George Stephenson, railway engineer, 1830-1836.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Watercolour miniature by Mary F Hamilton of George Stephenson (1781-1848). Stephenson commenced his working life as a cowherd, later working in coalpits. 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 a steam locomotive for the Killingworth wagonway. He was the engineer for the Stockton & Darlington Railway (opened 1825) and the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (opened 1829). He advised on the construction of the Belgian State Railway (opened 1835) and was involved with the construction of many of the English railways, hence his nickname 'the father of railways'.