Information

George Ternent Stephenson


George Ternent Stephenson was born in New Delaval on 3rd September 1900. He played local football before joining Leeds City. However, soon afterwards Leeds City were expelled from the Football League. Their players were put up for auction at the Metropole Hotel in Leeds and Stephenson was sold to Aston Villa.

An inside-forward, Stephenson did not get into the first-team until 1921. He was described at the time as a "thoughtful and cultured schemer" who made plenty of goals for his fellow forwards. Over the next six years he scored 22 goals in 95 games.

In November 1927 Stephenson was sold to Derby County for £2,000. Stephenson was used as a more attacking player and he scored 13 goals in the next 11 games. In May, 1928, he won his first international cap for England against France. Stephenson scored two goals in England's 5-1 victory.

Derby County had three successful seasons in the First Division with Stephenson in the attack: 1927-38 (4th), 1928-29 (6th) and 1929-30 (2nd). In 1930 Derby sold Stephenson to league champions, Sheffield Wednesday. Over the next two years he scored 17 goals in 39 games and the club finished 3rd in both seasons.

Stephenson was now reaching the end of his career and he dropped to the Second Division when he signed for Preston North End in 1933. He formed a good partnership with another former English international, Robert Kelly. Other impressive players at the club at the time included George Holdcroft, Bill Shankly, Frank Gallimore, Jimmy Milne, Bill Tremelling, Henry Lowe and Frank Beresford. Another experienced striker, Jimmy Dougal, joined the team half-way through the season.

Preston achieved promotion to the First Division in the 1933-34 season when they finished runners-up to Grimsby Town. Stephenson had a great season scoring 16 goals in 25 games.

Stephenson, like Robert Kelly, was considered too old for First Division football. Stephenson was sold to Charlton Athletic in the Third Division (South). In his first season he helped Charlton win the league title. The following season Charlton got promoted to the First Division. Stephenson, now aged 37, was once again considered too old for the top flight and his contract was not renewed.

After retiring from playing Stephenson worked as a coach at Charlton Athletic and manager of Huddersfield Town.

George Ternent Stephenson died on 18th August 1971.


George Stephenson

The ‘Father of Railways’, George Stephenson, built the first commercial locomotive and railways, setting a standard adopted worldwide. He also grew straight cucumbers competitively, married three times and may be why we call people from Newcastle, ‘Geordies’.

Born in 1781 near Newcastle to illiterate parents, George, unlike his stick-thin siblings, grows up strong and sturdy. His fireman father works at the local coalmine and can’t afford to school him. So George does farm work like cow-herding. By 10, he’s driving the horses that carry the coal carriages on the tramway going past his family’s one room cottage. Everything in the area revolves around the local pit and the rapidly expanding coal industry. One of George’s next jobs is picking stones out of the coal.

He progresses to working on the machines that lift miners up and down into the mine. When one of the veteran coalmen objects to the teenage George doing the job, he challenges him to a fist fight. George wins.

FROM RAGS TO READING
After finding work as an engine man, at 17, George pays for his own night school education. By 18, he can read, write and do arithmetic. He dates a farmer’s daughter but is rejected. His next love does the same. So, aged 19, he marries her sister. The couple live in a one room cottage. By 20, they have their first son, Robert. George cobbles and repairs clocks on top of his day-job to help family finances. They have a daughter. Aged just three weeks old, she dies and within months her mother joins her.

Desperate for work, Stephenson is forced to leave his son and go to Scotland. But he returns to care for his father when he’s blinded in a mining accident. When Stephenson fixes a broken pumping engine he’s put in charge of all the mine equipment. He takes to pieces and reassembles machines and engines whenever possible and develops an intricate understanding of steam-driven machinery. His son, Robert, shares his passions and one of their first projects is making a sun-dial. Robert will one day progress to be a Managing Director of his father’s first locomotive company.

