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The Locomotive Age 1800-1828

Early colliery railways of the 1700s were using horse-drawn wagons to haul coal to the Tyne and Wear. Later, stationary engines hauled coal along inclined railways, but locomotives, effectively steam engines on wheels, were the next stage of development. Locom otives were developed at collieries like Wylam, Killingworth and Hetton by George Stephenson and William Hedley and these developments eventually led to the creation of The Stockton and Darlington Railway of 1825.

1801 - TWENTY FIVE PEOPLE LIVE IN MIDDLESBROUGH (Middlesbrough)

Middlesbrough, a farmstead of four houses, has a population of only 25. Stockton's population is 3,700, Hartlepool 993, Darlington 4,700 and Yarm 1,300. Middlesbrough will grow as a result of railway developments.

1805 - TREVITHICK AND STEPHENSON (Cornwall)

Last year, Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick invented a locomotive for use on rails. It follows his development of a road locomotive in 1801. Meanwhile George Stephenson becomes an employee at Killingworth Colliery.

1810 - STOCKTON AND DARLINGTON RAILWAY IDEA (Stockton-on-Tees)

In a meeting at Stockton Town Hall, Leonard Raisbeck, Recorder of Stockton, suggests a railway as an alternative to a canal for moving south Durham coal to Stockton.

1810 - TEES SHORT CUT (Stockton-on-Tees)

It takes as long for ships to travel from the Tees estuary to London as it does from the estuary to Stockton. The Tees Cut, a short canal, reduces this journey time

May 25 1812 - Felling Colliery Disaster (Felling)

92 men and boys in a colliery explosion at Felling near Gateshead. Concerted efforts begin to improve mine safety and develop a safety lamp. The effrots are headed by Dr Clanny of the Sunderland Society and the Reverend John Hodgson of Heworth at whose church the men and boys were buried.

Dec 24 1813 - ANOTHER DISASTER AT FELLING

Nine men, 13 boys and 12 horses died following another explosion at Felling colliery.

1813 - PUFFING BILLY (Wylam-on-Tyne)

The Puffing Billy and Wylam Dilly locomotives are developed by William Hedley at Wylam colliery

1814 - STEPHENSON'S FIRST LOCOMOTIVE (Killingworth)

George Stephenson builds his first locomotive, 'the Blucher', at Killingworth Colliery.

1815 - SAFETY LAMP INVENTED (Britain)

A miners safety lamp is invented by Humphry Davy and George Stephenson. It should reduce the number of colliery gas explosions.

1815 - POET'S WEDDING (Seaham)

Lord Byron marries at Seaham Hall.

March 20, 1815 - KEELMEN RIOT (Sunderland)

Keelmen at Sunderland riot and pull down a small railway bridge leading to a coal staith on the Wear.

October 18, 1816 - CORN RIOT (Sunderland)

Corn riots occur at Sunderland. There were also riots here in 1807.

1816 - HARTLEPOOL IN DECLINE (Hartlepool)

Sharp's History of Hartlepool describes the little fishing community as "a place that had seen better days now facing a continuing decline".

1818 - STANHOPE RIOT (Stanhope)

A riot breaks out between lead miners and the Bishop of Durham's men over Weardale gaming rights.

1820 February 12, - RAILWAY MEETING AT YARM (Yarm)

In 1818, George Overton surveyed the possible route of a horse tramway through south Durham to the Tees. The idea develops into the Stockton and Darlington Railway. A meeting held at Yarm decides in favour of a railway.

1820 - EDENS SELL PRESTON (Yarm)

The Eden family of Windlestone Hall, County Durham, sells Preston-on-Tees to David Burton Fowler of Yarm.

1820 - PLANS FOR SEAHAM PORT (County Durham)

Engineer William Chapman prepares a plan for developing a port (Seaham harbour) on the Durham coast for Lord Londonderry. The following year Londonderry buys the Seaham Estate.

1821 - RAILWAY GETS ROYAL ASSENT (London)

The Stockton and Darlington Railway gains Royal assent.

1822 - HETTON RAILWAY COMPLETE (Hetton)

George Stephenson's Hetton Colliery railway is complete - it is the largest in the world and is worked by locomotives. It will serve as a model for the future Stockton and Darlington Railway. Hetton Staithes are built on the River Wear for loading coal into ships.

May 23, 1822 - FIRST SECTION OF RAILWAY (Stockton)

George Stephenson is appointed the engineer for the Stockton and Darlington Railway project. The first section of rail is laid near St John's Well at Stockton by Thomas Meynell of Yarm.

February 2, 1823 - SNOW BLOCKS MAIL (North-East)

Snow blocks roads and covers the surrounding countryside, preventing mail from reaching or leaving Durham or Newcastle for a week. Mail reaches Darlington but north-bound coaches find it impossible to proceed beyond Rushyford.

1823 - ROBERT STEPHENSON'S WORKS (Newcastle)

George Stephenson's son, Robert, establishes an engineering works in Newcastle.

1823 - COAL PORT FOR HARTLEPOOL (Hartlepool)

Plans are discussed to bring waggonways to Hartlepool from local collieries in south east Durham to develop Hartlepool as a coal port. It is little more than a fishing community.

1825 August 3, - SEAMEN RIOT (Sunderland)

A riot breaks out among seamen in Sunderland in a dispute with coal owners. The Newcastle Militia open fire, killing four men.

September 27, 1825 - RAILWAY HISTORY MADE (Darlington)

The opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world's first public railway. A crowd of 40,000 sees the procession of waggons hauled by the famous Locomotion Number One from Shildon to Stockton via Darlington. Over 300 passengers travel on the train increasing to 600 as the journey progresses. Most are in Chaldron waggons fitted with seats, but local dignitaries travel in a specially made carriage called 'The Experiment'. The railway is the most significant event in the history of Teesside and will bring increasing industrial growth to the area and spur the birth of Middlesbrough.

1826 - BOWES RAILWAY (Gateshead)

The Bowes Colliery Railway is built near Gateshead.

1827 - STOCKTON MAN INVENTS FRICTION MATCH (Stockton-on-Tees)

John Walker of Stockton invents the friction match. On April 17, the first ever friction matches go on sale in Stockton.

1828 - PORT CLARENCE RAILWAY GIVEN GO-AHEAD (Stockton-on-Tees)

The Clarence Railway gets permission to build a railway linking Port Clarence to Stockton and from there to Shildon and collieries further north. Port Clarence and the Clarence Railway are named after the Duke of Clarence who later becomes King William IV.

1829 - ROCKET WINS TRIAL (Rainhill, Lancashire)

George Stephenson's Rocket is victorious at the Rainhill locomotive trials. A locomotive called Sans Pareil built by Timothy Hackworth, the Shildon-based Stockton and Darlington Railway engineer, is also entered for the trial but unfortunately breaks down. Hackworth will later become a successful locomotive builder in his own right

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