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In our first History lesson, we focused on learning more about a significant person from the past - George Stephenson! The children had not heard of him before, but we learnt that he was an engineer who worked on the coal mines in the 1800s. He began to create locomotives and also worked on making railway tracks. We discussed how this impacted on the local land owners and what George may have had to say in order to persuade them to allow the railway tracks to be built. We learnt that in October 1829, there was a competition to find out which locomotive was the best for pulling heavy loads over a long distance. The prize was £500, which was a lot of money in the 1800s! George Stephenson was racing the locomotive named the ‘Rocket’ which had been designed and built by his son, Robert.

There were five locomotives in the competition but the Rocket was the winner, managing to get up to a speed of 30mph. We will be studying how transport has changed over time since the introduction of these locomotives in our next lesson.