Stephenson’s legacy to be preserved
The legacy of engineer Robert Stephenson will be preserved for future generations thanks to two projects supported by Heritage Lottery Fund grants totalling more than £25,000. The projects will keep the achievements of the railway pioneer alive while the Robert Stephenson Trust makes arrangements for new premises following the loss of its South Street Works museum in Newcastle.
A touring exhibition, to be organised by the Trust, will visit several venues throughout the region while a collection of books and papers detailing Stephenson’s work will be preserved and catalogued in a project to be run by The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers.
The Trust’s project – which has received a £12,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – will create an exhibition The Art of Robert Stephenson – Images of the Man, His Life and His Works. Over a three-year period this will tour the Tyne and Wear region with venues already confirmed in Alnwick, Berwick, Darlington, Morpeth and Shildon.
The exhibition will be complimented by a series of talks, activities for children and families, and an education pack for schools. The Institution of Civil Engineers and Newcastle City Council will be assisting the Trust in this work to engage children in practical activities that demonstrate the importance of engineering in the past and today.
The second project, for which the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers has received a £12,900 HLF grant, concentrates on the Institute’s Wood Memorial Hall Library which has care of the Robert Stephenson Trust’s collection of books and papers. The grant will enable the Grade II library itself to be cleaned and the Trust’s collection to be classified, labelled, catalogued and placed on-line making it widely available to the public for the first time. This project will recruit up to 15 volunteers to undertake the work, offering the chance for local people to gain new skills.
Commenting for the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, the president Malcolm Tilley said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Robert Stephenson Trust and HLF. Robert Stephenson’s was our vice-president when he died in 1859 and left £2,000 in his will, a huge sum of money in those days. It is fitting we can assist the Trust that honours his name in this way"