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Statue of Robert Stephenson
Euston Railway Station, London, UK
associated engineer
Robert Stephenson
date  1871
era  Victorian  |  category  Monument to Engineer  |  reference  TQ294826
A bronze statue of Robert Stephenson stands in the forecourt of Euston Station, which was constructed originally as the terminus of the London & Birmingham Railway. The railway, engineered by Stephenson, was the first main line into London. His Grade II listed statue was moved here from its original position when the station was reconstructed in the 1960s.
The London & Birmingham Railway Company was incorporated under the Act of Parliament granted royal assent on 6th May 1833. On 7th September the same year, Robert Stephenson (1803-59) was appointed the railway’s engineer in chief at an annual salary of £1,500, later increased to £2,000. The work consumed five years of his life and led him to relocate from Newcastle upon Tyne to Haverstock Hill in Hampstead, London.
Initially the railway's London terminus was located at Chalk Farm, near the Camden Roundhouse. In August 1834, Stephenson suggested extending the line south east to Euston Grove, which was authorised by a second Act passed on 3rd July 1835. His plans for London’s first intercity rail station at Euston were approved in November 1835, and it opened on 20th July 1837.
In 1849, the station was enlarged and the Great Hall constructed. It featured a marble statue of Stephenson's father, George Stephenson (1781-1848), by Edward Hodges Baily (1788-1867) — now at the National Railway Museum, York.
From 1869, Euston Station was expanded further. The commemorative statue of Stephenson was installed in 1871, presented to the London & North Western Railway (successor to the LMR) by the Institution of Civil Engineers. Originally, it was positioned between the two neo-Classical Portland stone lodges (TQ296825) still located beside Euston Road, which were constructed at the same time.
The statue is the work of Italian-born French sculptor Carlo Marochetti (1805-67). It is cast in bronze, at roughly twice life size, and has Stephenson standing on a base of polished Aberdeen pink granite. It’s interesting to note that Stephenson’s pose (left arm bent with hand on waist, right hand holding a roll of documents or plans and right leg forward) is markedly similar to that of his father in Baily’s sculpture.
The Victorian station was demolished in 1961-2, including the 22m high Doric propylaeum entrance portal — usually known as Euston Arch. However, the lodges were retained in situ. Stephenson’s bronze statue was moved to the east side of the new complex. The modern low-rise station opened in October 1968, and was disparaged for lack of architectural merit.
In May 1974, Stephenson’s statue was Grade II listed.
In April 2007, it was announced that Euston Station would be demolished and rebuilt. Perhaps as part of the prospective scheme, in about 2008 when renovations were underway, Stephenson’s statue was moved to its present position on the west side of the elevated entrance forecourt.
In March 2010, Euston was identified as the government’s preferred southern terminus for the proposed High Speed 2 rail line. In September 2011, the station demolition plans were abandoned.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
www.british-history.ac.uk
www.historicengland.org.uk
www.nrm.org.uk
www.railalbum.co.uk
www.railwaysarchive.co.uk
www.victorianweb.org
reference sources   OSHIHCEBDCE2
Location

Statue of Robert Stephenson