Robert Stephenson Trust

The Robert Stephenson Trust promotes the achievements of the greatest engineer of the Nineteenth Century with the aim of making todays generation aware of his work and humanity to inspire a new generation of engineers through his achievements.

The Robert Stephenson Trust was formed in 1988, initially to help save the last substantial part of what had once been a huge spread of industrial buildings in an are called Forth Banks in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The buildings had been occupied until 1904 by "Robert Stephenson & Co." and thereafter in part by George and Jobling, motor factors, who imported Ford chassis and built bespoke bodies to order. During World War 1 George & Jobling built aircraft here. After the war they continued in the motor trade until the 1970s.

By 2003 the Trust's first aim had been completed successfully. The building at 20 South Street, since named "Stephenson's Works" was repaired and restored and until February 2009 functioned as the Trust's base. Our priority then became the provision of information about Robert Stephenson's life, his companies and achievements. As one of the very few people from north-east England to be buried in Westminster Abbey, it is only right that he should be as well known today as he was in his lifetime.

The publication of an Information Pack for young people, made possible with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is part of this endeavour. The Information Pack is being made available to schools, initially in the north-east. Another publication, Vicky Haworth's "The Making of a Prodigy", was published in 2005 and other publications will follow as resources allow.

The Trust relies mainly on volunteers, and will respond to requests for advice as best it can. Enquiries or requests for further information should be made to the Trust by email or letter.

The Aims of the Trust -

  • make Robert Stephenson famous again
  • make today's generation aware of his achievements
  • inspire a new generation of engineers through his achievements and
  • tell today's world about his genius and humanity

The Purpose of the Trust -

  • to save from dereliction the last remaining part of an historic industrial complex developed by Robert Stephenson & Co., which made many of the most important early locomotives such as Locomotion (Stockton and Darlington Railway, 1825), Rocket (for the 1829 Rainhill Trials to find the best engine for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway), the Planet class of 1830 and the Patentee of 1833;
  • to promote awareness of the achievements of Robert Stephenson, his companies, partnerships and other interests together with the development of railways, particularly in the north-east of England;
  • to establish a Centre to act as a focal point for the collection of books, documents, drawings and Stephenson memorabilia, and as a research centre into his life and times.