Robert Stephenson, English mechanical and civil engineer, c 1850s.
© NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil on canvas painting of Robert Stephenson (1803-1859), English engineer and the son of George Stephenson (1781-1848), whom he asisted with the survey of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1821. After attending Edinburgh University, he set up an engineering company, Robert Stephenson & Co, in 1824. 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 Bridge and the Britannia Tubular bridge, both constructed in 1850. He is buried in Westminster Abbey in London.