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Life of Robert Stephenson by William Pole: Index

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Note: This is a sub-section of William Pole, John Cordy Jeaffreson and Robert Stephenson

The Life of Robert Stephenson. Edited and Completed by William Pole. Published in 1864. Two-volumes
This index and the fourteen chapters are a scanned version of the original book.


PREFACE - Read Preface


CHAPTER I.

THE STEPHENSON FAMILY.

Various Stephensons of Newcastle — ‘Old Robert Stephenson’ — Mabel Carr — George Stephenson’s Birth—Fanny Henderson—George Stephenson moves to Willington—Robert Stephenson’s Birth—The Christening Party at Willington Quay—Mrs. George Stephenson’s delicate Health — George Stephenson removes to Killingworth Township, Long Benton — Site of George Stephenson’s House at Willington — ‘ The Stephenson Memorial.


CHAPTER II.

LONG BENTON. (Age 1-9.)

The West Moor Colliery—‘The Street’ of Long Benton — Road from Newcastle to Killingworth—‘ The Cottage’ on the West Moor —View from the Cottage Windows—Apparent Amendment of Mrs. Stephenson's Health — Robert and his Mother visit Black Callerton — Robert Stephenson’s Sister — Death of his Mother—George Stephenson’s Journey to Montrose — Eleanor Stephenson — Her great Disappointment — ‘ The Artificials’ — Little Robert’s Visits to the Red House Farm, Wolsingham — ‘ The Hempy Lad ’—Tommy Rutter’s School—The young Gleaner — A Lesson for the Lord’s Day — George Stephenson’s Sundays — His Friends, Robert Hawthorn and John Steele—The first Locomotive ever built on the Banks of the Tyne— Anthony Wigham—Captain Robson— Evenings at the West Moor.


CHAPTER III.

ROBERT STEPHENSON, THE SCHOOLBOY. (Age 9-16.)

Robert and the Pitman’s Picks — ‘Mind the Bulks’ —George Stephenson’s pecuniary Position whilst his Son attended Rutter’s School — George appointed Engineer to the Collieries of ‘The Grand Allies’—The Locomotive on the Wylam Line — George Stephenson’s first Locomotive—His Appointment to the ‘Walker Iron-works ’—‘ Bruce’s Academy’ — The Cost of Robert’s Tuition at the School — Robert Stephenson’s Reception by his new Schoolfellows — The Boy’s delicate Health — The Purchase of his Donkey—John Tate — Rival Safety Lamps—Testimonial and Public Dinner to George Stephenson for his Lamp — Home Gossip— ‘ Throwing the Hammer’— George Stephenson’s Views with regard to the Education of his Son—Robert Stephenson’s Plan of a Sun-Dial.


CHAPTER IV.

ROBERT STEPHENSON, THE APPRENTICE. (Age 15-20.)

Robert Stephenson leaves School—He is apprenticed to Mr. Nicholas Wood —George Stephenson lays down the Hetton Colliery Railway—Father and Son—Robert’s Economy in his personal Expenses—The ‘ Three Tuns ’ — The Circumferentor—George Stephenson’s increasing Prosperity — His Second Marriage He builds the ‘ Friar’s Goose Pumping Engine ’ — He embarks in a small Colliery Speculation—The Locomotive Boiler Tubes of the Messrs. James—Explosion in the Killingworth Mine—George Stephenson’s First Visit to Mr. Edward Pease — Robert Stephenson and his Father survey the Stockton and Darlington Line — Robert Stephenson’s First Visit to London — His delicate State of Health—Survey for the Second Stockton and Darlington Act—Robert Stephenson goes to Edinburgh — Professor Leslie’s Testimonial — Letters written at Edinburgh by Robert Stephenson to Mr. Longridge—Robert Stephenson accompanies Professor Jamieson on a Geological Excursion — George Stephenson’s Letter to his friend Locke — Robert Stephenson and his Father visit Ireland—Robert Stephenson’s Letters from that Country


CHAPTER V.

PREPARATIONS TO AMERICA. (Age 20-21.)

