Robert Stephenson FRS (16 October 1803 – 12 October 1859) was an
early railway and civil engineer. The only son of George Stephenson,
the "Father of Railways", he built on the achievements of his
father. Robert has been called the greatest engineer of the 19th
Robert was born in Willington Quay, Northumberland, to George and
Frances née Henderson, before they moved to Killingworth, where
Robert was taught at the local village school. Robert attended the
middle-class Percy Street Academy in Newcastle and at the age of
fifteen was apprenticed to the mining engineer Nicholas Wood. He left
before he had completed his three years to help his father survey the
Darlington Railway. Robert spent six months at Edinburgh
University before working for three years as a mining engineer in
Colombia. When he returned his father was building the
Manchester Railway, and Robert developed the steam locomotive Rocket
that won the
Rainhill Trials in 1829. He was appointed chief engineer
London and Birmingham Railway
London and Birmingham Railway in 1833 with a salary of £1,500
per annum. By 1850 Robert had been involved in the construction of a
third of the country's railway system. He designed the High Level
Royal Border Bridge
Royal Border Bridge on the East Coast Main Line. With Eaton
William Fairbairn he developed wrought-iron tubular
bridges, such as the
Britannia Bridge in Wales, a design he would
later use for the Victoria Bridge in Montreal, for many years the
longest bridge in the world. He eventually worked on 160 commissions
from 60 companies, building railways in other countries such as
Belgium, Norway, Egypt and France.
In 1829 Robert married Frances Sanderson who died in 1842; the couple
had no children and he did not remarry. In 1847 he was elected Member
of Parliament for Whitby, and held the seat until his death. Although
Robert declined a British knighthood, he was decorated in Belgium with
the Knight of the Order of Leopold, in France with the Knight of the
Legion of Honour
Legion of Honour and in Norway with the Knight Grand Cross of the
order of St. Olaf. He was elected a
Fellow of the Royal Society
Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
in 1849. He served as President of the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers and Institution of Civil Engineers. Robert's death was
widely mourned, and his funeral cortège was given permission by Queen
Victoria to pass through Hyde Park, an honour previously reserved for
royalty. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
1 Early life
2 Stockton and
3 Colombian mines
4 Locomotive designer
Liverpool and Manchester Railway
5 Civil engineer
George Stephenson and Son
5.2 London and
5.3 Great George Street
5.5 Bridge builder
7 The house that has no knocker
9 See also
10 Notes and references
11 Further reading
12 External links
Robert Stephenson was born on 16 October 1803,[note 1] at Willington
Quay, east of Newcastle upon Tyne, to
George Stephenson and Frances
née Henderson, usually known as Fanny. She was twelve years older
than George, and when they met was working as a servant where George
was lodging. After marriage George and Fanny lived in an upper room of
a cottage; George worked as a brakesman on the stationary winding
engine on the Quay, and in his spare time cleaned and mended clocks
and repaired shoes. Fanny was suffering from tuberculosis (known at
the time as consumption), so George would take care of his son in the
evening. Robert later recalled how he would sit on his father's left
knee with his right arm wrapped around him while he watched him work
or read books; his biographer Jeaffreson explained this is why
Robert's left arm was the stronger. In autumn 1804 George became a
brakesman at the West Moor Pit and the family moved to two rooms in a
cottage at Killingworth. On 13 July 1805 Fanny gave birth to a
daughter who lived for only three weeks, Fanny's health deteriorated
and she died on 14 May 1806.
Dial Cottage, Killingworth, where Robert grew up
George employed a housekeeper to look after his son and went away for
three months to look after a
Watt engine in Montrose, Scotland. He
returned to find his housekeeper had married his brother Robert.[note
2] He moved back into the cottage with his son and briefly employed
another housekeeper before his sister Eleanor moved in. Known to
Robert as Aunt Nelly, Eleanor had been engaged to be married before
travelling to London to work in domestic service. However, returning
to get married Eleanor's ship was delayed by poor winds and she
arrived to find her fiancé had already married. Eleanor
attended the local Methodist church, whereas George would not
regularly attend church, preferring on Sundays to work on engineering
problems and meet his friends.
Robert was first sent to a village school 1 1⁄2 miles
(2.4 km) away in Long Benton, where he was taught by Thomas
(Tommy) Rutter. On his way to school, he would carry picks to the
smith's at Long Benton to be sharpened. George was promoted in
1812 to be enginewright at
Killingworth Colliery with a salary of
£100 per annum. He built his first steam locomotive, Blücher, in
1814 and the following year was earning £200 per annum. George had
received little formal education but was determined that his son would
have one, and so sent the eleven-year-old Robert to be taught by John
Bruce at the Percy Street Academy in Newcastle. Most of the children
came from middle-class families, and it was while he was at
the academy that Robert lost most of his Northumberland accent. At
first Robert walked the 10 miles (16 km), but was liable to catch
a cold; George fearing tuberculosis bought him a donkey. Robert
became a member of the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society
and borrowed books for him and his father to read. In the evening he
would work with George on designs for steam engines. In 1816 they made
a sundial together, which is still in place above the cottage
After leaving school in 1819, Robert was apprenticed to the mining
engineer Nicholas Wood, who was viewer (manager) of Killingworth
colliery. The following year Robert's Aunt Nelly married and
George married Elizabeth Hindmarsh. George had courted Elizabeth
before he had met Fanny, but the relationship had been put to an end
by Elizabeth's father; Elizabeth had sworn at the time that she would
not marry anyone else.[note 3] As an apprentice Robert worked hard
and lived frugally, and unable to afford to buy a mining compass, he
made one that he would later use to survey the
High Level Bridge
High Level Bridge in
Newcastle. Robert learnt to play the flute, which he played during
services at the local parish church.
The opening of the
Stockton and Darlington Railway
Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825
Ways were investigated in the early 19th century to transport coal
from the mines in the
Bishop Auckland area to
Darlington and the quay
at Stockton-on-Tees, and canals had been proposed. The Welsh engineer
George Overton suggested a tramway, surveyed a route in September 1818
and the scheme was promoted by Edward Pease at a meeting in
November.[note 4] A private bill for a Stockton and Darlington
Railway (S&DR) was presented to Parliament in 1819, but was
opposed by landowners and did not pass. The route was changed,
Overton carried out another survey and an Act received
Royal Assent on
19 April 1821; Pease and
George Stephenson met for the first time in
Darlington that same day,[note 5] and by 23 July George had been
appointed to make a fresh survey of the line.