FAST AND FURIOUS AT 4MPH
In 1814, aged 33, Stephenson combines the tramways and the steam engines to make the first commercially viable locomotive. ‘Blucher’ is built to haul coal. It’s named after the Prussian General who speed-marched his troops to help defeat Napoleon at Waterloo. The top speed of the Blucher is 4 mph. This may be slower than a horse can travel but its eight wagons carry 30 tonnes. It’s the beginning of the end of horsepower.

But the Blucher is prone to repeatedly breaking down, and its power and weight chew up the tracks. However each breakdown spurs Stephenson onto another solution.

NORTH V SOUTH
Having spent his working life in the coal mines, Stephenson’s seen firsthand the explosive danger of using naked flames in pits full of flammable gases. So, in 1815, he develops a lamp which uses tiny air holes to stop a reaction between the flammable gases produced in mines and the naked flame used in lamps. He demonstrates its safety by taking it down a mine, and using it next to the potentially explosive gas.

Down South, at the same time, and unknown to Stephenson, Britain’s leading scientist, Humphry Davy, produces an alternative version. The fact that a self taught virtual unknown could match one of Britain’s best brains leads to accusations that Stephenson had merely copied Davy’s design. It will take a Parliamentary inquiry to clear Stephenson’s name. Stephenson, already suspicious of the establishment, will never embrace his growing adulation. And neither man will ever forgive the other.

THE FIRST RAIL
In 1819 Stephenson creates an eight mile railway in Sunderland the first railway to be solely machined powered. He patents his own cast iron rails and two years later he’s appointed engineer for the construction of the Stockton and Darlington railway. When Stephenson finds another man has invented better rails, he ditches his own invention and despite the cost uses the improved version.

Stephenson marries again, in 1820, but he will have no more children.

The railway opens in 1825. It’s the first public railway in the world. The first locomotive on it is the aptly named ‘Locomotion’. It’s not only driven by Stephenson, he owns the company that built it. The company, set up with his son Robert, is the first in the world to build locomotives.

BRUNEL VERSUS STEPHENSON
And crucially, Stephenson sets the width between the rails, the gauge, at four feet eight and a half inches. This seemingly small, simple decision will at first irritate, then exasperate and finally defeat one of the greatest Britons ever, Isambard Brunel.

Stephenson and Brunel would clash many times over their different visions for rail as their Northern and Western Lines come perilously close to each other. Reportedly, on their first encounter, Stephenson said to Brunel, ‘What business he had north of the Tyne?’

And ultimately, it is Stephenson’s vision, with his realisation that all rail lines will ultimately connect who will win. Stephenson’s measurement will first be used throughout Britain, and then the world. And Robert will consolidate his father’s legacy. The next year, Stephenson becomes engineer for the Liverpool to Manchester Railway.

THE ROCKET
In 1829, railway owners stage a competition to find the best locomotive. So as not to destroy the rails, only machines under six tonnes can compete. Ten locomotives apply. Five fail to make race day. Two further fail because of mechanical problems. Thousands witness Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ achieve a record 36mph and take the prize. Celeb status follows for Stephenson. Americans flock to him, desperate to take his trains and techniques back with them to the US.

The Prime Minister and the hero of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington, is just one of the great and the good to attend the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester railway in 1830. However, one of the government ministers is knocked down by the Rocket. Stephenson rushes him on another of his new locomotives for treatment. But the shock and blood loss are too much and the man dies.

Despite this, Stephenson now receives more work, and more money than he can handle. Excavations for his railways discover coalfields that make him rich enough to buy land and a large house. He tours England talking about how rail took him from rags to riches. In his later years, he competes, and beats his aristocratic neighbour. in an attempt to grow a straight cucumber.

Sadly, in 1845, his second wife dies. He marries for a third time but the marriage is short lived. Six months later, on 12 August 1848, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, he dies.
He is buried next to his second wife.

The inventions he leaves behind accelerate the industrial revolution and help make the modern world.


Northumberland Schools Football Association

This page celebrates young footballers educated in Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside who have progressed to represent their country at full international level.

There are seven players who played for England Schoolboys and then for the full international team.

