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Posts Tagged ‘Stephenson’s Rocket’

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I am bringing back a favorite of mine whose research I shared at the English Historical Fiction authors site. I previously posted there. But as this had so many notables involved, who will be profiled in the upcoming months, I thought to add it here again. I am also swamped today preparing for NaNoWriMo, and helping on the EHFA book that is to be published this coming year.

If you are so inclined to friend me at NaNoWriMo, I shall help to encourage you to victory and hope you will do so for me as well.

Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):
   George III
   George IV
   William IV
   Lady Hester Stanhope
   Princess Charlotte
   Queen Charlotte
   Princess Caroline
   Queen Adelaide
   Dorothea Jordan
   Maria Fitzherbert

There will be many other notables coming, a full and changing list can be found here on the blog as I keep adding to it. The list so far is:

Lord Byron
Shelley
Keats
Jane Austen
Lady Caroline Lamb
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
Charles James Fox
William Wilberforce
Thomas Clarkson
Hannah More
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Edmund Kean
John Phillip Kemble
John Burgoyne
Harriet Mellon
Mary Robinson
Wellington (the Military man)
Nelson
Howe
St. Vincent
Packenham
General Banastre Tarleton
Henry Paget
Stapleton Cotton
Thomas Picton
Constable
Lawrence
Cruikshank
Gillray
Rowlandson
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Marquis of Stafford  George Leveson-Gower
George Stephenson
William Huskisson
Robert Stephenson
Fanny Kemble
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Charles Arbuthnot
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
John Nash
Thomas Hope
William Beechey
Beau Brummell
William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
Henry Mildmay
Henry Pierrepoint
Scrope Davies
Hon. Frederick Gerald aka “Poodle” Byng
Edward Pellew
Thomas Cochrane
Warren Hastings

Patronesses of Almacks
   Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper
   Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh
   Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
   Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton
   Mrs. Drummond Burrell
   Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador
   Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador

The days the world’s most powerful man, the richest man and smartest man came together

While such an occurrence probably happens often enough these days, Warren Buffet in a room with Stephen Hawking and the US President, perhaps, before mass transportation, the airplane, and instant telecommunications, this event would have been hard put to have taken place.

Train%25252BDisaster%25252Bcopy-1-2012-10-29-09-44.jpg

I should hazard that in the time of the Regency era, it hardly ever happened.

While researching previous Regency era novels, I developed a fascination for the early introduction of trains and railways. In

TEOTWFrontJpeg-2012-10-29-09-44.jpg

The End of the World which is set in the exact area that rail tracks were laid down well ahead of train engines being invented, I had found that the practice was developed to haul copper from the mines to the coast. A theme shown in that book.

The research on early locomotion led me to learn of George Stephenson
Stephenson-1-2012-10-29-09-44.jpg
and his son Robert. Prior to this I had heard of Stephenson’s Rocket. Now I learned more about the locomotive engine that won the Rainhill Time Trials for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway of 1829.

The day our three greatest titled men on earth met was for the opening of that very railway, and it turned out to be fateful in many ways.

It certainly would have taken men of vision to realize that the steam engine had so many uses, including the change of how we felt about distance. That is a societal change that I would argue, though not here, altered the world. Prior to this event, the use of steam engines to power a means of transport, we were reliant on our feet, horses (camels, elephants, etc.) and shipping either by rowing, or wind powered. (Of course that last mode required water as well.)

The advent of steam which leads to the use of railways, I thought to make a centerpiece of a Regency story, but the events of September 15th, 1830 were so momentous that I had written three chapters in The Fastest Love on Earth before I realized that it was the predominant opening theme that brought my hero and heroine together.

Not only they, did I have attend this event, but in reality so too did the Prime Minister of England, Arthur Wellesley the Duke of Wellington.

Wellington-2012-10-29-09-44.jpg

One of the few investors, or owners if you will, of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the friend of the Duke and also the wealthiest man of the 19th century. The Marquess of Stafford, or George Granville Leveson-Gower was thus there with the most powerful man, Wellington.