George Stephenson’s Rupture with Mr. Losh — The Establishment of the Firm of R. Stephenson and Co. of Newcastle—The Colombian Mining Association—George Stephenson a Chief Agent for the Project—Robert Stephenson visited with renewed and aggravated Symptoms of Pulmonary Disease—Robert Stephenson proposed as Engineer to the ‘Colombian Mining Association ’ — His Visits to Cornwall and other Places — Newcastle —The London Coffee House, Ludgate Hill — Robert Stephenson accepts the Post of Engineer-in-Ohief to the Colombian Mining Association—In London — Preparations and Hard Work—‘ Home, sweet Home ’—Letter to ‘ the North ’ — Conduct of ‘the Association’ — Liverpool—Sails for South America.


CHAPTER VI.

SOUTH AMERICA. (Age 20-24.)

La Guayra — Caraccas — Proposed Breakwater and Pier at La Guayra — Survey for Railroad between La Guayra and Caraccas — Santa Fe de Bogota—Mariquita—Life on the Magdalena — Explores the Country — Road between the Magdalena and the Mines — Santa Ana — Descriptions of Scenery — Arrival of the Cornish Miners—Insubordination of Miners —Friends, Pursuits, and Studies—Inclination and Duty—Disappointment of the Directors — Their Secretary.


CHAPTER VII.

FROM SOUTH AMERICA TO NEWCASTLE. (Age 23-24.)

Leaves Santa Ana —Goes up to Carthagena — Encounters Trevithick — Trevithick’s Peculiarities— Sails for New York — Becalmed amongst the Islands — Terrible Gales in the open Sea — Two Wrecks — Cannibalism—Shipwrecked off New York — Strange Conduct of a Mate —Is made a Master Mason.— Pedestrian Excursion to Montreal — Remarkable Conversation on the Banks of the St. Lawrence—Returns to New York —Arrives at Liverpool—Meeting with his Father — Goes up to London and sees the Directors of the Colombian Mining Association — Trip to Brussels — Return to Newcastle — Liverpool.


CHAPTER VIII.

RESIDENCE IN NEWCASTLE. (Age 24-26.)

State of the Locomotive in 1828—Efforts to improve the Locomotive —The Reports of Messrs. Walker and Rastrick—A Premium of £600 offered by the Directors of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway for the best Locomotive — Mr. Henry Booth’s Invention of the Multitubular Boiler—Commencement of the ‘Rocket ’ Steam Engine—A Tunnel across the Mersey—Survey for a Junction Line between the Bolton and Leigh and Liverpool and Manchester Railways — Survey for Branch Line from the Liverpool and Manchester Railway to Warrington—Robert Stephenson’s Love Aifairs — His Access to Society in Liverpool and London — Miss Banny Sanderson — Proposal that Robert Stephenson should live at Bedhugton—Mr. Richardson’s Expostulations— No. 6 Greenfield Place — The Sofa a la mode— Marriage.


CHAPTER IX.

RESIDENCE IN NEWCASTLE — CONTINUED. (Age 25-28.)

Wedding Trip — Battle of the ‘Locomotive’ — ‘The Oracle’—Construction of the ‘Rocket’ Steam Engine — The Rainhill Contest—Particulars concerning the ‘ Rocket ’ — History of ‘ the Blast-Pipe ’ — Triumphant return from Liverpool to Newcastle — Answer to Mr. Walker’s Report — Letters to Mr. Richardson—Numerous Engagements—More Locomotives — Opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway—Robert Stephenson appointed Engineer to the ‘Warrington’ and ‘Leicester and Swannington’ Lines — Discovery of Coal Strata, and Purchase of Snibstone—London and Birmingham Railway— Robert Stephenson employed to carry the Line through Parliament—Opposition to the Line—‘Investigator’s’ Pamphlet — Robert Stephenson’s Evidence before the Lords’ Committee—Rejection of the Bill in 1832—Calumnies—Public Meeting at Thatched House Tavern in support of the London and Birmingham Railway—Bill passes Parliament in 18.33—Robert Stephenson appointed sole Engineer-in-Chief to the London and Birmingham Railway — Leaves Newcastle-on-Tyne—Pupils.


