Sunday 8 July 2018

Sunday Snap – The Rocket

We were in Scotland for last week's Sunday Snap of the beast in the lake. I asked what the creature that has been sighted in the lake was commonly known as and the answer is

The Loch Ness Monster

Catching a sighting with the right answer were Susan, Lisa, Anne and Kara.

This week we are off to the National Railway Museum in York. On show is The Rocket and looking down on it is one of its designers. This example is a copy made in 1934 for the Science Museum in order to show off the interior and the firebox. The Rocket was not the first steam locomotive but incorporated so many innovative ideas that it revolutionised the power and performance of the steam locomotive.

The design of the Rocket is credited to a father and son team. The father was born in the Northumberland village of Wylam in 1781. He started his engineering career by offering to improve the efficiency of the pumping engine at one of local pits. In turn he became an expert in steam-driven machinery. Another invention of his was a miner's lamp which was far safer than the model that the miners were using. Unfortunately a similar design was presented at the same by Humphry Davy who was a respected scientist. Davy's version was brighter but the rival design was judged to be safer and less prone to underground explosions. As Davy was the established expert his version was used nationally except in the north-east. The lamp used in the pits of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the surrounding area was named after its inventor – the Geordie Lamp – and later used to describe a native of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

With his strong north-eastern accent he felt he was never taken seriously by experts and politicians based in London. This made him send his son to private school in order that he was able to obtain properly recognised qualifications and learn to speak in a more refined manner.

In 1830 the Rocket was one of the engines present at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. However, the event was marred by what has been considered as the first railway passenger death. As MP for Liverpool William Huskisson felt he ought to be there but defied doctor's advice as he had just had surgery. Two years previously he had fallen out with the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, and was keen to use the event as a chance to make up with him. As the Rocket approached Huskisson was shaking the Duke's hand. Huskisson realised there wasn't enough space between the tracks for him to stand there and tried to get into the Duke's carriage on the other track. He was famously clumsy and being post-surgery was not at his fittest or quickest. The door of the Duke's carriage swung open and threw Huskisson onto the track right into the path of the oncoming Rocket. Huskisson was badly injured and died later that day.

The statute of the father of this team was commissioned after his death in 1848. It was originally placed in the Great Hall of Euston Station. At the time it was the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway which had been engineered by his son. In 1961 the statute was removed as the original Euston Station building was due to be demolished and rebuilt as a much larger complex. It was moved to National Railway Museum and given its own purpose built ledge in 1990. This week's question is

Who were the father and son team who designed the Rocket?

We were joined last week by Susan and a last week at primary school. Lisa has been making some birthday cards all of which have a little bit of football involved. The birthday meal of choice for Anne's daughter was sushi. There's been go-karting and Nerf gun fun for Kara's boys. Soma has been for a wander in a lush woodland. In New Zealand Betty has been cloud watching. Finally, Jesh has been following the Independence Day celebrations.

If you want to join in with this week's Sunday Snap then add your link to the linky below. Any theme is allowed. It doesn't have to be published today as you have until 23.55 on Friday 13th July 2018 to join in. Grab my badge below for your blog post. Just make sure it is your photo and you hold the copyright for it.
Sunday Snap

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  1. I’m not sure who that is. Lovely photo xx

  2. It was George and Robert Stephenson. I love York! Great museum.

  3. I cannot believe I missed this when we visited York, gutted!! It was George and Robert Stephenson

  4. I remember learning about this at school, it must have been an interesting lesson for me to remember for soooo many years, haha. The answer is George and Robert Stephenson. Thanks for hositing x


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