Richest-2012-10-29-09-44.jpg

With Wellington as the world’s most powerful man, Leveson-Gower as its richest, and Stephenson whose inventions fundamentally change the world as its smartest man, none could see that what they were doing that day would bring such a great change to all mankind, or the fall of the very government that had backed it within a matter of weeks.

While the government of Great Britain understood the event to be momentous enough that the Duke travelled north to participate, the success that railway travel became was not anticipated by the company at the time.

This new form of transport proved so successful that in the first six months of 1831, over 188 thousand passengers were carried on the trains. By the end of one full year from the start, September of 1831, nearly half a million travelled on the railway.

But the first day when these great men came together is what is important. The key additional personality that would cause the fall of Wellington’s government was that of William Husskisson.

Husk-2012-10-29-09-44.jpg

On this momentous day, there were several political realities also taking place. The North was much different from London and the South and Wellington’s presence was not only to praise the achievement of the railway, but also to show that he was concerned with the people of the North.

Husskisson was the MP for Liverpool and had been a member of Wellington’s Cabinet. He had been Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. He resigned over the lack of representation for Manchester. He was thus very much involved in the political life of the North, representing one end of the railway, and concerned with the other end.

Now at this juncture, it was thought that Huskisson and Wellington would make amends and they would shake hands while the events of the day played out.

There were so many special attendees on the day of the event that several locomotives were put into service. There was also so much to do that things got started late. By 11, the trains were rolling.

Train%25252BDisaster%25252Bcopy-2012-10-29-09-44.jpg

All seemed as it should, a band had been playing and was on one of the cars pulled by the Northumbrian locomotive to continue playing. Behind the car with the band was a special car that Wellington and the most important of those invited that day were on. Not Husskisson, though.

After the late start the next thing to go wrong was a collision. The first day of rail travel on Earth (aside from some small time freight hauling) there was a crash. Two lines were being used that day and one train had a wheel jump the track. The train following, not able to fully determine that this one had stopped hit it, but no one was injured as the trains were not traveling very fast.

This was minor. A few miles later though, at Parkside, things turned the day of triumph into one mixed with tragedy.

Recognizing that people would not be used to any sort of vehicle moving so fast, speeds of 10 and fifteen miles an hour, the Liverpool and Manchester had printed flyers advising the celebrants to not disembark from their train cars and visit with the other passengers. This though was ignored.

Mr. Husskisson especially had reason to leave his car and walk to that of the Duke’s carriage attached to the Northumbrian. Should the two find common ground, it would mean much for both. Husskisson might return to the cabinet, while Wellington would get support in the North.

With an eye to reconciliation, Husskisson approached the Duke and the two shook hands. Even as this occurred, others saw that the Rocket locomotive was approaching on the parallel track. Soon the cry was taken up that an engine was coming and all needed to the clear the track. There were no steps up to the Duke’s car, as these were detachable and had not been deployed. When the oncoming train was within 80 feet all that remained on the tracks were William Holmes, The Prince Esterházy, and Husskisson.

All but Husskisson reached safety. The Member for Liverpool, and once again hopeful of joining the Wellington government was struck by the Rocket. His leg and thigh crushed. (The first day of passenger rail service, the first passenger rail accident.)

There were three doctors amidst the contingent of celebrants, one of whom was Henry Herbert Southey who most recent posting had been with the recently deceased King, George IV. One would believe the man to be a very accomplished doctor since he had been the physician to the king. Yet he and the other two, had no practical experience with such accidents.

As all became calm enough to think, George Stephenson proposed transporting the injured MP to Manchester as the trains were pointed that way. The cars behind the Northumbrian locomotive were detached, and Husskisson was placed on the band’s carriage, the band now turning to walk back to Liverpool. (As the day grew longer, a hard rain came as well and poured on these entertainers.)

