Saturday, 22 March 2014

Northern Echo Article about the Robert Stephenson to Timothy Hackworth of 17th March 1829

This article in the Northern Echo c 1936? (the latest date on the back of the cutting is 1935) was
sent by Hackworth relatives living in Thornaby on Tees.

In particular Mrs Winifred Parsons and her daughter Joan Hackworth Parsons (later known as Joan Hackworth Weir). They were living at 62, Mansfield Avenue, Thornaby. Also from Mrs Alderslade of 4, Northumberland Road. The two women were the granddaughters of John Wesley Hackworth, who was the eldest son of  Timothy Hackworth. Mrs parsons was the wife of harry parsons, an engineer at head Wrightson.


Timothy Hackworth, 'The father of locomotives,' to whom the people of Shildon put up a memorial at the time of the Jubilee of railways in 1925, has descendants in Thornaby. They are  Mrs Winifred Parsons and her daughter Joan Hackworth Parsons of 62, Mansfield Avenue, Thornaby Mrs Alderslade of 4, Northumberland Road. The two women were the granddaughters of John Wesley Hackworth, who was the eldest son of  Timothy Hackworth. Mrs Parsons, who is the wife of Harry Parsons, an engineer at Head Wrightson and Co. works at Thornaby, has a number of  Hackworth's relics. including the original letter from Robert Stephenson to him dated 17th March 1829, in which he asked questions on technical matters regarding the two systems of steam machinery then employed on railways.

When the first public railway, the Stockton and Darlington, was opened in 1825, 20 miles of it were worked by locomotives and horses. The horses proved much more economical during the first 18 months and the directors determined to suspend the locomotives. Before confirming this they asked Timothy Hackworth's opinion. He told them that he could build an engine capable of  producing cheaper results than animal power. He was given authority to do so and it was then stated that this would be "the last locomotive experiment".

This locomotive, the Royal George was built at New Shildon by Timothy Hackworth and was completed in september, 1827. In its first year it hauled 22,442 tons of goods over the 20 miles of line at a cost of £466, whereas a corresponding amount of tonnage drawn by horse had cost £908.


"The steam blast, Timothy Hackworth's invention, was first used in this engine." Mrs Parsons told a Northern Echo reporter. "It made possible the present world's railway system and I and my daughter, my sister, Mrs Alderslade, and other descendants were present when the memorial to Timothy Hackworth at Shildon was unveiled by the Rt. Hon T R Ferens on 5th December 1925."

The reporter was shown the etched plate from which Timothy Hackworth had printed his visiting cards and hand-painted miniature of  his wife.

"There was a miniature of of himself" added Mrs parsons, "but another member of the family has it.." There was of course no photographs in those days but i have copies of etchings of my great grandfather"

Other railway relics she has are a bust of first secretary of the Stockton and darlington railway and a number of medallions and a patent for inventions granted to John Wesley Hackworth, showing that Timothy Hackworth's mechanical genius descended to his son.

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