George Stephenson was born 9 June 1781, the son of a colliery fireman at Wylam, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
George grew up to work as a brakesman in the collieries where he spent his spare time taking the engines apart. When the pumping engine at Killingworth colliery was not working properly George offered to fix it and consequently was promoted to enginewright.
Portrait in ICE collection
Stephenson invented his first locomotive engine, the Blücher in 1814 possibly inspired by Richard Trevithick's visit to Tyneside. The engine was designed to pull the wagons at Killingworth; it could haul 30 tons at 4mph and was the first locomotive to rely on contact between its flanged wheel and the rails for traction.
From Nicholas Wood, A practical treatise on roads, 1825. Nicholas Wood was one of the judges at the Rainhill Trials.
Stephenson was engineer for the Stockton and Darlington railway, the first passenger railway. His locomotvie design The Rocket, built with his son Robert won the Rainhill Trials, a competition to test engines for use on the Liverpool and Manchester railway.
Stephenson became the first President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1847.
ICE archives contain several letters written by George Stephenson and plans of several of his railways.
For more information see
Morris, C. George and robert Stepheosn, railway pioneers, 2010
Ross, D. George and robert Stephenson; a passion for success, 2010
Rolt, L T C, George and Robert Stephenson; the railway revolution, 2009