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 short biography of Robert Stephenson can be seen here

Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Canada has found one of the two sunken British ships from Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition that disappeared in the Arctic, parts of the deck and mainmast intact.

The wreck was discovered about 11 meters (36 feet) below the surface in Queen Maud Gulf, off the Nunavut mainland, about 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) north of Toronto, said John Geiger, chief executive officer of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, which participated in the search. “This is one of the two most important undiscovered shipwrecks in the world,” Geiger said today in a statement. “It’s a wonderful and exciting discovery that promises to shed more light on the ill-fated expedition’s final months, weeks, and days.” It’s not clear yet whether the vessel is Her Majesty’s Ship Erebus or the HMS Terror, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper who announced the discovery at a media conference in Ottawa today.

The discovery’s authenticity was confirmed on Sept. 7 using a remotely operated underwater vehicle, Harper said in a statement. Finding the ships has been part of a drive by Harper’s Conservative government to assert sovereignty over Canada’s north at a time when territorial claims in the Arctic are being challenged internationally. Parks Canada, a federal agency, has led six searches for the lost ships since 2008.

 “This is truly a historic moment for Canada,” Harper said in his statement. “Franklin’s ships are an important part of Canadian history given that his expeditions, which took place nearly 200 years ago, laid the foundations of Canada’s Arctic sovereignty.” Divers are exploring the wreck, which was found about a couple hundred kilometers south of the initial search area, to identify it before weather conditions worsen, Geiger said in a telephone interview. Future efforts will continue the search for the other Franklin vessel, he said. “We only have one of the two expedition ships, so there will be ongoing efforts to locate the other vessel and complete the story,” he said. Parks Canada’s Ryan Harris, who led the search, revealed today in Ottawa a sonar image of the find that showed deck structures and the mainmast, which was sheared off by the ice when the ship sank.

The contents of the ship are likely well preserved, Harris said, according to a press pool report. ‘Historic Moment’ The Erebus and Terror left England in May 1845 under command of Franklin on an Arctic expedition to search for a Northwest Passage to Asia.

The expedition’s two ships set out with 134 officers and men. The ships became trapped in ice in late 1846 and remained so for about one and a half years, according to a message found in a cairn on King William Island in 1859. The message said Franklin died on June 11, 1847 and an additional 23 crew members had also perished. On April 1848, the 105 remaining survivors deserted the ships. The entire complement of both ships perished and the ships were lost to the ice, according to a briefing on a government website.

The missing ships and fate of Franklin and his crew sparked searches by British and American expeditions starting in 1848, with more recent efforts by Canadian researchers. Canadian archaeologists in July 2010 found the wreck of the HMS Investigator, which was abandoned in 1853 after becoming trapped in ice while searching for Franklin.

Posted By Robert. Stephenson


A celebration of the bicentenary of the steam locomotive Blucher, together with the story of its creator George Stephenson in North Tyneside and of steam railways in the area


PRICE £7.99

ISBN 978-1-871536-21-8

First published 2014 Design and artwork by Peter Dixon Published by Northern Voices Community Projects, 93 Woodburn Square, Whitley Lodge, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE26 3JD

This new book from Northern Voices Community Projects, commissioned by North Tyneside Council, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been published to mark the bicentenary of George Stephenson's steam locomotive Blucher and tells the story of its creator in Killingworth and North Tyneside and of steam railways in the area. Blucher was built by George Stephenson in Killingworth, North Tyneside in 1814 in the Colliery workshop behind Stephenson’s house, Dial Cottage.

The engine was named after the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher who fought in the battle of Waterloo, helping to defeat Napoleon. It pulled coal trucks along the wagonway from Killingworth to the coal staithes at Wallsend. Blucher made Stephenson’s reputation and over the next five years he built 16 more locomotives (many of which were built by recycling Blucher’s parts) at Killingworth, some for the Colliery and some for the Duke of Portland’s wagonway between Kilmarnock and Troon, which improved on the earlier engine, and this led to him being commissioned to build the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, establishing him as an engine designer and laying the foundations for his major role in the development of railways.

The book also celebrates the renovation of the sculpture by Charles Sansbury which was first erected in Killingworth town centre in 1971 to symbolise the town's association with George Stephenson. The sculpture was removed and put into storage during the regeneration of the town centre in the 90s and has not been on public display since. North Tyneside Council, with the active support of Killingworth Local History Society, has restored the 25ft-long metal artwork for the bicentenary of Blucher. Known locally as ‘The Killingworth Engine’, the sculpture was placed above the entrance to the town’s pool and community building. When that was bulldozed in 1994 to make way for a shopping development, it was taken down and chopped in half for easy storage.