CHAPTER X.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE LONDON AND BIRMINGHAM RAILWAY. (Age29-34.)

Appointment as Engineer-in-Chief to the London and Birmingham Line — Contract Plans — Drawing-Office in the Cottage on the Edgeware Road, and subsequently at the Eyre Arms, St. John’s Wood—Health and Habits of Life — Staff of Assistant and Sub-Assistant Engineers — The principal Contractors — Primrose Hill Tunnel — Blisworth Cutting —-Wolverton Embankment and Viaduct — Kilsby Tunnel —Interview with Dr. Arnold at Rugby — Conduct and Character of Navvies —Anecdotes—Robert Stephenson proposes the Extension of the Line from Camden Town to Euston Square — Proposition first rejected and then adopted by Directors— Act of Parliament obtained for Extension of the Line — The Incline from Camden Town to Euston Square originally worked by Stationary Engines and Ropes — Lieut. Lecount’s Comparison of Labour expended on the London and Birmingham Railway, and Labour expended on the Great Pyramid — Conduct of a certain Section of the Directors to Robert Stephenson—Opening of the Line —Dinner at Dee’s Royal Hotel, Manchester—Robert Stephenson’s Anger with a Director — Dinner and Testimonial given to Robert Stephenson at Dunchurch — Brunel uses Robert Stephenson’s System of Drawing on the Great Western —Robert Stephenson’s Appointment as Consulting Engineer.


CHAPTER XI.

AFFAIRS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE LONDON AND BIRMINGHAM RAILWAY. (Age 29-35.)

Stanhope and Tyne Railway Company — Robert Stephenson their Engineer—Opening of the Line and its rapidly increasing Embarrassments— Robert Stephenson visits Belgium with his Father — Offices in Duke Street, and George Street, Westminster—The Session of 1886 —Various proposed Lines between London and Brighton : Sir John Rennie’s, Robert Stephenson’s, Gibbs’s, Cimdy’s—London and Blackwall Railway, and the Commercial Road Railway—Robert Stephenson strongly opposes the Use of Locomotives in Towns — Life at Haverstock Hill — Reading, Friends, Horses, Sunday Dinners — Newcastle Correspondence— Mrs. Stephenson’s Accident to Knee-Cap—Professor Wheatstone’s and Robert Stephenson’s Adoption of the Electric Telegraph — Robert Stephenson assumes Arms — That ‘ Silly Picture ’.


CHAPTER XII.

FROM THE COMPLETION OP THE LONDON AND BIRMINGHAM RAILWAY TO THE OPENING OF THE NEWCASTLE AND DARLINGTON LINE. (Age 35-41.)

Railways undertaken in various Directions — Brunel, Giles, Braithwaite — Robert Stephenson’s Trip to Italy — On his Return again immersed in Projects—The Contractors’ Dinner at ‘ The Albion ’—Letters to Newcastle— Cigars for the Continent — Stanhope and Tyne Crisis—Robert Stephenson threatened with Insolvency—Acts for the Pontop and South Shields and the Newcastle and Darlington Junction Railways — Robert Stephenson appointed to execute the Newcastle and Darlington Lines — Robert Stephenson created a Knight of the Order of Leopold — Mrs. Stephenson’s Death — Opening of Newcastle and Darlington Line — Public Dinner and Speeches — Continental Engagements — Leaves Haverstock Hill and moves to Cambridge Square—Fire in Cambridge Square—George Hudson and Robert Stephenson—A Contrast.


CHAPTER XIII.

RAILWAY PROGRESS AND RAILWAY LEGISLATION.

