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'Richard Trevithick's Railroad, Euston Square, 1809', 1808.

Rowlandson, Thomas

'Richard Trevithick's Railroad, Euston Square, 1809', 1808.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm


Ink and waterclour drawing bearing the signature of Thomas Rowlandson, showing people watching Trevithick's steam locomotive travelling around a circular track within a wooden enclosure. Cornish engineer and inventor Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) built the world's first steam locomotive in 1803. In 1808 (rather than 1809 as the text beneath the image states), he established a 'steam circus' in Euston Square in London, charging members of the public one shilling for the opportunity of riding on a carriage pulled by his locomotive, the 'Catch Me Who Can'. The ride, which was capable of travelling at speeds of up to 12 mph, was popular with the London public, but the weight of the locomotive broke the rails, and it closed after two months.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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