George Stephenson, English railway engineer, 1838.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
H P after an original drawing by Briggs. A largely self-educated man, George Stephenson's (1781-1848) early working life was spent as a brakesman and in collieries maintaining stationary engines. His mechanical mind was noticed by his employers, and by 1812 he was an engine-wright earning 100 pounds a year. In 1813 he was commisioned to design his first steam locomotive, 'Blucher', for the Killingworth Colliery in Tyne and Wear. Later, he became the engineer for the Stockton & Darlington Railway (1825), and the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (1829). He advised on the construction of many of the English railways and the Belgian State Railway (1835), hence his nickname 'the father of railways'.