First Act of Parliament authorising the Construction of a Railway — Railway Development from the year 1801 to 1846 inclusive—The Railway Mania of 1825-26—The Railway Mania of 1836-37—The Railway Mania of 1846-46—Difference between the Crises of 1825-26 and 1836 -37 and of 1846-46 — Report from Committees, 1837 — Bubble Companies—Parliamentary Influence — Parliamentary Corruption — Compensation; Stories of—The Parliamentary Committee as a Tribunal—Robert Stephenson’s Views on Parliamentary Legislation — Observations on his Project for a ‘ Preliminary Board of Inquiry ’ — Causes of Parliamentary Inconsistency — Stories of the Parliamentary Bar — Professional Witnesses in the House of Commons: Robert Stephenson, Brunel, Locke, Lardner, Bidder — Great Britain compared with other Countries in respect of Railway Development—Results — Proposal for Railway Farmers—Proposal for a Railway Bank.


CHAPTER XIV.

THE ATMOSPHERIC SYSTEM OE RAILWAY PROPHLSION.

Remarkable Episode in the History of Railways—Correction of Nomenclature— Objects of this Chapter — General Modes of Locomotion— Constant rivalry between Locomotive and Stationary Steam-power—Liverpool and Manchester Railway — Walker and Rastrick’s Report—Stephenson and Locke’s Reply — Triumph of the Locomotive—Renewal of the Stationary Plan in the Atmospheric form—Early Inventors—Papin — Medhurst—Features of his Schemes—Vallance— Pinkus — Clegg- Jacob and Joseph Samuda —Private Experiments—Trial of their Plan on the Thames Junction Railway—Description of the Apparatus — Proposal to apply it in Ireland—Smith and Barlow’s Report — Application on the Kingstown and Dalkey Line—Arguments in favour of the Plan — Robert Stephenson’s attention called to it in reference to the Chester and Holyhead Railway—His Report—Public Interest excited—Croydon Railway Parliamentary Committee—The Railway Mania—Appointment of a Committee of the House of Commons to enquire into the Merits of the Plan— Their Report in its favour—Culminating point of the History — Contests in Parliament—Application of the Atmospheric System in practice—Thames Junction Line—Kingstown and Dalkey Line—Croydon Line—South Devon Line — Paris and St. Germain Line—Summary of Results — Mechanical Efficiency — Economy — General Applicability to Railway Traffic—Reasons for its Abandonment—Conclusion.


CHAPTER I. (VOLUME 2)

THE BATTLE OP THE GAUGES. (Age. 40-42.)

Great Western Railway in 1833—Brunei’s Scheme for a Broad Gauge— History of the Narrow Gauge—Advantages anticipated by Brunel from a Broad Gauge—Brunei’s Report of 1838—Theory of Railway Districts— Break of Gauge first takes place at Gloucester in 1841—Goods Traffic, not Passengers, the grand Cause of Difficulty at ‘ Breaks of Gauge ’—Gauge Pamphleteers—The Oxford and Wolverhampton Contest in 1846—Lord Dalhousie’s and Mr. Cobden’s Motions—Royal Gauge Commission appointed—Brunel’s Inconsistencies—The Railway Clearing House, instituted under the Auspices of Mr, Glyn and Mr. Hudson—Its leading Principles and its Returns for 1845—^Witnesses examined by the Gauge Commissioners—Brunel left alone—Robert Stephenson’s Character as a Parliamentary Witness—His Evidence before the Gauge Commission— Brunei’s Expedients for obviating the Evils of ‘ Break of Gauge ’—The Commissioners’ Report—The last Argument in favour of Competition advanced by the Broad Gauge Party and answered by Mr. Thornton Hunt—Illustrated Evidence—The Gauge Act—Robert Stephenson’s Report on Double Gauges.


CHAPTER II. (VOLUME 2)

IRON BRIDGES.

Mr. Stephenson’s large Practice in Iron Bridges—His Article on the Subject in the EncyclopffitKa Britannica—Modem Use of the Material— Early Bridges—First Iron Arch Bridges—Tom Paine’s Bridge—Full Development of the Iron Arch Bridge—First Use of Wrought Iron- Suspension Bridges—Captain gamuel Brown—Mr. Telford—The Menai Bridge—Introduction of Railways—Consequent large Demand for Don Bridges—Return to the Form of the simple Beam—Comparison of the three different Systems of Iron Bridges—Advantages of the Girder System—Cast-iron Girders—Compound Girders—The Dee Bridge — Royal Commission on Iron Railway Structures—Introduction of Wrought- iron Girders—Different Varieties of Girders—Examples—The Aire Bridge—The Benha Bridge—Last Work of Mr. Stephenson’s Life, Restoration of Tom Paine’s Bridge.