Also acknowledged are female players players who played for countries other than England those who coached or managed an international teams and local teachers who have represented their country

The date shown is when they made their full international debut.

England Schoolboys and Full International


England Internationals

James 'Tadger' Stewart (1907)

George Ternent Stephenson (1928)

Northumberland have also had girls go on to represent the England’s women’s team:

The following, whilst going to a school in Northumberland, have gone on to represent a country other than England:

Billy Wright - New Zealand (1988)

John Cornforth -Wales (1995)

Shola Ameobi - Nigeria (2012)

Former Northumberland pupils have not only gone on to play for a country but a number have gone to coach or manage a full international team:

Jack Carr - Denmark manager (1920)

Ted Magner - Denmark manager (1939)

Eric Keen - Egypt (1947)and Hong Kong (1948)manager

Jimmy Kelly - Australia manager (1964)

Robert Bearpark - Canada manager (1984)

Jimmy Kelly - Australia manager (1964)

Jack Charlton - Republic of Ireland manager (1986)

Neil Turnbull - Canada Women’s manager (1986)

Lawrence McMenemmy - England assistant manager (1990) and Northern Ireland manager ( 1998 )

Peter Beardsley - England Assistant Manager (2000)

John Carver - Scotland Coach (2020)

The following local teachers have represented their country:

Christine Hutchinson (Knox) - England Women’s team (1977)

Kelly McDougall - England Women’s team (2003)

James Gunn - Scotland Futsal team (2019)

Andrew Grainger represented England Schoolboys and the full international England Beach Soccer team

Thanks to Ian Beck for the research and Neil Pont for finding the pictures.

Detailed information about all those who have played for England can be found at:

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539476 visitors since 22/11/2010


George Stephenson's First Steam Locomotive

A milestone in transportation was reached on July 25th, 1814.

Within a few years of his death in 1848 George Stephenson was called ‘the father of the railways’, but that accolade has been challenged because there were other engineers involved in the development of the world’s first railway system. The most notable was Robert Trevithick, a Cornishman, who in 1803 built the first steam locomotive to run on rails, which were essential because an adequately powerful engine was too heavy for roads or wooden tracks. Others followed his lead and Christian Wolmar in his book The Great Railway Revolution suggests that Stephenson, who had a talent for improving other people’s ideas, was not so much the father of the railways as their midwife. Father or midwife, George Stephenson rose to fame from humble beginnings. He was born at Wylam in Northumberland in 1781, the son of illiterate working-class parents. His father worked in the Wylam colliery and so did young George from his early teens. He never went to school, but at 18 he was teaching himself to read and write (though writing would never be his strong suit) and was also getting basic tuition in arithmetic. He worked at various other collieries in the area in the early 1800s, including the one at Killingworth north of Newcastle, and developed such skill with engines that in 1812 he was appointed ‘engine wright’, or chief mechanic, at Killingworth. There in 1814 he built a locomotive called Blucher (often spelled Blutcher) in honour of the Prussian general, which could haul eight waggons loaded with 30 tons of coal at a speed of four miles per hour. Not content with that, he soon dramatically improved the engine’s steam system to give it greater pulling power. It was this that made Blucher the first fully effective steam railway locomotive.

Stephenson went on to devise an improved type of railway track and he built more locomotives for Killingworth and other collieries. He was becoming a respected figure and in 1821 he persuaded a businessman who was planning a horse-drawn railway from Stockton-on-Tees to Darlington in County Durham to order a steam locomotive for the line. In 1825 the engine, later called Locomotion, took 450 people 25 miles from Darlington to Stockton at 15 miles per hour. This was the first outing of the world’s first public passenger steam train. By 1830 Stephenson’s new locomotive, the Rocket, which could achieve a speed of 36 miles per hour, was operating on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in Lancashire with other ‘iron horses’ built in the factory he had now opened in Newcastle. The railway age had begun and George Stephenson was its guiding spirit.


