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Statue of George Stephenson (2005)
Chesterfield Station, Crow Lane, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, UK
Statue of George Stephenson (2005)
associated engineer
George Stephenson
date  2004 - unveiled 28th October 2005
era  Modern  |  category  Monument to Engineer  |  reference  SK386714
photo  © Christine Matthews and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
A life size bronze statue of George Stephenson stands outside Chesterfield Station, not far from Tapton House where he lived in the latter part of his life. It is one of many depictions of the man often referred to as 'father' of the railways. The sculpture’s unveiling marked the completion of recent refurbishment works at Chesterfield Station.
George Stephenson (1781-1848) completed his first locomotive in 1814, and went on to demonstrate the viability of steam powered rail transport. Railways, locomotives and their construction occupied the greater part of his working life and he may also be credited with establishing the railway standard gauge of 1.435m (4ft 8.5in).
During his last decade, he was involved in the construction of the North Midland Railway between Derby and Leeds, and lived at Tapton House (SK392721). The Grade II* listed Georgian building (constructed 1782-94) is now part of Chesterfield College and lies about 1km to the north east of the station. Stephenson himself is not far away — his tomb is inside Holy Trinity Church (SK382716), some 700m north west of the station.
In 2004, the bronze of Stephenson was commissioned from leading Suffolk portrait sculptor Stephen Hicklin, as part of Chesterfield’s Percent for Art initiative, in which developers of schemes costing more than £1m gave one percent of the project’s cost to provide a piece of art. In this case, the funding came from a partnership of Chesterfield Borough Council, Chesterfield Civic Society, Derbyshire County Council, Midland Mainline, Taylor Woodrow and Network Rail.
The monument depicts a tail-coated Stephenson balancing on one side of a tilted wheel, steadied by a large divider calliper (or measuring compass) in his right hand. The wheel includes two inscriptions — on the central boss is "VISION & INVENTION & DISCOVERY" and on the outer rim, "GEORGE STEPHENSON 1781-1848. LOCOMOTION, THE CONQUEST OVER SPACE AND TIME". In Stephenson's upraised left hand is a model of the locomotive Locomotion No.1, constructed for the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1824-5.
At noon on Friday 28th October 2005, the bronze was unveiled in its place in front of the station entrance. The ceremony was performed by Chesterfield Borough Council Mayor Keith Falconer, Derbyshire County Council Chair Walter Burrows and Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Chesterfield Paul Holmes. They were accompanied by a full size working replica of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway’s famous Rocket locomotive from the National Railway Museum in York.
The unveiling signified the completion of a scheme of station improvements for Chesterfield, costing around £2. Works included refurbished waiting facilities, new lifts, upgraded concourse and station forecourt amenities and a new ticket office.
In October 2011, a blue plaque commemorating Stephenson was unveiled at Chesterfield Station by Derbyshire County Council.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
"George Stephenson: The Remarkable Life of the Founder of the Railways" by Hunter Davies, revised edition, Sutton Publishing Limited, Stroud, 2004
http://derbyshireblueplaques.co.uk
www.abfineart.com/stephen-hicklin
www.chesterfieldtoday.co.uk
www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk
www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk
Location

Statue of George Stephenson (2005)