George Stephenson, railway engineer, mid 19th century.
© NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library
Stevengraph (woven silk picture) depicting George Stephenson (1781-1848) and locomotives. A largely self- taught man, 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, hence his nickname 'the father of railways'.