George Stephenson, English railway engineer and crowd, c 1840-1850.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil painting by John Lucas (1807-1874) showing a group of people, including 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 (1825) and the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (1829). He advised on the construction of the Belgian State Railway (1835) and was involved with the construction of many of the English railways.