Now the artwork, which had been kept at the Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields, has been restored and placed at the Southgate roundabout near the town. With historical documents and images, alongside poems, songs, stories, photographs and drawings by local people, the book is intended to ensure that the story of steam in North Tyneside is not forgotten.

Dr Keith Armstrong, Peter Dixon,

Northern Voices Community Projects

Posted By Robert. Stephenson

The artwork by Charles Sansbury was first erected in Killingworth town centre in 1971 to symbolise the town's association with George Stephenson who lived there from 1804 and designed the Blucher - his first locomotive - in 1814 has been reinstalled

Posted By Robert. Stephenson
by  Janet Plater
Directed by Robert Webb
Starring  CHRIS CONNEL as ‘George Stephenson’
15th – 19th July in KILLINGWORTH
  The extraordinary story of an ordinary man from Tyneside who changed the world.
A community play celebrating the bicentenary of George Stephenson’s first locomotive ‘Blücher’ in Killingworth. Debuting children from George Stephenson School and volunteers from the local community, this world-premiere play stars CHRIS CONNEL (‘The Pitmen Painters’, Broadway, Live Theatre, National Theatre, ‘George Gently’, ‘Goal’ and ‘Emmerdale’). Also featuring CATHERINE DRYDEN (‘The Pitmen Painters’), ZOE HAKIN and the BACKWORTH COLLIERY BRASS BAND.

Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Constantine Richard Moorsom (1792–1861) was a Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy. He commanded HMS Fury a Hecla-class bomb vessel which saw wartime service in the Bombardment of Algiers, an attack on Barbary pirates at Algiers in HMS Fury in August, 1816. Moorsom was the son of Admiral Sir Robert Moorsom, a veteran of Trafalgar. Moorsom was on the roster of HMS Revenge, his father's ship, when it was at the Battle of Trafalgar. However records show that Constantine was actually at school at the time of the battle. Moorsom rose to be chairman of the London & North Western Railway.

Early life
Moorsom was born on 22 September 1792, the son of Admiral Sir Robert Moorsom who was to be a Knight Commander of the Bath and a veteran of the Trafalgar. 

Royal Navy
Moorsom entered the Royal Navy College in Portsmouth where he was awarded a first medal and three prizes for mathematics. His service was noted by not only his progression but the record of his innovation. Moorsom's younger brothers also joined the navy. Henry Moorsom was killed in 1826 whilst in command of the sloop HMS Jasper. His other brother William Scarth Moorsom left the navy in 1832 and became a successful railway engineer after training with Robert Stephenson. It is said that the brothers inherited their fathers talent for drawing and poetry.[6] His sister, Maria Margaret, married in 1815 and had seven children with the Rev. Longueville Massell. His naval career started with his first posting to HMS Revenge which at the time was in the Atlantic off Portugal. The ship was involved in the defence of Cadiz. He became a lieutenant in 1816 after returning to England on board HMS Warspite.

He commanded HMS Fury, a Hecla-class bomb vessel, in the Bombardment of Algiers, an attack on Barbary pirates at Algiers in August, 1816. As a result of the bombardment slaves were released and Moorsom's use of his vessel was put under investigation. It was found that the Fury had fired twice as many mortars as any other boat and that this was due to the fitting which Moorsom had devised. His methods were adopted as standard practice.

Moorsom became a post captain in 1818 and in 1822 his innovation came again to notice when he was put in command of HMS Ariadne. Ariadne had been a problem vessel after she was converted into a corvette with the addition of a quarter deck to her original frigate frame. This increased her draught and made her difficult to manage, however Moorsom redistributed the storage and not only reported that she was now seaworthy, he sailed her around the Cape of Good Hope to prove the point.

Moorsom is below the main speaker's raised shoulder in the painting, which is of the 1
In 1840, Moorsom attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. It was held at the Freemasons Hall on 12 June 1840 The meeting was attended by leading abolitionists from around the world. 

Constantine also went into the railway business as company secretary at the same company where his brother, William, was engineer. He was elected to the board of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway in 1841 and almost immediately became its chairman. He remained in this position until his resignation just before the company became part of the Midland Railway in 1843.

He served as a director of the London & Birmingham Railway from 1837 to 1839. He was promoted on 29 August 1851 to be a Rear-Admiral of the Blue.  From 1852 until the time of his death on 26 May 1861, he was chairman of the London & North Western Railway. During this time he also chaired a committee for the British Association on steamship performance. He died at Russell Square in London after becoming a vice admiral in 1857 and having fathered a large family with his wife Mary Maude of Silaby Hall in Durham.



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