The Northumbrian departed and worked up to speeds of 40 miles an hour, the fastest speed ever achieved. It did little to save Husskisson, who insisted to be carried to his friend’s home, Reverend Blackburne who lived at Eccles, 4 miles short of Manchester. While there, Husskisson became too traumatized to be operated on by the time competent surgeons arrived to assess the situation. He died sometime after nine PM.

During this time it took a while to have the trains with the celebrants continue their journey. The mobs of people began to get restless and remembered how much they disliked Wellington. They even pelted his car with vegetables.

The trains were to have made their round trip and finish by 4 PM, by 9 they still had not done so. The death of William Husskisson, and certainly the actions of the crowd that day would lead Wellington to decide that he could not return to the North for the funeral of the man. Husskisson was not only noted for his views in the North, but wanting to reconcile with Wellington. The Duke however, through his actions, or inactions after Husskisson’s death lost the support of those who were friends of the deceased lawmaker.

When Wellington decided not to attend the funeral of the man who had only moments before the cause of his demise, had shaken the Duke’s hand, it forced a breach in his support large enough that by two months from the opening of the railway and the fateful events of that day, there was a no confidence vote against him. He was replaced as Prime Minister by Earl Grey.

The beginning of modern transportation, the age of Steam, saw the end of Wellington’s government. If Husskisson had survived, or never been injured. If the trains had returned to course, or Wellington had journeyed back to the funeral. It is highly possible that the world would have known a different outcome, then what did occur.

What I see, when looking at the facts, and the ability to share them with my readers is that the truth is stranger than fiction. I don’t think it is possible to arrange for so much fodder for a good story, than what occurred on September 15th, 1830.

Research
Wolmar, Christian (2007). Fire & Steam
Garfield, Simon (2002). The Last Journey of William Huskisson

Read Full Post »

Here we are just a few days into the novel and have reached 100 pages.
This it is time for an update.

The Fastest Love on Earth comes from an observation that on the opening day of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway where the first 2 chapters of the books are concerned, George Stephenson became the Fastest Man on Earth as he rushed his train towards Manchester.
As the beginning of the novel is concerned with this and our couple meet in this sequence, we have our title of the novel now at 30,150 words
For February we are at 125000 words and this is the last week of writing for February.
I also have started to write a weekly blog for GameDecider.com It is called Which Way Should I Go

As usual, at every hundred pages, the first part of a chapter

1) Nothing can go so fast

“There is Stafford. He has as many shares as you, I have heard.” Sir Horatio Fawkes said. He was of average height and a little heavyset, filling every stitch of his clothes. So well that they were close to bursting at the seams. He shivered in the warm Liverpool air as one of the big engines rumbled.

His companion Kevin, rail thin and taller than the first by some three inches, shook his head, covered with dark hair showing just three or four streaks of gray. Kevin did not like George Granville Leveson-Gower who his friend had pointed out. Perhaps the richest man in the world. He surely thought that clearing his estates of the poor was just, but Kevin could not see it. The man had wanted the poor off of his estates and would make the land better for his pocket later. Ten years ago and he had become even more wealthy because he had a compliant parliament support him.

“He had as many shares as I had, a thousand at the inception. I have more now for he has turned his interest to other things. It allowed me to acquire more, I am told by my man of business. Ah, the Prime Minister is come. You can hear the band begin. That Wellington is here is Stafford’s doing, or Lady Stafford. They are great friends and Arthur would not listen to me. He thought this event momentous for the entire nation and schedules were changed and set so this spectacle could be created.”

Horatio laughed, “They may be great friends but you are on a first name basis with him.”

“The war. Fifteen years already, but that bond will not depart.”

“You were young then, though.” Horatio said reminding Kevin of that time.

“Four years, damn dumbest thing to abuse my power so and go to war. Father was dead two years and mother thought she would scare me from doing my duty. I was sixteen and what did I know. Cannon shot and bullets changed my mind very quickly.” Kevin shivered at the memory.

