No.2 in an Occasional Series on Early Railways
I’m posting this photo of The Killingworth Engine sculpture as part of my occasional series on early railways. I’m tagging it for Silly Saturday (thanks as always to admirer for hosting this fun challenge) – why? Because it only has one proper side: as you can see in the extra, it’s back is somewhat deficient.
It’s not easy to photograph, in view of the host of confusing objects behind it. So in true blipper style, this photo was taken with me prostrate on the ground (how silly is that? - I was worried that someone might come to check that I was OK!) and is actually a merged panorama of 3 separate images, with lots of subsequent work in Photoshop to remove some of the chaotic backdrop.
The galvanised steel sculpture was created in 1971 by Charles Sansbury and initially hung above the road bridge in the shopping centre of Killingworth New Town. (Its absence of a proper back presumably results from the fact that in this position is was placed up against a dark wall and therefore wasn’t visible from behind.) In the 1980s it was taken into storage during the regeneration of the town centre; it was re-displayed in its current position, on the roundabout just south of the town centre, in 2014 to mark the bicentenary of George Stephenson.
The design of the engine was not based on any particular locomotive, rather being a general artistic response to Stephenson’s early locomotives.
Charles Sansbury (1916-1989) hailed from Watford but studied Fine Art at King’s College, Durham and then settled in Allendale, Northumberland where he had a large workshop. Some of his many commissions were for the Civic Centre Building in Newcastle.
George Stephenson didn't invent the steam locomotive, but he made great improvements to the earlier designs of Trevithick and Blenkinsop, his innovations being critical to the creation of efficient “travelling engines”. His first “travelling engine” was Blucher, although his most famous engine is “The Rocket”, currently on loan from the London Science Museum to the Discovery Museum in Newcastle as part of the Great North Exhibition. (Fellow Northeast blipper Dollydoug posted a photo of it as an extra in her journal on 4th July...I'm hoping I'll find time soon to go and see it there myself - maybe on next Saturday's Newcastle blipmeet? - don't forget about that, blipmates!)