CHAPTER III. (VOLUME 2)

THE BRITANNIA BRIDGE.

The Port of Holyhead—The Holyhead Trunk Road—Interruption by the Menai Strait—Attempts to establish a Passage—Telford’s Suspension Bridge—Introduction of Railways—Chester and Holyhead Railway— Proposal to use Telford’s Bridge for Railway Purposes—Mr. Stephenson designs an independent Bridge—The Britannia Rock—Proposal for a Bridge of two Arches—Opposition in Parliament—First Idea of the Tubular Construction—Its Novelty—Preliminary Experiments: Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. Hodgkinson—Important Principles derived from the Experiments—Mr. Stephenson’s Report—Commencement of the Ma¬sonry—Further experimental Inquiries—Means of placing the Tubes in their Positions—Contracts for the Tubes—Their Manufacture—Floating and Raising—Description of the Bridge—Principle of Continuity— Tubes—Mr. Stephenson’s Explanations of Peculiarities in their Construction—Towers and Abutments—Architectural Design—Cost—The Conway Bridge.


CHAPTER IV. (VOLUME 2)

THE HIGH LEVEL BRIDGE AT NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE.

Object of the Bridge—Ravine of the Tyne—Ancient Bridge at a Low Level—Inconveniences of the Passage—Early Proposals for a High Level Bridge—Mr. Green’s Scheme—High Level Bridge Company—Mr. Stephenson appointed Engineer—Newcastle and Darlington Railway—Proposal for the Double Roadway—Parliamentary Proceedings—Description of the Bridge—The Piers—The Iron Superstructure—Mr. Stephenson’s Motives for the Adoption of the Bowstring Girder—Letting of the Contract—Driving the Piles—Manufacture of the Ironwork—Erection— Completion.


CHAPTER V. (VOLUME 2)

AFFAIRS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHESTER AND HOLYHEAD RAILWAY. (Age. 42-47.)

Newcastle and Berwick Line—The High Level Bridge—Trent Valley Line—Leeds and Bradford Line—Italian Trip in 1846—Norwegian Trip in 1846—Norwegian Liberality—Irish Famine—Lord George Bentinck’s Proposal to subsidise Irish Railway Companies—Robert Stephenson, George Hudson, and Mr. Laing consulted—Lord George Bentinck’s Speech in the House of Commons—Election to the Council and Vice-Presidency of the Institute of Civil Engineers—Narrow Escape on the Chester and Holyhead Railway—Death of George Stephenson—Relations between Father and Son—Elected Fellow of Royal Society—Grand Banquet at Newcastle—Summary of his Railways—High Level Bridge opened by the Queen—Robert Stephenson declines the Honour of Knighthood—‘Nene Valley Drainage and Navigation Improvement Commissioners ’—Appointed Engineer with Sir John Rennie to the ‘ Norfolk Estuary Company ’—Consulted by the Town Council of Liverpool as to the best Means of supplying Liverpool with Water—Grand Central Station at Newcastle opened by the Queen—Royal Border Bridge opened by the Queen—Statistics relating to Royal Border Viaduct—Robert Stephenson desirous of Rest.


CHAPTER VI. (VOLUME 2)

ROBERT STEPHENSON AS POLITICIAN AND MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. (Age 44-46)

George Stephenson’s Political Opinions and Sympathies—Robert Stephenson’s Toryism—‘ZittZeLord John!’—Opinions on Popular Education— Robert Stephenson M.P. for Whitby in Yorkshire—‘One of the Impenetrables’—Speech in the House of Commons on the proposed Site for the Great Exhibition of 1861—Discussion on the Army Estimates, June 10, 1856—First Speech against the Suez Canal—Second Speech against the Suez Canal—Speech on ‘The State of the Serpentine’— Popularity in the House of Commons—Letter to Admiral Moorsom on Crimean Mismanagement—Reason for declining the Invitation of the Newcastle Conservatives—Dislike of William Hayter.