“If I had known you then I would have told you that you were being foolish. Too many died during that war, or lost a limb.” Kevin shivered again at Horatio’s statement. Too well was he aware of that. By eighteen he was a Captain because of those who had been shot or died, and because he could well afford it. He was offered higher rank but knew that he did not have the skills or qualities to anything higher. It was one reason he had Wellington’s respect. The other that he was a peer. The seventh earl of Dorchester.

And rich. Wellington was become a politician and he knew that Stafford’s money as well as his own would see the growth of the nation. And he new king was all for supporting that. William IV and Kevin got along well enough too. Kevin would have to say that he met a few of the FitzClarence sons and enjoyed their company if briefly. The sons lived much more quietly than their father had. Much more frugally even though their father was now king.

One though could only spend as much money as Parliament allowed. Terrible, but then everyone should live within their means. That tenet would always hold true and made for good living. Kevin had a young brother who had trouble with that concept even on two thousand a year. Bartholomew who was an hour later than Kevin had asked him to come, but then it might have been wise to be late. Things were still not ready and with just a few minutes until they were supposed to start he was not sure that they would be on time. Kevin thought the idea of a pass in review when they reached Parkside and take on water and coal foolishness. They should show the trains here and look at them, then get aboard the one and see how fast they could travel. 17 miles each and every hour. How could one imagine such speed.

Surely a horse could go twice as fast for a few hundred yards. A mile perhaps, but then it would tire. The metal beast never did. It was a good investment. And he did not increase the size of his holding to do better than Stafford, but to do well for himself and the support he might need for Barthlomew and his sisters. There were two, and one well married. The youngest though, a child of their mother’s second marriage, was due to come out in society and he was determined that Kate would have a good showing of it. Margaret had married Viscount Conway and had three children. The son would be the heir after Bartholomew of his Earldom also. The boy was a lad of seven. Michael Parker Lennox.

“Yes, I am sure you would have talked me from my folly, but it made a man of me. At least man enough that I am proud most days of my actions. Today should be well, for this is an achievement despite all the hullabaloo. I may sell my shares for now that this is launched we must do so in other parts of the country. We must one day link all of the nation by rail and then other parts of the world with this advanced transportation. I think it will change all the world.”

“Here, here.” Another man came forward then, Older, about fifty and with one younger than he and looking like him also. “Sorry but I heard you as I was passing Lord Dorchester. I am inspired when you say such things.”

Kevin laughed, “You are inspired at everything Mister Stephenson. Sir Horatio Fawkes, Mister Stephenson and his son Robert.”

“A pleasure sure. A friend of our greatest patron and shareholder is always a pleasure to meet.” Stephenson said.

“Mine, sir. The pleasure is mine. I see what you have done her astonishing. I look forward to the trip. You are to steer one of these leviathans?”

Kevin chuckled. Horatio was a novice about such things. “No, they steer themselves. The rails you see, Sir Horatio. But I will be driving Northumbrian and Robert here will drive the Rocket, which won me my position as to supply the Liverpool and Manchester with these fine locomotives.”

“Very good.” Horatio said, not really interested but Stephenson probably could not tell that.

“If you will excuse me, not much time before we leave. You may want to board a train. You can see that the Duke is about to,” Stepehenson said and that was surely the signal for the rest of them to as well.

Kevin said a few choice words and the Stephensons moved on. “One day it will not be we lords who rule the earth but those men, the ones who know how to build such things.” Kevin said to Horatio when the two had moved on.

The noise from the crowd was increasing, so many people had come and the other shareholders had invited so many guests to the event that there had been no rooms available in all of Liverpool last night. It was a good thing that this venture had forced Kevin to purchase a small townhouse in the prior years both here, and one in Manchester. He did not like either of them but for their function. He also had arranged some local staff to augment three servants that travelled north to manage the houses when he visited them. Today they would travel to and from Crown Street station and so he just stayed in Liverpool for the entire affair. He and the other directors and major shareholders were to dine with Wellington of course and Kevin was conscious that many saw it as an honor. He had been doing so often for nearly twenty years.

Horatio glanced to his pocket watch and said, “Should we board?”