Great Britons: George Stephenson – The Man Who Built the First Steam Railway

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George Stephenson was a 19 th century self-made railway engineer who designed the earliest steam-railway systems in Britain. His work set in motion the development of rail transport and greatly accelerated the growth of the Industrial Revolution.

Key Facts about George Stephenson:

  • Born 1781, died 1848
  • Rose from humble beginnings as an archetypal ‘self-made man’
  • Built the earliest freight and passenger railways and locomotives
  • Established rail as the major means of transport for a century

A Short Biography George Stephenson

The Industrial Revolution brought work which had previously been spread widely among small artisans into centralized production in factories. This meant that supplies had to be transported longer distances and in larger quantities, so efficient and economical transportation was, and still is, a key requirement for industrialization. The development of a canal network across Britain in the 18 th century was the first method used, with horse-drawn barges transporting heavy goods through a network of improved rivers and narrow canals. Barges were slow and their loads limited and by the middle of the 19 th century their use declined rapidly as the new railway system developed. George Stephenson was instrumental in developing the first railways lines that enabled transportation of goods on a vast scale and, almost accidentally, of people too, creating an accessible form of mass-transport that had a profound impact on society.

Stephenson’s career did not have auspicious beginnings. He was born in a village outside the North-England town of Newcastle upon Tyne, on June 9 th , 1781 to illiterate working-class parents. Because they had no money to pay for his education, Stephenson was also illiterate until he was 18, when he paid for night school with some of the earnings from his “wark int mines”. By the time he was 20 he was operating the lifting machinery that moved men and coal in and out of the mines. His interest in machinery led him to spend his spare-time at the mine taking machines apart to understand their workings. In 1811 this autodidactic approach paid off and he was promoted to engine-wright at the Killingworth Colliery, responsible for the running of the steam-operated pumps and machinery at the mine. The experienced he gained at this work proved invaluable to his future.

The first sign of his inventive abilities came when he tackled the problem of lights in the mines. Miners at the time worked underground with naked flames and this created a serious risk of explosion when flammable gases were released from the rocks. Stephenson invented a lamp with a screen which prevented the flame from igniting these gases, but the eminent chemist Humphry Davy had simultaneously invented a safety lamp too and this triggered a controversy over credit for the invention which lingered for years. The experience gave Stephenson such a distrust of the British establishment that he had his son Robert ‘properly’ educated so as to eliminate the northern accent that Stephenson believed had weakened his status in the dispute over the safety lamp.

At that time transportation within and around the mines was chiefly by horse-drawn waggons, sometimes running on wooden tracks. At the nearby Wylam Colliery there was a five-mile wooden track that had been built in 1748 which took the coal to the river Tyne to be loaded on boats. Stephenson heard that they were attempting at Wylam to build a steam engine to run on this track and he convinced his Killingworth manager to let him try to build one there. In 1814 his first locomotive, the Blücher, pulled 30 tons of coal up a hill at four mph. His real design breakthrough was in the wheels, where he used flanged wheels to both keep the locomotive on the track and increase the surface area to gain greater traction. In 1820 he built the first fully steam-powered railway on an eight-mile track at the Hetton Colliery.

In 1821 the British parliament approved plans for the 25-mile Stockton and Darlington Railway to transport coal. It was designed for horse-drawn wagons, but when the company director met Stephenson he changed his plans and hired Stephenson to construct the railway with a steam engine. Stephenson and his son Robert began work on the project in 1822. With partners they set up ‘Robert Stephenson & Co.’ to build the locomotives and named their first train Locomotion. The railway opened in 1825, with Stephenson driving Locomotion at speeds of up to 24 mph, pulling 80 tons of coal and flour and a passenger car called Experiment filled with dignitaries. This made it the world’s first passenger-train trip.

Stephenson went on to build the Bolton and Leigh Railway, and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which opened in 1830 with great excitement, making Stephenson famous and sought after to build other railways. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway featured the famous train Rocket, which had outclassed the competition in a contest to determine who gained the contract to supply the locomotives for the railway. Rocket was packed with innovations and was more the product of Robert Stephenson than of his father.

