My digital painting using classics in DAP of George Stephenson’s Cottage at Willington Quay. The out of copyright, black & white, image used is from “The life of George Stephenson & his son Robert” by Samuel Smiles early 1800s from the Gutenberg project.
George Stephenson was to become one of our greatest railway engineers but started his life as a poorman’s son and his first job was watching the cows for a neighbour.
His first step towards an engineering career was when he was taken on as assistant to his father who was a fireman at a colliery steam engine. At the age of 21 he was in charge of the winding engine at Willington, could afford to marry and he and his future wife Fanny, bought the cottage at Willington Quay.
George and Fanny moved to the cottage immediately after their wedding. They went in a style which was quite common before travelling by railway had been invented. Two farm-horses, borrowed from a neighbouring farmer, were each provided with a saddle and a pillion, and George having mounted one, his wife seated herself behind him, holding on by her arms round his waist. The brideman and bridesmaid in like manner mounted the other horse, and in this way the wedding party rode across the country, passing through the old streets of Newcastle, and then by Wallsend to Willington Quay—a long ride of about fifteen miles.