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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I should immediately declare my vested interest in the historical content of this novel.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

Posted By Robert. Stephenson

One December 7th the first German train runs between Nürnberg and Fürth. Powered by the Alder (Eagle) this locomotive was built by Stephenson and Co. in Newcastle upon Tyne and followed along the lines of a Patentee 2-2-2. The locomotive would stay in service until 1857. 

Posted By Robert. Stephenson

In 1827 George Hudson, a draper in what is now the National Trust Shop in York, inherited £30,000 and took a huge risk by investing in the North Midland Railway. By 1837 he was Lord Mayor of York and ‘Railway King’, controlling over 1,000 miles of track. Within ten years he was bankrupt and in disgrace was imprisoned from 1865 to 1866. The effect of the advancement of the railways to York’s prosperity is today reflected by the presence of the National Railway Museum.

Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Alexander McKenzie Ross (25 December 1805 - 8 August 1862) was a British builder and engineer.

Funerary monument, Brompton  cemetery, London

Together with Robert Stephenson, son of the builder of the Rocket locomotive, he designed the famous Victoria Bridge at Montreal, Quebec, the first bridge to span the St. Lawrence River. The bridge, opened in 1859, remains in use to this day, carrying both road and rail traffic.
Ross was chief engineer for Canada's Grand Trunk Railway, including the Victoria Bridge over the St. Lawrence River. He had been the former resident engineer on the Chester and Holyhead Railway, also working with Stephenson. They had worked on numerous challenging projects in the UK, together with Francis Thompson.
Ross died in Chiswick and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.


Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Various shots of a very old locomotive - presumably Stephenson's Rocket from the title. M/S of the train being pushed towards the camera by a group of men. A man in a bowler hat directs the work. Group of men carry a piece of track for the locomotive. They put it in place then move another piece around to the front of the train. This is presumably what they have to do to move this old loco along the road as they only seem to have a small amount of track.

C/U of the back of the loco. A flap is opened to show the inside of the engine. High angle shot of the men pushing the locomotive. They push the loco along the track. M/S of the engine being pushed towards the camera - this time inside a building. C/U of one of the wheels. M/S of the men removing the funnel and handing it down to other workers. It is lowered by means of a rope. M/S of men bodily pushing the engine along - looks like hard work.

Presumably this film was shot to show how the engine had to be moved manually either to or from a museum. Seems to be unedited material. Probably shot for Pathe Pictorial.



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