With his reputation established Stephenson received many contracts, including the first locomotives for the earliest railway lines in the United States. He ended owning several coal mines of his own, which must have given him great satisfaction after starting his life at the other end of that hierarchy. Robert’s mother had died in 1806 and Stephenson re-married in 1820. This wife died in 1845 and in January 1848 he married his housekeeper. However later that year he contracted pleurisy and died on August 12 th , 1848, aged 67. His only child Robert went on to fame as a railway engineer but died childless.

George Stephenson established Britain as the pre-eminent railway nation. Although his was not the very first steam-locomotive – the credit for that goes to Richard Trevithick – he did turn it into a practical means of transport. By encouraging the use of his track-width of 4 feet 8 ½ inches as the standard gauge still used today, he made the task of linking separate individual lines into a network a practical possibility.

Sites to Visit

Stephenson’s birthplace in the village of Wylam, outside Newcastle upon Tyne can be visited. The cottage is owned and operated by the National Trust.

There is a statue of Stephenson facing the Mining Institute near the railway station in Newcastle upon Tyne.

There is a statue of Stephenson at the railway station in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, where he spent the last 10 years of his life.

He is buried at the Holy Trinity church in the same town. There is a memorial in the church and stained-glass windows dedicated to him, but the actual grave is marked with just a rough stone slab with ‘G.S.1848’ carved into it.

The Chesterfield Museum has a collection of memorabilia of Stephenson on display.

There are replicas of Rocket at the Henry Ford Museum Dearborn, Michigan and at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. They were built by Robert Stephenson in 1929.

Further Research

Biographies of Stephenson include:

[Samuel Smiles used Stephenson as an example of his doctrine of ‘Self-help’ which made him famous as one of the first personal-development gurus.]


A Review of The Lost World of Mr. Hardy

Few companies in any field are as aware of their own mystique as the legendary Hardy Bros. of Alnwick. This has certainly been true from the early days of the firm, but is best seen in two artifacts from the company’s rich history. The first are the luscious Angler’s Guides, filled with everything one would need to know to angle for every game fish that swims, from the noble Scottish salmon to the mighty mahseer of India. The second are the numerous instructional and promotional films—often featuring the Hardy men—the company commissioned from the 1920s onward.


It is these old movies that give special poignancy to the elegant film The Lost World of Mr. Hardy, by the filmmakers Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier. Based on interviews with surviving Hardy employees, many of them legends in their own right, and played out against the backdrop of the modern economic climate, the film serves to document not just a rapidly dissipating world but also the survival of some of its elements. As such the film is sprinkled with equal parts silent despair and eternal hope.


The real star of the documentary is Jim Hardy, the last man related to the founders to work for the firm and the firm’s head during some of the most difficult times. It is his interviews that tie the past to the present, as he explains the origins, development, and growth of the firm founded by William and John J. Hardy in 1873. J.J. Hardy and L.R. Hardy in particular play an important role in this film, as it is their spectres that peer out from the vintage films depicting the by-gone era of fishing suits, gillies, and massive Atlantic salmon so plentiful you could almost walk across a river and not get your feet wet. It is hard not to get nostalgic watching such scenes.

Shining only slightly less are the past and present artisans—some of them former Hardy employees like salmon fly dresser Ken Middlemist and bamboo rod maker Edward Barder—who intersperse the film with their own Hardy remembrances as well as subtle commentary on the current state of affairs. These men, or perhaps the skillful editing of the filmmakers, take great care to avoid the great controversy surrounding such decisions as moving the Hardy reelworks to Asia, the scuttling of the dressed fly division, etc

Yet no matter how subtle the critique remains. Hardy’s (now technically Hardy & Grey’s) is rapidly morphing into something else all together, and in doing so by definition has had to turn its back on a large portion of its past. The days of the gorgeous Hardy Uniqua reels, the C.C. De France fly rod, and the hand-tied salmon flies are now long gone, although a few of the people who helped craft them remain. Legendary Hardy names such as Ivor Davies, George Ternent, Jack Dotchin, Terence Moore, and Ian Blagburn lend their considerable weight to the documentary, as do such noted names in collecting as John Mullock, John Stephenson, and Neil Freeman.


