Robert Stephenson biography

Robert Stephenson

Civil engineer, Engineer

1803 – 1859


Who was Robert Stephenson?

Robert Stephenson FRS was an early railway engineer. The only son of George Stephenson, the "Father of Railways", he built on the achievements of his father. Robert has been called the greatest engineer of the 19th century.

Robert was born in Willington Quay, Northumberland, to George and Frances née Henderson, before they moved to Killingworth, where Robert was taught at the local village school. Robert attended the middle-class Percy Street Academy in Newcastle and at the age of fifteen was apprenticed to the mining engineer Nicholas Wood. He left before he had completed his three years to help his father survey the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Robert spent six months at Edinburgh University before working for three years as a mining engineer in Colombia. When he returned his father was building the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and Robert developed the steam locomotive Rocket that won the Rainhill Trials in 1829. He was appointed chief engineer of the London and Birmingham Railway in 1833 with a salary of £1,500 per annum. By 1850 Robert had been involved in third of the country's railway system.


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Oct 16, 1803
Willington Quay
  • United Kingdom
  • University of Edinburgh
    (1820 - )
  • Engineer, Liverpool and Manchester Railway
    (1827 - )
  • Chief engineer, Grand Trunk Railway
    (1852 - )
Lived in
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
Oct 12, 1859
Resting place
Westminster Abbey

on July 23, 2013

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