Birthplace of the world-famous railway engineer
Sitting beside Wylam's historic Waggonway, on the idyllic banks of the Tyne, you'll discover the humble birthplace of great railway pioneer, George Stephenson.
It's astonishing to think that this stone cottage was where a young George and his entire family lived, and they weren't the only ones there.
At the time of George’s birth in 1781, the house - known as High Street House - was divided into tenements for four families. Outside, ran the wooden waggonway along which horses pulled “chaldrons” containing coal from Wylam Colliery to the Tyne quayside.
George shared the room with his father, Robert (old Bob) a colliery fireman, his mother Mabel, and four brothers and sisters. Imagine how cramped it must have beem! Plus, with four families occupying the other rooms, there must have been little privacy.
After going on to work at a farm for a short time, he was soon working with his father at the colliery moving coal and driving the gin horses. Showing promise and ambition, George was not long in gaining the post of engineman at a pit down the Tyne near Newburn. A great career had begun.
After much progress, It was the opening of the Liverpool to Manchester Railway on 15th September 1830. And just the day before, Stephenson’s “Rocket” won the competition for the engine to pull the waggons to Rainhill (Manchester); the others did not finish the course.
Let the costumed guide tell you the story of how challenging life was for mining families - especially living in one room - like George’s, enjoy a cuppa and scone at the tea-room, then perhaps opt for a relaxing stroll along the waggonway, looking out for wildlife as you go.
Please check opening times for the birthplace and tea-room.