“Another ten minutes. We are well positioned to climb into a carriage and should like to give my ne’er do well brother every possible chance to get here. There goes William Huskisson. I think he is the smartest man I know. He can lecture you about the pound and prove to you how we can pay the debt off or how to manage the Corn Laws.” Kevin observed. Huskisson represented Liverpool the destination that day. He was also good friends with Stafford. Not that Kevin thought of Stafford as an enemy or even an adversary, just as man who had treated his people terribly and that was something that had become unforgivable.

The clock was ticking and now functionaries were on the landing asking all to take their places in the carriages. “Here comes Bartholomew and with a lady and children. You did not say anything about that. Wait until Hampton hear’s about this, he will be surprised.” Baron Franklin Hampton was Sir Horatio and his mutual friend and could not be bothered to have ventured north.

Read Full Post »

Here we are just a few days into the novel and have reached 100 pages.
This it is time for an update.

The Fastest Love on Earth comes from an observation that on the opening day of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway where the first 2 chapters of the books are concerned, George Stephenson became the Fastest Man on Earth as he rushed his train towards Manchester.
As the beginning of the novel is concerned with this and our couple meet in this sequence, we have our title of the novel now at 30,150 words
For February we are at 125000 words and this is the last week of writing for February.
I also have started to write a weekly blog for GameDecider.com It is called Which Way Should I Go

As usual, at every hundred pages, the first part of a chapter

1) Nothing can go so fast

“There is Stafford. He has as many shares as you, I have heard.” Sir Horatio Fawkes said. He was of average height and a little heavyset, filling every stitch of his clothes. So well that they were close to bursting at the seams. He shivered in the warm Liverpool air as one of the big engines rumbled.

His companion Kevin, rail thin and taller than the first by some three inches, shook his head, covered with dark hair showing just three or four streaks of gray. Kevin did not like George Granville Leveson-Gower who his friend had pointed out. Perhaps the richest man in the world. He surely thought that clearing his estates of the poor was just, but Kevin could not see it. The man had wanted the poor off of his estates and would make the land better for his pocket later. Ten years ago and he had become even more wealthy because he had a compliant parliament support him.

“He had as many shares as I had, a thousand at the inception. I have more now for he has turned his interest to other things. It allowed me to acquire more, I am told by my man of business. Ah, the Prime Minister is come. You can hear the band begin. That Wellington is here is Stafford’s doing, or Lady Stafford. They are great friends and Arthur would not listen to me. He thought this event momentous for the entire nation and schedules were changed and set so this spectacle could be created.”

Horatio laughed, “They may be great friends but you are on a first name basis with him.”

“The war. Fifteen years already, but that bond will not depart.”

“You were young then, though.” Horatio said reminding Kevin of that time.

“Four years, damn dumbest thing to abuse my power so and go to war. Father was dead two years and mother thought she would scare me from doing my duty. I was sixteen and what did I know. Cannon shot and bullets changed my mind very quickly.” Kevin shivered at the memory.

“If I had known you then I would have told you that you were being foolish. Too many died during that war, or lost a limb.” Kevin shivered again at Horatio’s statement. Too well was he aware of that. By eighteen he was a Captain because of those who had been shot or died, and because he could well afford it. He was offered higher rank but knew that he did not have the skills or qualities to anything higher. It was one reason he had Wellington’s respect. The other that he was a peer. The seventh earl of Dorchester.

And rich. Wellington was become a politician and he knew that Stafford’s money as well as his own would see the growth of the nation. And he new king was all for supporting that. William IV and Kevin got along well enough too. Kevin would have to say that he met a few of the FitzClarence sons and enjoyed their company if briefly. The sons lived much more quietly than their father had. Much more frugally even though their father was now king.