Collectors will indeed have much to drool over, whether it is the beautifully filmed sequences on the internal workings of the Hardy Perfect fly reel or noted collector and appraiser Freeman explaining the importance of the massive Hardy Fortuna saltwater reel. Of particular interest, I’m sure, will be the internal films of the company’s factory, showing reel, rod, and fly makers hard at work at their craft.

Yet The Lost World of Mr. Hardy is much more than just a film about fishing. It is a work that reminds us that it isn’t just Mr. Hardy’s world that is disappearing, it is the world of tradition, craftsmanship, and elegance that Hardy in part represents. Yet offered up as an antidote to this tragic loss is the reemergence of the artisan, in the form of a hand-tied Middlemist salmon fly or a hand-made Barder split cane rod. Fly tiers and rod and reelmakers will gain much by watching these and others at their craft. Even fiberglass fly rod aficionados can watch how a Hardy glass rod is made.


The film is much more than just a chronicle of the Hardy Bros. firm. It is a social history of Britain, a technological history of fishing, and a social commentary on the modern world, all rolled up into one neat and graceful motion picture. It is also as one of the finest works of its kind ever filmed. Perhaps Jim Hardy summed it up best when, while viewing a forgotten Hardy film featuring the Hardy Phantom fly rod, he turned to his companion Ian Blagburn. “This is history,” he quipped, “and it’s visible.” One might say the same thing about The Lost World of Mr. Hardy.

The DVD is available from Truffle Pig Films, which you can visit by clicking here .


Community Reviews

Talk about a man raising himself up by his bootstraps! George Stephenson surpassed his father&aposs job in the mines in only seven years. However, he was limited in progressing further because he was illiterate, so he took care of that problem too. What sets Stephenson apart from most men is that when faced with someone&aposs better product (Birkinshaw&aposs malleable metal rails), Stephenson recommended using them (instead of his own patented product) because he realized they were better. That is integ Talk about a man raising himself up by his bootstraps! George Stephenson surpassed his father's job in the mines in only seven years. However, he was limited in progressing further because he was illiterate, so he took care of that problem too. What sets Stephenson apart from most men is that when faced with someone's better product (Birkinshaw's malleable metal rails), Stephenson recommended using them (instead of his own patented product) because he realized they were better. That is integrity.

Hourly History has written three biographies of extraordinary British engineers (see below). I recommend all of them. Late in George Stephenson's story, he and Isambard Kingdom Brunel (another of the famous British engineers) cross paths with each other over the width of railway gauges.

Hourly History - BIOGRAPHIES OF ENGINEERS
Isambard Kingdom Brunel: A Life from Beginning to End (Biographies of Engineers Book1)
**George Stephenson: ALife from Beginning to End (Biographies of Engineers Book 2)
Joseph Bazalgette: A Life from Beginning to End (Biographies of Engineers Book 3) . more

A true engineering great.

A well written appreciation of an historical great.
You cannot help but admire what this incredible man achieved. A truly self-made engineering great who&aposs accomplishments should never be forgotten. A true engineering great.

A well written appreciation of an historical great.
You cannot help but admire what this incredible man achieved. A truly self-made engineering great who's accomplishments should never be forgotten. . more


In 1821 he heard of a project for a railroad, employing draft horses, to be built from Stockton to Darlington to facilitate exploitation of a rich vein of coal. At Darlington he interviewed the promoter, Edward Pease, and so impressed him that Pease commissioned him to build a steam locomotive for the line. On September 27, 1825, railroad transportation was born when the first public passenger train, pulled by Stephenson’s Active (later renamed Locomotion), ran from Darlington to Stockton, carrying 450 persons at 15 miles per hour.

Liverpool and Manchester interests called him in to build a 40-mile railroad line to connect the two cities. To survey and construct the line, Stephenson had to outwit the violent hostility of farmers and landlords who feared, among other things, that the railroad would supplant horse-drawn transportation and shut off the market for oats.

