Thomas Hackworth (1797–1877) has been overlooked by history. His fortune lay in that he was party to some of the most famous early railway experiments. He was there at the birth of Puffing Billy and Wylam Dilly, and built some of the first locomotives used on the Stockton and Darlington Railway. His acumen and engineering expertise were major contributors to the growth of both Shildon and Stockton-on-Tees, where he established one of the world’s leading marine engineering companies. Yet Thomas’s life was eclipsed by the fame and genius of older brother Timothy, who once referred to him as ‘Poor Tom’ when he was made the scapegoat for a series of problems at Shildon.
Tom subsequently lost both job and home, was exploited by his business partner, and saw his young family devastated by cholera. In spite of this, he built a hundred steam locomotives, operated some of the earliest railways, and produced engines that powered the first steam ships, helping to shape the North East and British engineering as we know it today. It is time for his story to be told.
Thomas Hackworth: Locomotive Engineer is not only a fascinating exploration of the man and the engineer—it is also a highly researched chronicle of arguably the most turbulent chapter in Britain’s mechanical, industrial, and sociological history.
234 x 156 mm
15 June 2015
57 black-and-white illustrations
Although the son and grandson of north-east railway men George Smith’s working life was spent in the chemical industry and local government. He began writing about railways twenty years ago and has three previously published railway books to date along with numerous articles which have appeared in various national railway magazines. Always a railway enthusiast, his particular interest in the pioneering Victorian years was kindled during completion of a Post-graduate Certificate in Railway Studies at York. He is married with three grown up children and lives in Worcestershire.