Robert Stephenson, English mechanical and civil engineer, c 1850s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by D J Pound, after a photograph by Mayall. Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) was an engineer and the son of George Stephenson (1781-1848), whom he asisted with the survey of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1821. In 1829 he designed the 'Rocket' locomotive which won the 'Rainhill Trials', a competition set up to find the most suitable locomotive for haulage on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. He was also chief engineer of the London & Birmingham Railway, completed in 1838. He designed many bridges, most famously the Royal Border and Britannia Tubular bridges, both constructed in 1850. He is buried in Westminster Abbey in London.