CHAPTER VII. (VOLUME 2)

ROBERT STEPHENSON IN LONDON SOCIETY (Age 47-66)

The Year of the Great Exhibition—In the Park—-An Impostor imposed upon—No. 34 Gloucester Square—The Sunday Lunches ’—Works of Art—Philosophical Apparatus—Demeanour in Society—‘The Chief’ in Great George Street—Robert Stephenson and ‘ the Profession ’—Stories of Robert Stephenson’s Generosity—‘The Westminster Review’ on Robert Stephenson—Cab-drivers and their Payment—Zenith of Robert Stephenson’s Prosperity—His part in the Great Exhibition of 1861— Crack-brained Projectors—Aquatic Amusements—The ‘House without a Knocker’—Alexandria and Cairo Railway—Victoria (St. Lawrence) Viaduct—Mr. Samuel Bidder’s Reminiscences—Grand Banquet at Montreal to Robert Stephenson—His Speech on the Occasion—Connection with Mr. Alexander Ross—The St. Lawrence Viaduct completed, and inspected by Robert Stephenson’s Deputies.


CHAPTER VIII. (VOLUME 2)

THE GREAT VICTORIA BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER ST. LAWRENCE IN CANADA.

One of Mr. Stephenson’s Last Works—^Line of Lakes and River St. Lawrence—^Difficulties of the Navigation—Introduction of Railways into Canada—The Grand Trunk Railway—Engineering Problem in the Design of the Bridge—Phenomena of the Ice—Early Proposals for a Bridge—Mr. A. W. Ross—Mr. Stephenson consulted—Joint Report—Mr. Stephenson visits Canada and reports again to the Directors—Surveys —Letting of the Contract—Iron-work—Mr. G. R. Stephenson—Controversy on the fitness of the Design—Mr. Stephenson’s Views—Description of the Bridge—Site—Piers—Tubes—Erection of the Bridge—Foundations—Caissons—Shortness of the Working Season—Contrivances to save Time—Inspection of the Bridge—Opening by the Prince of Wales— Difficulties overcome.


CHAPTER IX. (VOLUME 2)

CONCLUDING YEARS AT HOME AND ABROAD. (Age 47-55)

Athenaeum Club—Geographical Society—Royal Society Club—The ‘ Philosophical Club ’ of the Royal Society—Robert Stephenson, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers—Receives the honorary D.C.L. of Oxford—The Dark Side of his Prosperity—Failing Health—Admiration of Mechanical Skill—Speech at Sunderland—The Wear Bridge—Strong Affection for Newcastle—Periodic Visits to the Factory—Judicious and Considerate Conduct to humble Relations—Visits to Long Benton— Contribution to Painted Window in Long Benton Church—Visit to Wylam—Isaac Jackson, the Clockmaker—On Board the ‘Titania’— Letter to Admiral Moorsom—Hampstead Churchyard—Social Engagements—Trip to Egypt—An unfulfilled Presentiment—Letters from Alexandria and Algiers—Last Christmas Dinner of Stephenson and Brunel.— Last London Season—Last Visit to Royal Society Club—Last Will and Testament—Last Voyage to Norway—Opening of the Norwegian Railway —Banquet to Robert Stephenson at Christiania—Last Public Speech. 230


CHAPTER X. (VOLUME 2) Plus APPENDIX

LAST SCENES. (Age 56)

Homeward Course of the ‘ Titania ’ and the ‘ Mayfly ’—Robert Stephenson lands at Lowestoft—Arrives at Gloucester Square again—Temporary Rally—Death—Public Agitation—The Queen’s Expression of Sympathy —Funeral Procession—Interment in Westminster Abbey—^Attendance at the Ceremony—Sacred Service at Newcastle—Public Mourning at various important Towns—Plate on Coffin-lid—Inscription on Monumental Brass —The Article in the ‘Times’ on the Morning after the Funeral— Generous Tone of the Press—Last Honours


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