9th April 2020

Technology George and Robert Stephenson (repeat)

Technology George and Robert Stephenson (repeat)


Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss George Stephenson, known as the Father of Railways, and his son Robert, designer of the Rocket, whose contribution was arguably even greater.

In a programme first broadcast on 12 April 2018, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the contribution of George Stephenson (1781-1848) and his son Robert (1803-59) to the development of the railways in the 19th Century. George became known as The Father of Railways and yet arguably Robert’s contribution was even greater, with his engineering work going far beyond their collaboration.

Robert is credited with the main role in the design of their locomotives. George had worked on stationary colliery steam engines and, with Robert, developed the moving steam engine Locomotion No1 for the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. They produced the Rocket for the Rainhill Trials on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829. From there, the success of their designs and engineering led to the expansion of railways across Britain and around the world.


Dr Michael Bailey

Railway historian and editor of the most recent biography of Robert Stephenson

Julia Elton

Past President of the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering and Technology


Colin Divall

Professor Emeritus of Railway Studies at the University of York

Producer: Simon Tillotson

This programme is a repeat.


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