Robert had not completed his apprenticeship, but he was showing
symptoms of tuberculosis and his work was hazardous; he was down West
Moor Pit when there was an underground explosion. Wood agreed to
release the 18-year-old Robert so that he could assist his father
during the survey. By the end of 1821 they reported that a
usable line could be built within the bounds of the Act, but another
route would be shorter and avoid deep cuttings and tunnels. George
was elected engineer by shareholders with a salary of £660 per
annum. He advocated the use of steam locomotives, Pease
Killingworth in the summer of 1822 and the directors
visited Hetton colliery railway, on which George had also introduced
locomotives. During the survey of the S&DR George had been
persuaded, mainly by the Scottish engineer Robert Bald, that Robert
would benefit from a university education. George could have afforded
to send his son to a full degree course at Cambridge, but agreed to a
short academic year as he wished that Robert should not become a
gentleman, but should work for his living. Robert first helped William
James to survey the route of the
Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and
then attended classes at
Edinburgh University in Natural Philosophy,
Natural History and
Chemistry between October 1822 and April
On 23 May 1823, a second S&DR Act received Assent with the
Stephensons' deviations from the original route and permission for the
use of "loco-motives or moveable engines". In June 1823 the
Stephensons and Pease opened
Robert Stephenson and Company
Robert Stephenson and Company at Forth
Street in Newcastle to build these locomotives, Pease lending Robert
£500 so he could buy his share. As George was busy supervising the
building of the railway, Robert was placed in charge of the works with
a salary of £200 per annum. Robert also surveyed the route and
designed the Hagger Leases branch, which was planned to serve the
collieries at Butterknowle and Copley Bent. A new Act was required for
the line, and Robert stayed in London for five weeks while the bill
passed through its parliamentary process, Assent being given in May
1824. The S&DR ordered two steam locomotives and two
stationary engines from
Robert Stephenson & Co. on 16 September
1824, and the railway opened on 27 September 1825.
On 18 June 1824 Robert had set sail on the Sir William Congreve from
Colombia with a contract for three years. The
Colombian Mining Association had been formed to reopen gold and silver
mines in South America and a
Robert Stephenson & Co. partner,
Thomas Richardson, was a promoter.
Robert Stephenson & Co.
received orders for steam engines from the company, and Richardson
suggested to Robert that he go to South America, which he
accepted. To prepare for the trip Robert took Spanish lessons,
visited mines in
Cornwall and consulted a doctor, who advised that
such a change of climate would be beneficial to his health.
Robert had arrived in
Liverpool on 8 June, and George was with him
from 12 June. In his 1984 biography of the Stephensons, L.T.C.
Rolt takes issue with earlier writers' suggestions that the assignment
was solely due to Robert's health. Questioning why Robert left the
locomotive construction company and his other work, he suggests that
there must have been a disagreement between the Stephensons over
George's business dealings. Later biographers, Hunter Davis (1975)
and David Ross (2010), argue that Robert was seeking to assert his
independence from the control of his father.[note 6] Michael
Longbridge, who had agreed to take over management of Robert
Stephenson & Co. in Robert's absence, understood that it would be
for only a year.
After a five-week journey Robert arrived at the port of
La Guayra in
Venezuela on 23 July 1823. He investigated building a breakwater and
pier at the harbour and a railway to Caracas. A railway linking
Caracas to its port was an ambitious project as
Caracas is situated at
nearly 1000m above sea level: one was not completed until the
1880s. Robert had potential backers for his railway in London, but
he concluded that while the cost of a pier, estimated at £6,000,
would be sustainable, that of a breakwater or railway would not.
Robert's cottage at Santa Ana
He travelled overland with an interpreter and a servant to Bogotá,
then the capital of Greater Colombia, arriving on 19 January 1825.
Travelling onward, Robert found the heavier equipment at Honda on the
Magdalena River; there was no way to get it to the mines as the only
route was a narrow and steep path. The mines were another 12 miles
(19 km) from Mariquita, and Robert set up home at Santa Ana in a
bungalow built from bamboo. The Mining Association sent Cornish
miners to work the mine, but they proved difficult to manage and drank
so heavily that only two-thirds were ever available for work on any
given day. They refused to accept that Robert, who had not been
brought up in Cornwall, could know anything about mining. One
night Robert broke up a drunken party that was shouting they would not
obey a bearded boy, saying that he would not fight them as he was
sober. Robert felt that his reports to London were being ignored,
as heavy equipment continued to be sent. He suffered from fevers,
and once felt his "old complaint, a feeling of oppression in the
Robert's contract ended on 16 July 1827. He travelled to Cartagena to
see if he could walk across the Panama Isthmus, but this proved too
difficult. While waiting for a ship to New York, he met Richard
Trevithick,[note 7] who had been looking for South American gold and
silver in the mines of Peru and Costa Rica, and gave him £50 so he
could buy passage home. Robert caught a ship to New York; en route
this picked up shipwrecked survivors that were so weak they had to be
winched aboard, before the ship he was on sank in another storm.
Everyone was saved, but Robert lost his money and luggage. He noticed
that one second-class passenger was given priority over first-class
passengers in the lifeboats: the captain later said privately that he
and the passenger were Freemasons and had sworn an oath to show such
preference to each other in times of peril. Robert was impressed and
Freemason in New York.[note 8] Wishing to see
something of North America, Robert with four other Englishmen walked
the 500 miles (800 km) to
Montreal via Niagara Falls. He returned
to New York, caught the packet Pacific across the Atlantic and arrived
Liverpool at the end of November.
George was living in
Liverpool at the time, working as the chief
engineer of the
Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR), and
Robert stayed briefly as a guest at his father's house. Robert
travelled to London to meet the directors of the Colombian Mining
Association, and then started on the business of Robert Stephenson
& Co. with a visit to Brussels. He spent Christmas in London, and
was impressed with the tidiness of Gurney's steam carriages, before
returning to Newcastle, where he was to spend the next five
Lancashire Witch (1828)
A Planet type locomotive (1832)
The evolution of locomotive design under Robert Stephenson
In 1827 George had built the Experiment with sloping cylinders instead
of the vertical ones on previous locomotives built in Newcastle.
Robert wanted to improve the way the wheels were driven and had a
chance when an order arrived in January 1828 from the L&MR. The
Lancashire Witch was built with inclined cylinders that allowed the
axles to be sprung, but the L&MR withdrew the order in April; by
mutual agreement the locomotive was sold to the Bolton and Leigh
Railway. A number of similar locomotives with four or six wheels were
built in the next two years, one being sent to the US for the Delaware
and Hudson Canal Company. As well as working at the locomotive
works, Robert was also surveying routes for railways and advised on a
tunnel under the River Mersey.
In March 1828 Robert wrote to a friend saying he had an attraction to
Broad Street in London as Frances (Fanny) Sanderson lived there.[note
9] Robert and Fanny had known each other before he had gone to South
America, and after calling on her soon after returning he had an
invitation from her father to be a frequent visitor. He introduced her
to his father in August 1828, and she accepted his proposal of
marriage at the end of that year. Robert spent so much time in London
the following year that his partners accused him of neglecting his
business. Robert had not wished for a long engagement, but it took
some time until a suitable house was found at 5 Greenfield Place in
Newcastle, and Robert and Fanny married in London on 17 June
Liverpool and Manchester Railway
The L&MR directors had not decided whether to use fixed engines
with ropes or steam locomotives, and resolved on 20 April 1829 to hold
trials to see if a steam locomotive would meet their requirements.
