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The Stephensons


Image of three blue heads in profile on grey background

Arranged by IET Scotland South East Local Network

Date and Time

18 March 2014 - 19:00-20:30


Edinburgh, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)


Organised by the Scotland South East local network.

About this event

This talk examines the lives of George and Robert Stephenson and, whilst providing an outline of their achievements it also takes a look at the relationship between father and son and how they worked together to establish the basis for steam locomotive design and the blueprint for what was to become the most advanced railway system of the time.

The lecture covers George’s early life and struggles, the safety lamp controversy, the highs and lows of building the Stockton and Darlington Railway the Manchester and Liverpool Railway; the triumph of the Rainhill Trials and his life as a country gentleman. Intertwined is the life of his son Robert, who George ensured got the education he never had. Robert was Managing Director of the world’s first locomotive works that manufactured the famous Rocket, built the World’s second passenger carrying railway (Canterbury and Whitstable), and went on to become the most famous engineer of his time.


Paul Kingston is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, having retired from full-time teaching and research in 2008. Formerly Assistant Director of the University’s Institute of Offshore Engineering, he has had over 40 years experience studying the impact of industrial developments on the marine environment.

His research interests centre on the structure and dynamics of seabed communities in relation to industrial and domestic marine developments and he is now an acknowledged expert in evaluating the impact of coastal and offshore developments on the benthic environment. An area of special expertise is bridging the gap between science and technology in the interpretation of marine survey data related to biological community structure, chemical contamination, and other environmental disturbance. He has also made important contributions to the development of sampling and monitoring technology and methodologies associated with surveys in the marine environment.

He has been involved in many major developments of public interest. He has had extensive experience in assessing the impact of the oil industry on the marine environment and has worked on most major North Sea offshore petroleum developments, the Channel Tunnel construction and many high profile oil spills, including the Amoco Cadiz, Exxon Valdez and the Braer.

He has also had a life-long passion for steam locomotives.

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