George Stephenson: The Remarkable Life of the Founder of the Railway
Much is known about the achievements of George Stephenson and of his infamous creation, the Rocket, yet little is known of the man himself. This volume is a profile of the self-taught and often testy Geordie, whose Victorian invention is now the backbone of every nation on the planet.
a fluent public speaker. In the case of the knighthood, perhaps he felt it would mean that he’d given in and joined the Establishment still knowing, or at least feeling, that he wasn’t really accepted and that they were simply trying to corrupt him. Perhaps if his wife had been alive he might have accepted. Abroad, it was different. He was accepted for what he had done not for what he was and any honours had no strings attached, real or imaginary. Abroad, no one noticed his Geordie accent.
wider slur. The book was meant for the general public, accessible to all, even for those with little technical knowledge or interest. There hasn’t been another general biography of him since that time, as far as I can gather, looking on the internet, checking in Waterstones, though there has been a good biography of his son Robert. Part of the problem is that the literary and publishing establishment appears more interested in memoirs of minor literary or aristocratic figures from the Victorian
persuade the viewer of the pit, as the manager was called, that he could do the job properly. Soon afterwards he was promoted to being a fully fledged brakesman. At Black Callerton, the colliery where in 1801 he was made a brakesman, there was a pitman called Ned Nelson who complained about the way that George, as brakesman, drew him out of the pit. He challenged George to a fight after work and George agreed. From an early age, he had been proud of his strength, wrestling with village boys, but
always said. At the end of their second year in operation the annual revenue was just �18,304, only �2,000 more than Pease had estimated. Until 1830, when the revenue was still only �23,727, they were paying dividends of 5 per cent. (It was only after 1830 that traffic and profits started booming, especially when the iron trade began.) Locomotives, from every point of view, still had to prove themselves, as Robert soon realised on his journeys round the country. From 1 January 1828, which was
the other line. If this had not been the case, disaster might have been averted. A cannon boomed to announce the start of the processions and George’s Northumbrian drew out of Liverpool to the cheers of the crowds, pulling the train containing the Duke of Wellington and the other eighty highly important guests, including Fanny Kemble. Though the weather was uncertain [she wrote], enormous crowds of densely packed people lined the road, shouting and waving hats and handkerchiefs as we flew by