On the last day of August the date was set to 1 October and the
location to a two-mile (3.2 km) double-track railway that was to
be built at Rainhill. Robert designed the locomotive for the
trials during the summer of 1829. Only two of the wheels were driven,
as experience had shown wrought-iron tyres had a high rate of wear
that quickly resulted in wheels of different size, and gears were
provided for both forward and reverse running .[note 10] The
performance-enhancing idea to heat water using many small diameter
tubes through the boiler was communicated to Robert via a letter from
his father, George, who heard about it from
Henry Booth and Marc
Seguin .[note 11] With both George and Booth in Liverpool, Robert
was responsible for the detail design, and he fitted twenty-five
3-inch (76 mm) diameter tubes from a separate firebox through the
boiler. In September the locomotive was sent to
Rainhill where it was
coupled with its tender; when it was given the name Rocket is not
Rainhill Trials started on Tuesday, 6 October, and between 10,000
and 15,000 people had assembled to watch. Five locomotives had
arrived, but Perseverance did not compete, having been damaged on the
way to Rainhill, and Cyclops, powered by two horses in a frame, was
not a serious entry. Challenging Rocket was Novelty, built by John
Ericsson and John Braithwaite in London, and Sans Pareil, built at the
Shildon railway works by Timothy Hackworth, the locomotive supervisor
of the S&DR. None of the locomotives were ready on Wednesday. The
following day at 10:30 am Rocket started its 70-mile
(110 km) journey forwards and backwards across the 1½-mile
(2.4-kilometre) course. It covered the first thirty-five miles in 3
hours and 12 minutes, the coke and water were replenished for fifteen
minutes, and completed the course in another 2 hours 57 minutes. It
had run at an average speed of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h), and
the highest speed reached was over 29 miles per hour
(47 km/h). Novelty still had to run, and was the
favourite, although George is recorded as saying "Eh mon, we needn't
fear yon thing, her's got nae goots"; she tried to run that Saturday
but a steam pressurised joint rapidly failed.
Sans Pareil was found to
be overweight the following Tuesday, but allowed to run. She burnt
fuel at more than three times the rate of Rocket before her boiler ran
dry. Novelty was tried again the following day, was withdrawn after a
joint failed again, and Rocket was declared the winner.
The L&MR purchased Rocket and ordered four similar locomotives
Robert Stephenson & Co. before the end of October. Four
more similar locomotives followed, before Planet was delivered on 4
October 1830 with cylinders placed horizontally under the boiler.
Hackworth was building Globe at the
Robert Stephenson & Co. works
at the same time, and
Edward Bury delivered
Liverpool the same month,
both with cylinders under the boiler. It has been alleged that Robert
copied Hackworth or Bury; he later said he had no knowledge of
Liverpool at the time he was designing Planet. John Bull, a Planet
type locomotive, was shipped to the US and became the first movement
by steam on a railway in
New Jersey when it ran on the Camden and
Amboy Railroad in 1831. So many orders for locomotives were
received that Robert proposed in 1831 to open a second locomotive
works. It was agreed that the Stephenson name would not be attached to
any other works, and what was to become the
Vulcan Foundry was
developed at Newton-le-Willows.
There was still opposition to the use of steam locomotives, and before
the L&MR opened George and directors hosted a number of private
viewings. The actress Fanny Kemble, then famous for her recent
Juliet at Covent Garden, accompanied George for a trip on
the footplate. The L&MR opened on 15 September 1830 with the
Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington travelling in one of the
inaugural trains. During a stop on the journey another passenger, a
member of parliament, William Huskisson, stepped down from a carriage
and was hit by Rocket passing on the other track.[note 12] Huskisson
was taken by train to Eccles and died that evening.
George Stephenson and Son
George Stephenson & Son had been created on the last day of 1824,
when Robert was in South America, with the same partners as Robert
Stephenson & Co. Formed to carry out railway surveys and
construction, George and Robert were both listed as chief engineers
and responsible for Parliamentary business, and the list of assistant
engineers included Joseph Locke, John Dixon, Thomas Longridge Gooch
and Thomas Storey. The company took on too much work that was
delegated to inexperienced and underpaid men.
Soon after he had returned from America Robert took over
responsibility for overseeing the construction of the Canterbury &
Whitstable Railway, and this opened on 3 May 1830 with a locomotive
similar to Rocket, called Invicta, supplied by
Robert Stephenson &
Co. He was also responsible for two branches of the L&MR, the
Bolton & Leigh and Warrington & Newton railways. The
Leicester & Swannington Railway was built to take coal from the
Long Lane colliery to Leicester, and Robert was appointed engineer.
Robert Stephenson & Co. supplied Planet type locomotives, but
these were found underpowered and were replaced in 1833. Robert
thought that the coalfield could be developed further, and with two
friends purchased an estate at
Snibston when it came up at auction.
George moved to Alton Grange in 1831 to supervise, and a seam of coal
was found after digging through a layer of waterlogged mudstone over
hard volcanic greenstone. George was to later say that Snibston
colliery was his most profitable enterprise.
The route of
Grand Junction Railway authorised on 6 May 1833 had been
surveyed by Locke. Although he had been instructed by George, Locke
hoped to become chief engineer as his contract with Stephenson had
expired. However, George threatened to withdraw support completely and
the railway company divided the contract, with George and Locke
becoming responsible for half of the route. Locke divided the work
into small, well-defined contracts that had been all placed by
September 1834. George, delegating the work to untrained assistants,
drew up specifications and estimates that were vague or inaccurate and
difficult to place. In August 1835 Locke took over supervision of the
entire length of line and the
Grand Junction Railway opened in
On 18 September 1830
George Stephenson & Son signed a contract to
survey the route for the London &
Birmingham Railway. George
recommended the route via Coventry, rather than an alternative via
Oxford, but it was Robert that did most of the work; that same
year Robert joined the
Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers as a
member.[note 13] There were two surveys in 1830–31, which met
opposition from landed gentry and those who lived in market towns on
the coach route that would be bypassed. Robert stood as the
engineering authority when a bill was presented to Parliament in
1832 and it was suggested during cross-examination that he had
allowed too steep an angle on the side of the cutting at Tring.
Thomas Telford had cut through similar ground at
Dunstable, Robert left with Gooch in post-chaise that night, and
arrived at the cutting at dawn to find it the same angle he had
proposed. He returned and was in the company solicitor's office at
10 am. That year the bill passed through the Commons but was
defeated in the Lords. After a public campaign and another survey by
Robert, the necessary Act was obtained on 6 May 1833, and it
was Robert, not yet 30 years old, that signed the contract on 20
September 1833 to build the 112-mile (180 km) railway from Camden
Town to Birmingham.
The incline and stationary steam engine chimneys at Camden Town.