When the Liverpool to Manchester line was nearing completion in 1829, a competition was held for locomotives Stephenson’s new engine, the Rocket, which he built with his son, Robert, won with a speed of 36 miles per hour. Eight locomotives were used when the Liverpool to Manchester line opened on September 15, 1830, and all of them had been built in Stephenson’s Newcastle works.


George Stephenson

George Stephenson was the inventor of the first commercially successful locomotive, and is considered the "Father of Railways". He was very famous in his own time not only because of the tremendous importance of his achievements but because he was entirely self-educated and had risen to be one of the most successful businessmen in Britain from exceedingly humble circumstances. In Victorian England, he was considered an icon of the hard working "self-made" man.

G EORGE S TEPHENSON
Stephenson was the son of a coal miner and he joined his father in the mines when he was still in his teens to help support the family. He realized the importance of education however, and taught himself as much as he could on his own. Hard-working and intelligent, he was given more responsibilities at the mine, and became a brakeman. With this increased salary he thought that he could support a family and married. A son was born soon after his marriage but soon after, his father was blinded and his wife died. He therefore moved back into his parents home with his young son, and took on the responsibility of supporting his entire family.

Meanwhile George continued to take on more responsibility at the mine. He had spent a year working in a factory where he learned all about engines so when he returned to the mine, he was eventually promoted to engine-wright. He became an expert at repairing and adapting engines and was consulted by other manufacturers whenever a local engine malfunctioned. When George's son became old enough to go to school, his father studied with him every night and in this way, gave both himself and his son the best education possible with the resources he had available.

The mines where Stephenson worked used steam engines for a number of tasks, most notably for pumping water out of mines but also for other purposes. In additions, the mines had long stretches of rails, usually built of wood and wrought iron, on which coal cars were transported. Sometimes horses were used to pull the coal-cars along the rails, and sometimes engines were rigged with cables in order to pull them. Other people had thought of the idea of using an engine to directly drive rail carts, but no one had come close to making a practical locomotive. There was not just one problem to solve but many. Engines were large and heavy, and building a cart and rail system that could carry one was a challenge in itself. The problem of attaching the engine to the axle efficiently was also a difficult one. Stephenson knew a locomotive would be very useful, but it took many years to solve the numerous problems involved. His first prototype, called the "Blucher" was completed in 1814, and it gained attention as a novelty, but was more expensive to operate than horses.

Stephenson continued to make improvement to his locomotives in his machine shop at the Killingworth colliery for many years before they were of commercial value. In 1820 he oversaw the building of an 8 mile railway from a colliery to a nearby town, and designed an engine that ran on it. His great breakthrough was in 1821 when parliament agreed to build a 25 mile railway, and Stephenson helped design it. He then designed three locomotives to run on it, and on the day the Railway opened in 1825, it created an international sensation.

Stephenson now went into business with his son, and could not keep up with the demand for railroads. They learned more with every new railway they built, and made continual improvements to the engines, cars, and rail systems. In 1830 a six-mile railroad was opened from Liverpool to Manchester, and within ten more years there were hundreds of miles of railroad running throughout England, carrying both passengers and freight. Stephenson became one of the best known industrial heroes of Victorian England. He retired in 1847 and died the following year.


This unit of work is intended to teach children about George Stephenson as a significant individual in history, his achievements and the impact that he had locally, nationally and internationally. It also includes some introductory lessons based around vocabulary for consolidation of terms relating to the passing of time, which may want to be combined for older children who may already have a grasp of this knowledge. The overarching theme is to understand why Stephenson was such a significant figure and leads to the final enquiry of the children explaining this.

This unit is structured around the development of Stephenson&rsquos ideas. It starts with an introduction to vocabulary linked with the passing of time and chronology before looking at who George Stephenson was and his achievements. It then moves on to analysing his local, national and some of his international impacts.


Watch the video: 1829 Stephensons Rocket steam locomotive (November 2021).