Oil painting by an unknown artist of Stephenson (1781-1848), and family, with a colliery and early colliery engine in the background. A largely self-educated man, Stephenson's early working life was spent as a brakesman and in collieries maintaining stationary engines. 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 commissioned to design his first steam locomotive, 'Blucher', for the Killingworth Colliery in Tyne and Wear. Later, he became the engineer for the Stockton & Darlington Railway (1825), and the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (1829). He advised on the construction of many English railways and the Belgian State Railway (1835), hence his nickname 'the father of railways'.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library