Robert was awarded a salary of £1,500 plus £200 expenses per
annum,[note 14] and he and Fanny moved from Newcastle to London, first
St John's Wood
St John's Wood and then to a house on Haverstock Hill.
Robert drew up plans and made detailed work estimates, dividing the
line into 30 contracts, most of which were placed by October 1835. A
drawing office with 20–30 draughtsmen was established at the empty
Eyre Arms Hotel in St John's Wood; George Parker Bidder, whom Robert
had first met at
Edinburgh University, started working for him
there.[note 15] Primrose Hill tunnel, Wolverton embankment, and
Kilsby Tunnel, 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Rugby railway station,
all had engineering problems and were completed using direct labour.
Grand Junction Canal
Grand Junction Canal opposed the railway and tried to prevent a
bridge being built and this was settled in court in 1835. The
line permitted by the 1833 Act terminated north of
Regent's Canal at
Camden (near Chalk Farm Underground station), as Baron Southampton,
who owned the land to the south, had strongly opposed the railway in
the Lords in 1832. Later, Southampton changed his mind and authority
was gained for an extension of the line south over
Regent's Canal to
Euston Square. This incline, with a slope between 1 in 75 and 1 in 66,
was worked by a stationary engine at Camden − trains from Euston
were drawn up by rope, whereas carriages would descend under gravity.
The often repeated statement that the rope-working was necessary
because locomotives of the period were insufficiently powerful was
denied in 1839 by Peter Lecount, one of the assistant engineers. In
fact the incline was worked by locomotives from the opening date of
the southern section of the line, 20 July 1837, until 14 October 1837,
also whenever the stationary engine or rope were stopped for repairs,
then for Mail Trains from November 1843, and entirely from 15 July
1844, without any real increase in the power of the locomotives. The
reason given by Lecount for the rope working was the London and
Birmingham Railway Act of Parliament, by which he said they were
'restricted ... from running locomotive engines nearer London than
Camden Town.' [note 16]
Robert was unable to order from
Robert Stephenson & Co. due to
railway company rules about conflict of interest, and so locomotives
were purchased from seven other firms. Charles Wheatstone, Robert's
friend, installed the first electric telegraph between Euston square
Camden Town stations in autumn 1837. Trains started running
between London and
Birmingham on 24 June 1838, and the L&BR opened
ceremonially on 15 September 1838. Construction had taken four years
and three months, but had cost £5.5 million against the original
estimate of £2.4 million.
While living at Haverstock Hill, Robert would work six days a week,
rising at 5 am, when he would study the sciences and read poetry;
he was a firm Tory, but avoided reading political articles in
newspapers. He was respected and known as "The Chief", but
told a friend that he felt that his reputation would "break under me
like an eggshell"; he smoked cigars and he used calomel, a form of
mercury chloride; this was commonly mixed with opium. His
friend and writer, Francis Roubiliac Conder, said that if Robert was
needed on site somewhere he would catch the northbound coach,
sometimes sitting on the outside seat without an overcoat on a
winter's evening. He did not play his flute at this time.
However, Robert would be at home on Sundays attending church and
spending time with his wife. Robert and Fanny had no children, but
were surrounded by family. Fanny was liked by Robert's friends who
would visit, such as Bidder, Gooch, John Joseph Bramah, and the
company's solicitor, Charles Parker. She was said to rule
"her husband without ever seeming to do so"; to please her he
successfully applied to the Herald's College for a coat of arms,
paying for it in November 1838, but he never liked it, calling it a
"silly picture" just before his death.
Great George Street
In 1835 Robert travelled with his father to Belgium. George had been
invited to advise King Leopold on the Belgian State Railway, and was
decorated with the Order of Leopold; Robert returned with his father
two years later to celebrate the opening of the railway between
Brussels and Ghent. By agreement with the L&BR, Robert was not
permitted to work on any other engineering project while the railway
was being built, but he was permitted to act as consultant. Because of
the demand for his services, Robert opened offices in Westminster,
first in Duke Street, and in 1837 moved to Great George Street, first
to No. 35 1⁄2 and in 1844 he moved along the street to
No. 24, next door to the
Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers building;
this became the headquarters for both father and son.
Robert Stephenson & Co. works in Newcastle
After Robert had moved to London, William Hutchinson filled the gap
with his design and technical skills at the locomotive works in
Newcastle. Longbridge left in 1836 and was replaced by Edward Cooke,
Fanny's uncle; Cooke and Robert were on first name terms and Cooke was
someone Robert felt he could trust. The
Stephenson valve gear
Stephenson valve gear was
developed in 1842, although whoever at Newcastle first thought of it
was disputed; Robert authorised the manufacture of a full size
prototype on seeing a small model. The six-coupled Stephenson
long-boiler locomotive design was developed into a successful freight
locomotive, but was unsuitable for sustained high speeds.
The Stanhope and Tyne Railroad Company (S&TR) had been formed on
20 April 1832 as a partnership to build a railway between the lime
kilns at Lanehead Farmhouse and the coal mines at
Consett in County
Durham. The partners had decided to build a railway instead of
upgrading the existing Pontop Waggonway, and commissioned Robert as
surveyor and consulting engineer, and with
Thomas Elliot Harrison
Thomas Elliot Harrison as
acting engineer, construction started at Stanhope in July
1832. Robert accepted five £100 shares in payment of his
fee of £1,000, and the line opened in 1834. Instead of obtaining
Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament the company had agreed wayleaves with the land
owners, requiring payment of rent. The company borrowed heavily and
the debt grew to £440,000; by 1840 the lime kilns and the
section from Stanhope to Carrhouse had closed and the remaining
Stanhope to Annfield section was losing money. A creditor sent a bill
to Robert that the railway company could not pay, and Robert found
that as the S&TR was not a limited company, shareholders were
liable for the debt. Fearing financial ruin Robert sought the advice
of Parker, the insolvent railway company was dissolved on 5 February
1841 and a new limited company, the Pontop and South Shields Railway,
was created on 23 May 1842 to take over the line, Robert contributing
£20,000. The southern section from Stanhope to Carrhouse was sold to
Derwent Iron Company
Derwent Iron Company at Consett. The Great North of
England Railway opened in 1841 to York with a railway connection at
Darlington to London, and the Newcastle and
Railway (N&DJR) was formed to extend this line to Newcastle using
five miles of the Pontop and South Shields Railway. George Hudson, a
railway financier known as the "Railway King", was the chairman of the
N&DJR, and Robert was appointed engineer.
Some work still needed to be completed on the L&BR, and the North
Midland Railway and lines from
Belgium required Robert's attention. In 1839 he visited France, Spain
and Italy for three months to advise on railways, meeting the leading
French railway engineer Paulin Talabot. When he returned he was in
demand, travelling the country, giving evidence to Parliament and was
often asked to arbitrate in disputes between railway companies and
"My dear Fanny died this morning at five o'clock. God grant that I
might close my life as she has done, in true faith and in charity with
all men. Her last moments were perfect calmness."