One though could only spend as much money as Parliament allowed. Terrible, but then everyone should live within their means. That tenet would always hold true and made for good living. Kevin had a young brother who had trouble with that concept even on two thousand a year. Bartholomew who was an hour later than Kevin had asked him to come, but then it might have been wise to be late. Things were still not ready and with just a few minutes until they were supposed to start he was not sure that they would be on time. Kevin thought the idea of a pass in review when they reached Parkside and take on water and coal foolishness. They should show the trains here and look at them, then get aboard the one and see how fast they could travel. 17 miles each and every hour. How could one imagine such speed.

Surely a horse could go twice as fast for a few hundred yards. A mile perhaps, but then it would tire. The metal beast never did. It was a good investment. And he did not increase the size of his holding to do better than Stafford, but to do well for himself and the support he might need for Barthlomew and his sisters. There were two, and one well married. The youngest though, a child of their mother’s second marriage, was due to come out in society and he was determined that Kate would have a good showing of it. Margaret had married Viscount Conway and had three children. The son would be the heir after Bartholomew of his Earldom also. The boy was a lad of seven. Michael Parker Lennox.

“Yes, I am sure you would have talked me from my folly, but it made a man of me. At least man enough that I am proud most days of my actions. Today should be well, for this is an achievement despite all the hullabaloo. I may sell my shares for now that this is launched we must do so in other parts of the country. We must one day link all of the nation by rail and then other parts of the world with this advanced transportation. I think it will change all the world.”

“Here, here.” Another man came forward then, Older, about fifty and with one younger than he and looking like him also. “Sorry but I heard you as I was passing Lord Dorchester. I am inspired when you say such things.”

Kevin laughed, “You are inspired at everything Mister Stephenson. Sir Horatio Fawkes, Mister Stephenson and his son Robert.”

“A pleasure sure. A friend of our greatest patron and shareholder is always a pleasure to meet.” Stephenson said.

“Mine, sir. The pleasure is mine. I see what you have done her astonishing. I look forward to the trip. You are to steer one of these leviathans?”

Kevin chuckled. Horatio was a novice about such things. “No, they steer themselves. The rails you see, Sir Horatio. But I will be driving Northumbrian and Robert here will drive the Rocket, which won me my position as to supply the Liverpool and Manchester with these fine locomotives.”

“Very good.” Horatio said, not really interested but Stephenson probably could not tell that.

“If you will excuse me, not much time before we leave. You may want to board a train. You can see that the Duke is about to,” Stepehenson said and that was surely the signal for the rest of them to as well.

Kevin said a few choice words and the Stephensons moved on. “One day it will not be we lords who rule the earth but those men, the ones who know how to build such things.” Kevin said to Horatio when the two had moved on.

The noise from the crowd was increasing, so many people had come and the other shareholders had invited so many guests to the event that there had been no rooms available in all of Liverpool last night. It was a good thing that this venture had forced Kevin to purchase a small townhouse in the prior years both here, and one in Manchester. He did not like either of them but for their function. He also had arranged some local staff to augment three servants that travelled north to manage the houses when he visited them. Today they would travel to and from Crown Street station and so he just stayed in Liverpool for the entire affair. He and the other directors and major shareholders were to dine with Wellington of course and Kevin was conscious that many saw it as an honor. He had been doing so often for nearly twenty years.

Horatio glanced to his pocket watch and said, “Should we board?”

“Another ten minutes. We are well positioned to climb into a carriage and should like to give my ne’er do well brother every possible chance to get here. There goes William Huskisson. I think he is the smartest man I know. He can lecture you about the pound and prove to you how we can pay the debt off or how to manage the Corn Laws.” Kevin observed. Huskisson represented Liverpool the destination that day. He was also good friends with Stafford. Not that Kevin thought of Stafford as an enemy or even an adversary, just as man who had treated his people terribly and that was something that had become unforgivable.

The clock was ticking and now functionaries were on the landing asking all to take their places in the carriages. “Here comes Bartholomew and with a lady and children. You did not say anything about that. Wait until Hampton hear’s about this, he will be surprised.” Baron Franklin Hampton was Sir Horatio and his mutual friend and could not be bothered to have ventured north.

Read Full Post »