Engineer. Born in Willington Quay, England, the of George Stephenson, the railway engineer who built the first public rail line in the world for steam locomotives, his mother succumbed to tuberculosis when he was three, and he was raised by his father who ensured the best education possible for him, including attendance at University of Edinburgh. In 1824, he accepted a position with the Colombian Mining Association of London and served as a mining engineer in South America for three years. After his return to England, he began work in his father's factory, improving locomotives produced for the Bolton & Leigh Railway and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, including the 'Rocket,' 'Northumbrian,' and 'Lancashire Witch' locomotives. In 1833, he was appointed chief engineer of the London & Birmingham line. He directed several works, such as the cutting of the Blisworth and the Kilsby Tunnels. Laying a new railroad line from Newcastle to Berwick, and spanning the Tyne River with a six-arch iron bridge; the Royal Border bridge at Berwick-on-Tweed, also the High Level bridge at Newcastle-on-Tyne, the Britannia tubular bridge over the Menai Straits between the Isle of Anglesey and the Welsh mainland, the Conway tubular bridge, and the Victoria tubular bridge over the St. Lawrence at Montreal, which was at the time, the longest bridge in the world. In 1847 he was elected to the House of Commons as conservative MP for Whitby, but usually only involved himself with questions pertaining to his field. In 1855 he was elected president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Doctors advised him to retire in 1859 due to poor health. He did so, and set off to sail a yacht to Norway. His health so severely deteriorated, however, he was rushed home where he died days just before his 56th birthday.
Bio by: Iola