Robert Stephenson diary entry on 4 October 1842
Robert, like his father, planned a railway line that avoided gradients
as much as possible, extending the route if necessary,[note 17] and
proposed such a route for a line between London and Brighton, but an
alternative was selected. In August 1841 Robert himself was made
Knight of the Order of Leopold for his improvements to locomotive
engines. In the summer of 1842 Robert was away working on the
N&DJR, in September in Cardiff and then in London working on a
report for the French Railways. Fanny had been diagnosed with cancer
two years previously and she grew seriously ill at the end of the
month. Robert stopped work to be with her for five days before she
died on 4 October 1842. Her wish was that Robert remarry and have
children, but he stayed single for the rest of his life. Her funeral
was on 11 October, and Robert returned to work the following day,
although he was to visit to her grave for many years.[note 18]
Robert grew to dislike the house on
Haverstock Hill after the death of
his wife. He moved to
Cambridge Square in Westminster to be nearer to
London's gentlemen's clubs, but soon afterwards the house was damaged
by fire and he lived in temporary accommodation for ten months.
The Newcastle and
Darlington Junction Railway opened on 18 June 1844.
A special train left Euston at 5:03 am, and travelling via Rugby,
Chesterfield and Normanton, reached Gateshead, south
of the River Tyne, at 2:24 pm. Festivities were held in the
Newcastle Assembly Rooms, where George was introduced as the man who
had "constructed the first locomotive that ever went by its own
spontaneous movement along iron rails", although there were people
present who should have known better.
Illustrated London News
Illustrated London News cartoon showing passengers changing trains
When George had built the Stockton &
Darlington and Liverpool
& Manchester he had placed the rails 4 ft 8 in
(1,422 mm) apart, as this was the gauge of the railway at the
Killingworth Colliery.[note 19] Isambard Kingdom Brunel, chief
engineer to the Great Western Railway, had adopted the 7 ft
(2,134 mm) or broad gauge, arguing that this would allow for
higher speeds.[not in citation given] Railways built with the
different gauges met for the first time at Gloucester in 1844, and
although an inconvenience to passengers, this became a serious problem
for goods, with delays and packages being lost at Gloucester. In 1845
Royal Commission was appointed and of the forty-six witnesses that
gave evidence, only Brunel and his colleagues at the Great Western
supported the broad gauge. Comparisons between a Stephenson
locomotive between York and
Darlington and one built by Brunel between
Paddington and Didcot showed the broad gauge locomotive to be
superior, but the commissioners found in favour of a
4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) gauge, due in part
to the greater number of route miles that had already been
laid.[note 20] Brunel also supported propelling trains using
the atmospheric system. Robert sent assistants to the Dalkey
Atmospheric Railway in Ireland to observe, but advised against its use
as the failure of one pump would bring traffic to a stop.
Robert's stepmother Elizabeth had died in 1845. That year George was
returning ill from a trip to Spain and suffered an attack of pleurisy
in the cabin of the packet bound for Southampton. He retired to Tapton
House, near Chesterfield, and married his housekeeper early in 1848.
Later that year he died on 12 August following second attack of
pleurisy, and was buried in Trinity churchyard, in Chesterfield.
George had been the President of the newly formed Institution of
Mechanical Engineers, and Robert took over that role until 1853.
Dee bridge after the collapse
The original box section Britannia Bridge, circa 1852.
Chester & Holyhead Railway received its permission in 1845 and
Robert became the chief engineer and designed an iron bridge to cross
the River Dee just outside Chester. Completed in September 1846, it
was inspected by the Broad of Trade Inspector, Major-General Paisley,
on 20 October. On 24 May 1847 the bridge gave way under a
passenger train; the locomotive and driver made it across, but the
tender and carriages fell into the river. Five people died. Conder
attended the inquest at Chester: he recounts that Paisley was so
agitated he was nearly unable to speak, Robert was pale and haggard
and the foreman of the jury seemed determined to get a verdict of
manslaughter. Robert had been prepared to admit liability, but was
persuaded to present a defence that the cast-iron girder could only
have fractured because the tender had derailed due to a broken wheel.
Robert was supported by expert witnesses such Locke, Charles Vignoles,
Gooch and Kennedy, and a verdict of accidental death was returned.
Robert never used long cast-iron girders again and a Royal Commission
was later set up to look at the use of cast iron by the railway
Britannia Bridge was built for the
Chester & Holyhead Railway
to cross the
Menai Straits from Wales to the island of Anglesey.
The bridge needed to be 1,511 feet (461 m) long, and the
Admiralty insisted on a single span 100 feet (30 m) above the
water. Problems during the launch of the wrought-iron steamship
the Prince of Wales meant that she fell with her hull not supported
for 110 feet (34 m), but was undamaged. Robert was inspired by
this and with
William Fairbairn and
Eaton Hodgkinson designed a
wrought-iron tubular bridge large enough for a train to pass
through.[note 22] They experimented with models in 1845 and
1846, and decided to use similar design on the 400-foot
(120 m) Conwy Bridge to gain experience. The first Conwy
tube was floated into position in March 1848 and lifted the following
month, allowing a single line railway to open on 1 May. The second
tube was lifted into position that October; on these days Brunel was
with Robert supporting his friend. The positioning of the first of the
four tubes for the
Britannia Bridge was carried out in June 1849, when
both Brunel and Locke were with Robert, and this was lifted into
position in October. The second tube was in lifted into place 7
January 1850, a single line was open to public traffic through these
tubes 18 March 1850, and the second line was open 19 October.
High Level Bridge
High Level Bridge in Newcastle
The route north of Newcastle to
Edinburgh along the coast, via Morpeth
and Berwick, had been recommended by George in 1838, and Hudson
promoted this route for the
Newcastle and Berwick Railway
Newcastle and Berwick Railway in
1843. The required Act, which, was given
Royal Assent in 1845,
included a high level road and rail bridge across the Tyne at
Newcastle and the
Royal Border Bridge
Royal Border Bridge across the Tweed at Berwick. The
High Level Bridge
High Level Bridge is 1,372 feet (418 m) long and 146 feet
(45 m) high and made from cast-iron bows held taut by horizontal
wrought-iron strings. The first train crossed the Tyne on a temporary
wooden structure in August 1848; the iron bridge was formally opened
Queen Victoria in September 1849, Robert having been elected a
Fellow of the Royal Society
Fellow of the Royal Society in June. The bridge across the Tweed is a
28-arch stone viaduct, and was opened by the Queen on 29 August 1850.
At the celebratory dinner Robert sat beside the Queen; he had just
been offered a knighthood, but had declined.
