parapet is 156 feet above its foundations. The main arches, with their voussoirs and bands, sit on huge two-stage piers; above them are semi-circular buttresses which extend upwards to form trackworker refuges on both sides of the track.

Regular passenger services on the Leamside line succumbed to the Beeching cuts in May 1964. The viaduct enjoyed a significant refurbishment in 1989/90 but, with Durham coal traffic dwindling, the line was mothballed in 1991 following the demise of Follingsby freight terminal. By then, the structure had received its Grade II* listing.

Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Authority commissioned a study into the Leamside's future in 2006, citing the potential for reopening it as part of the local commuter network or the Metro. It continues to appear in regional transport plans but none has resulted in a firm proposal.



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