London and Birmingham Steam Carriage Co share certificate, 1835.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraved £1.00 certificate isued to Mr Joseph Gill. Cornishman Sir Goldsworthy Gurney (1793-1875) built a steam-powered road vehicle in 1823. In 1829, he succesfully travelled from Bath to London and back at a sustained speed of 15 mph in a steam carriage. Gurney and others planned to run long-distance steam pasenger coach services between cities. One such company was the London and Birmingham Steam Carriage Company, established in 1832. Although trials were succesful, the company failed in 1835. Opposition from operators of horse-drawn coaches, who physically blocked roads and persuaded the government to impose crippling tolls, was largely responsible for driving the steam coach operators out of busines.