In the summer of 1847 Robert was invited to stand in the election for
the Member of Parliament for
Whitby and was elected unopposed; he
continued as their MP for the rest of his life. He entered
Parliament as a member of the Conservative Party, holding strong
Tory views and opposed to free trade. His maiden speech
was in favour of the
Great Exhibition and, with Brunel, became one of
the Commissioners. Robert spoke against educational reform, saying
workmen needed only to learn how to do their jobs, although he made
donations to educational organisations. In 1850, the pope
appointed Bishop Wiseman as the first English Roman Catholic Cardinal
since the Reformation; Robert wrote in a private letter that this was
aggressive, saying that in the "battle as to the mere form in which
the creator is to be worshiped – the true spirit of
Christianity is never allowed to appear." He later condemned the
way the British had fought the
Crimean War but supported the
government in January 1855, although the government lost the vote and
the prime minister resigned.[note 23]
Robert had become a member of the Société d'Études du Canal de Suez
in 1846, and the following year had accompanied Talabot and Alois
Negrelli to look at the feasibility of a
Suez canal. He advised
against a canal, saying it would quickly fill up with sand,
and assisted in the building of a railway between
Cairo, with two tubular bridges that he had designed. This opened in
1854, and was extended to
Suez in 1858. He spoke in
Parliament against British involvement in a
Suez canal scheme in 1857
The house that has no knocker
The first Titania in 1850, as reported by the Illustrated London News
Robert had moved to 34 Gloucester Square in 1847; when in London he
would socialise at the Athenaeum and Carlton clubs, delaying returning
home until late. By 1850 Robert had been involved in a third of the
country's railway system, and had prematurely aged and become ill with
chronic nephritis, then known as Bright's Disease, a
condition he had come to share with Isambard Brunel, for much the same
Robert found that he attracted the unwelcome attention of inventors
and promoters; if he was too ill be at Great George Street they found
him at home in Gloucester Square. In part to defend himself from these
intrusions in 1850 he commissioned a 100-ton yacht, calling her
Titania. Finding that he had no unwanted visitors when aboard, he
referred to her as "the house that has no knocker"; when he went
aboard, he seemed to grow younger and would behave like an excited
schoolboy. He joined the
Royal Yacht Squadron
Royal Yacht Squadron in 1850, becoming
its first member not from an upper-class background. Titania
missed the 1851 Royal Squadron Cup race, which America won and started
America's Cup challenge, but lost to America in a private race a
few days later. A second yacht, also Titania but 90 feet
(27 m) long and 184 tons, was built in 1852 after the first
was destroyed by fire.
In 1850 the route for the
Norwegian Trunk Railway
Norwegian Trunk Railway from
Christiania) to Lake
Mjøsa was surveyed, and Robert became chief
engineer. Bidder stayed on as resident engineer, Robert returning in
1851, 1852 and 1854. In August 1852 Robert travelled to
Canada to advise the
Grand Trunk Railway
Grand Trunk Railway on crossing the St Lawrence
River at Montreal. The 8,600-foot (2,600 m) Victoria Bridge had a
6,500-foot-long (2,000-metre-long) tube made up of 25 wrought iron
sections, and was to become for a time the longest bridge in the
In 1855 Robert was decorated
Knight of the Legion of Honour
Knight of the Legion of Honour by the
Emperor of France.
Having served as vice-president of the Institution of Civil Engineers
since 1847, he was elected president in 1856, and the following year
received a Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law at
Oxford along with Brunel
and Dr Livingstone.
During his life he had become close friends with Brunel and Locke, and
in 1857, although weak and ill, he responded to a plea for help from
Brunel in launching the SS Great Eastern. Robert fell from the slipway
into riverside mud, but continued without an overcoat until the end of
his visit. The following day he was confined to his bed for two weeks
In late 1858 Robert sailed with some friends to Alexandria,[note 24]
where he stayed on board Titania or at
Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo. He
dined with his friend Brunel on Christmas Day before returning to
London, arriving in February 1859. He was ill that summer, but sailed
Oslo in the company of
George Parker Bidder
George Parker Bidder to celebrate the
opening of the Norwegian Trunk railway and to receive the Knight Grand
Cross of the order of St. Olaf. He fell ill at the banquet on 3
September and returned to England on board Titania in the company of a
doctor, but the journey took seven days after the yacht ran into a
storm. As Robert landed in Suffolk, Brunel was already seriously ill
following a stroke and died the following day. Robert rallied, but
died on 12 October 1859. He was three years older than Brunel.
Robert Stephenson statue outside Euston station
Robert's death was deeply mourned throughout the country, especially
since it happened just a few days after the death of Brunel. His
funeral cortege was given permission by the Queen to pass through Hyde
Park, an honour previously reserved for royalty. Two thousand tickets
were issued, but 3000 men[note 25] were admitted to the service at
Westminster Abbey, where he was buried beside Thomas Telford. Ships on
the Thames, Tyne, Wear and Tees placed their flags at half mast. Work
stopped at midday on Tyneside, and the 1,500 employees of Robert
Stephenson & Co. marched through the streets of Newcastle to their
own memorial service. Robert left about £400,000:[note 26]
the Newcastle locomotive works, Snibstone collieries and £50,000 went
to his cousin George Robert Stephenson, the only son of George's
younger brother Robert, £10,000 was left to Parker, Bidder and the
Newcastle Infirmary, and the rest was left to friends or as legacies
to institutions. One of the bequests, which was for £2,000,
was to the fund from which the North of England Institute of Mining
and Mechanical Engineers was anticipating the creation of its
permanent Newcastle Headquarters. Robert was a member of this
The Victorian self-help advocate
Samuel Smiles had published his first
George Stephenson in 1857, and although attacked as
biased in the favour of George at the expense his rivals as well as
his son, it was popular and 250,000 copies were sold by 1904. The Band
of Hope were selling biographies of George in 1859 at a penny a sheet,
and at one point there was a suggestion to move George's body to
Westminster Abbey. The centenary of George's birth was
celebrated in 1881 at Crystal Palace by 15,000 people, and it was
George who was featured on the reverse of the Series E five pound note
issued by the
Bank of England
Bank of England between 1990 and 2003. The
Stephenson Railway Museum
Stephenson Railway Museum in
North Shields is named after George and
List of British heritage and private railways
Notes and references
^ Robert and George both gave the month of Robert's birth variously as
October, November or December. Jeaffreson & Pole (1864a,
p. 7) states that although he celebrated his birthday on 16
November, the October date was determined by looking at an extract
from the register. Most biographies, such as Rolt (1984, p. 10)
and Davis (1975, p. 8), give this date of birth except Ross
(2010, pp. 21, 288), who gives the November date because George
Parker Bidder was invited by Robert to a birthday party on 16 November
1852, and Robert's birthday is noted in Bidder's diary in 1853, 1854
^ George's younger brother Robert laid out the Bolton and Leigh
Railway and the narrow gauge
Nantlle Railway in Wales and was in
charge of one of the locomotives on the opening day of the Liverpool
and Manchester Railway, before coming manager of Pendleton Colliery.
His only son, George Robert Stephenson, inherited the Robert
Stephenson & Co. works after Robert's death.
^ Smiles had this story of Elizabeth and George meeting in an early
edition, but removed it in later editions after being told by
Elizabeth's brother that he had introduced the couple to each other in
1818 or 1819. However, subsequent biographers, such as Jeaffreson
& Pole (1864a, p. 49) and Rolt (1984, p. 17) repeat the
^ Pease was a
Quaker and after approximately a third of the shares
were bought by Quakers and Pease, his family and other local Quakers
had control of the managing committee the railway became known as "the
^ In Smiles' biography, George had travelled down with Wood to see
Pease uninvited, but Wood later stated publicly that the meeting had
been by appointment. However, notes probably dictated by an elderly
George were published in 1973 that said he had travelled to Darlington
to see Pease because of the advice of friends,
^ When George was commissioned to survey the
Liverpool and Manchester
Railway, William James was left without a job, and was eventually
bankrupt. Rolt argues that Robert's sympathies were with James, using
a letter from
Robert Stephenson to James as evidence, but after
Rolt wrote his book this letter was re-attributed to George's brother,
Robert. Davis quotes a letter from Robert to Longbridge, sent
before George had got the L&MR contract, in which Robert is
excited about going to Colombia.
^ In a contemporary account of the meeting, Trevithick claimed to have
sat talking to George with an infant Robert on his knee many years
before. However Davis (1975, pp. 158–159) and Ross (2010,
pp. 94–95) both consider it unlikely that the Cornish
Trevithick had met the Stephensons in Newcastle.
^ Ross (2010, pp. 164, 297) notes that Robert was not seen at any
meetings and did not join an English lodge, and considers the
membership as a form of insurance.
^ Fanny (1803–1842) was the daughter of John Sanderson of
London. A relative has been quoted as saying that Fanny was
intelligent and able to influence people without them knowing, and not
beautiful, but had expressive dark eyes.
^ To reverse earlier locomotives the driver had to manipulate the
valves manually in sequence; with no brakes on the locomotive and
wooden brakes on the tender this was the only way of stopping. There
was only one S&DR driver that could do this in the dark, the
others required the firemen to hold up a light. 
^ Marc Seguin, engineer to the St Etienne and Lyon Railway, had the
idea at about the same time, and had a French patent. He built such a
boiler that summer and fitted it to a locomotive two months after the
Rainhill Trials. Although Seguin had visited the S&DR and ordered
Robert Stephenson & Co, the
Booth-Stephenson design was different, and Seguin and the Stephensons
had not discussed the idea.
^ The L&MR was built with the tracks 4 feet
8 1⁄2 inches (1.435 m) apart, although later the
distance was increased to 6 feet (1.8 m).
^ In 1830 a civil engineer was any engineer not in military
^ This increased to £2,000 to match the salary Isambard Kingdom
Brunel was awarded when he became chief engineer of the Great Western
^ After gaining the contract for the Great Western Railway, Brunel
borrowed copies of Robert's drawings and modelled his system of
draughting on that used by Robert.
^ Locomotives were used after July 1844 and the stationary engines
were moved to a silver mine in Russia.
^ Later, British locomotive manufacturers were absent when the
builders of the line through the
Semmering Pass in Austria held trials
in 1851 to select a locomotive that could haul 140 long tons
(142 t; 157 short tons) up a 1 in 40 gradient. The competition
was won by Bavaria, built in
Munich with eight coupled wheels.
^ In 1857 Robert became godfather to
Robert Stephenson Smyth
Baden-Powell, and Ross (2010, p. 305) notes that Addeyman,
John; Haworth, Victoria (2005), Robert Stephenson: Railway Engineer,
North East Railway Association, p. 150,
ISBN 1-873513-60-7 repeats the rumour that the child
resulted from a long-term affair between Robert and Henrietta
Baden-Powell, but there is no evidence for this other than
^ Smiles (1868, p. 234) states that early tramroads had rails
4 ft 8 in apart, but Tomlinson (1915, pp. 82–83)
challenges this, stating that the most common gauge of the early
tramroads and waggonways was of the order of 4 ft
(1,219 mm), and some, such as the Wylam waggonway, had the rails
5 ft (1,524 mm) apart.
^ Early documents gave 4 ft 8 in as the gauge on both
the S&DR and L&MR, but the distance between the rails was
later measured as 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in, and this became
the standard gauge used by 60 per cent of railways worldwide. The
difference of 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) is a mystery.
^ For more details see Lewis, Peter (2007), Disaster on the Dee:
Robert Stephenson's Nemesis of 1847, History Press,
ISBN 978-0-7524-4266-2 .
^ Fairbairn claimed credit for the design in his book Fairbairn,
William (1849), An account of the construction of the Britannia and
Conway tubular bridges , to which Robert responded with Clark,
Edwin; Stephenson, Robert (1849), General description of the Britannia
and Conway tubular bridges on the
Chester & Holyhead
^ Although Rolt (1984, p. 325) states that Robert supported the
radicals, Ross (2010, p. 266) states he voted with the
government, and he was included in the list of noes published in The
Times the day after the vote.
^ For details of this journey see Bidder, Elizabeth (2012), The
Elizabeth Bidder Diary,
Robert Stephenson Trust .
^ It was reported in
The Morning Post that "Great disappointment was
felt at the entire exclusion of ladies", but that space was
^ Sources differ as whether the legacy was valued over or under
^ a b c "Fellows of the Royal Society". London: Royal Society.
Archived from the original on 2015-03-16.
^ Davis 1975, Title of book.
^ "Robert Stephenson". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 19 March
^ a b Bailey, Michael R., ed. (2003). Robert Stephenson; The Eminent
Engineer. Ashgate. p. XXIII. ISBN 0-7546-3679-8.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 10.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 9–10.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 8–9.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 11.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 13.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. xix, 12, 197, 201.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 11–12.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 15–17.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 18, 22–23.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 15–16.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 19–17, 29.
^ Smiles 1868, pp. 165–166.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 30, 33–34.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 16–17.
^ Davis 1975, p. 14.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 35–36.
^ a b c Kirby, M.W. (2004). "Stephenson, Robert". The Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/26400.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 42–44.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 46.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 8–9, 17.
^ Ross 2010, p. 54.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 47–49.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 50.
^ Allen 1974, pp. 15–16.
^ Tomlinson 1915, p. 53.
^ Kirby, Maurice W. (4 July 2002). The Origins of Railway Enterprise:
Stockton and Darlington Railway
Stockton and Darlington Railway 1821–1863.
Press. pp. 33, 37. ISBN 978-0-521-89280-3.
^ Allen 1974, p. 17.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 64–65.
^ Davis 1975, pp. 62–65.
^ Tomlinson 1915, p. 74.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 69.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 53–54.
^ Allen 1974, p. 20.
^ Tomlinson 1915, pp. 79–80.
^ Allen 1974, p. 19.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 77.
^ Tomlinson 1915, p. 83.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 90–92.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 58–60.
^ Tomlinson 1915, pp. 85–86.
^ Tomlinson 1915, pp. 86–87.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 80–81.
^ Allen 1974, p. 24.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 101–102.
^ a b Rolt 1984, p. 102.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 66–68.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 69, 72.
^ Smiles 1868, pp. 301–302.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 74–75.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 95–96.
^ Davis 1975, pp. 103, 112–113.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 66–69.
^ Davis 1975, pp. 100–101.
^ Davis 1975, pp. 102, 322–323.
^ Davis 1975, pp. 111–112.
^ Natural Features of Venezuela.
Popular Science Monthly
Popular Science Monthly at
Wikisource, The Free Library
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 119–120.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 120–121.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 120–123.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 83–84.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 123–124.
^ Smiles 1868, pp. 305, 307.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 93–94.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 124–126.
^ Smiles 1868, pp. 108–109.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 126–127.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 112–113.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 114–115.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 188.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 131, 148.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 148–149.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 130–131.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 106–107.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 132–134, 137.
^ Smiles 1868, p. 353.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 206.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 158–159.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 160.
^ a b Rolt 1984, pp. 162–165.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 135–136.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 126–128.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 162.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 101–102.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 107, 294.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 141–143.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 166–171.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 171–173.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 176.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 180–184.
^ Watkins, J. Elfreath (1891). Camden and Amboy Railroad: Origin and
early History (PDF). Gedney & Roberts. pp. 3, 33–34.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2014.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 187.
^ Ross 2010, p. 127.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 188–192.
^ Davis 1975, p. 201.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 196–199.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 103–105.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 211–212.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 205–206.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 207.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 208–210.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 164.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 212–215.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 215.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 166–167.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 165.
^ Ross 2010, p. 121.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 169–172.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 166–167, 172.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 177–178.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 179–180, 185.
^ Acts relating to the London and
Birmingham Railway. George Eyre and
Andrew Spottiswoode. 1839. p. 1.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 223–224.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 188.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 186.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 185–187.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 188–192.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 213.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 193–203.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 206–208.
^ Conder 1868, p. 32.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 206.
^ Lecount 1839, p. 48.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 235–236.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 245, 247.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 209.
^ a b Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 232–233, 243.
^ Ross 2010, p. 140.
^ Conder 1868, pp. 22–23.
^ a b Ross 2010, pp. 242–243.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 231–232.
^ Ross 2010, p. 141.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 237.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 255–257.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 148, 177.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 257–259.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 293.
^ Allen 1974, pp. 42–43.
^ Hoole, K. (1974). A Regional History of the Railways of Great
Britain: Volume IV The North East. David & Charles.
pp. 188–189. ISBN 0715364391.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 263.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 265–266.
^ Allen 1974, p. 75.
^ "Stanhope and Tyne Railroad Company (RAIL 663)". The National
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 246–250.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 261.
^ Allen 1974, pp. 61, 69, 71, 89.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 238–241.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, p. 255.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 251–252.
^ Ross 2010, p. 149.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 253–255.
^ Ross 2010, p. 274.
^ Ross 2010, p. 272.
^ Ross 2010, p. 305.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 259–260.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 275–276.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864a, pp. 257–258.
^ Allen 1974, p. 76.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 280–281.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864b, pp. 9–11, 17–19.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 293–294.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864b, pp. 27–28.
^ Davis 1975, p. 75.
Robert Stephenson (1803–1859)". Network Rail. Retrieved 25 March
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 282–283.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 288, 295–298.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 299–300.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 301–304.
^ Conder 1868, pp. 286–292.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864b, p. 37.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864b, pp. 81, 101.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 235–256.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864b, pp. 82, 84–89.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 305.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 307.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 309–313.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 277–278.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 283–286.
^ "Fellows". The Royal Society. (See complete listing for Robert's
election as Fellow). Retrieved 29 April 2014.
^ Jeaffreson & Pole 1864b, pp. 144–145.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 324–326.
^ Ross 2010, p. 247.
^ Ross 2010, p. 266.
^ a b "The Army Before Sebastopol". The Times (21965). 31 January
1855. p. 8.
^ a b Rolt 1984, pp. 326–327.
^ Wilson 1939, pp. 9–10.
^ Wilson 1939, p. 11.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 315.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 318–319.
^ a b Rolt 1984, pp. 328–329.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 237–238.
^ Ross 2010, pp. 253–254.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 324.
^ "Norwegian Grand Trunk Railway". Illustrated London News. 7 October
1854. pp. 336–338.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 315–316.
^ Smiles 1868, p. 485.
^ a b c d Davis 1975, p. 287.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 319.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 323.
^ Rolt 1984, pp. 256, 331–333.
^ "Funeral of
Robert Stephenson in Westminster". The Morning Post.
London. 22 October 1859.
^ Rolt 1984, p. 333.
^ a b Jeaffreson & Pole 1864b, p. 253.
^ Harding, J.T. (1986), "A History of the North of England Institute
of Mining and Mechanical Engineers", The Mining Engineer – Journal
of the Institution of Mining Engineers 146: 252–6
^ Davis 1975, pp. 288–290.
^ Rolt 1984, p. ix.
^ Jones, Robin, ed. (2013). The Rocket Men: George and Robert
Stephenson. Morton's Media. p. 23.
^ Davis 1975, p. 295.
^ "Notes recently withdrawn from circulation". Bank of England.
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Allen, Cecil J. (1974) . The North Eastern Railway. Ian Allan.
Conder, F.R. (1868). Personal Recollections of English Engineers and
of the Introduction of the Railway System in the United Kingdom.
Hodder & Stoughton. OCLC 251964171.
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Father of Railways. Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Jeaffreson, J.C.; Pole, William (1864a). The Life of Robert Stephenson
FRS Vol. 1. Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts and Green.
Jeaffreson, J.C.; Pole, William (1864b). The Life of Robert Stephenson
FRS Vol. 2. Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts and Green.
Rolt, L.T.C. (1984). George and Robert Stephenson: The Railway
Revolution. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-007646-8.
Ross, David (2010). George and Robert Stephenson: A Passion for
Success. History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-5277-7.
Smiles, Samuel (1868). The Life of
George Stephenson and of his Son
Robert Stephenson. Harper & Brothers. OCLC 1559045.
Tomlinson, William Weaver (1915). The North Eastern Railway: Its Rise
and Development. Andrew Reid and Company. OCLC 504251788.
Wilson, Arnold T (1939). The
Suez Canal: Its Past, Present, and Future
Oxford University Press. OCLC 1981248.
Lecount, Lieut. Peter, RN (1839). The History of the Railway
connecting London and Birmingham. Simpkin, Marshall and Co, and
Charles Tilt. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
Addeyman, John; Haworth, Victoria (2005). Robert Stephenson: Railway
Engineer. North East Railway Association.
Bailey, Michael R., ed. (2003). Robert Stephenson; The Eminent
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Stephenson.
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