The Origins of Railway Enterprise: The Stockton and Darlington Railway, 1821-1863
Maurice W. KirbyISBN: 0521892805; 9780521892803;
The Stockton and Darlington Railway, the first public railway to be empowered to convey goods and passengers by steam traction, has been dismissed by historians as fulfilling little more than a precursory role in the inauguration of the 'Railway Age'. This book establishes its claim to recognition as a significant element in the maturing phase of Britain's industrialisation after 1830, through an examination of its critical role in the contemporary national debate on the merits of steam power and its direct effect on the economic growth of south Durham and north-east Yorkshire, a region which became the most important iron-producing centre in the world, partly as a result of the Stockton and Darlington Railway's role as a 'fuel artery'. The experience ofthe company is of direct relevance to economic historians concerned with the regional basis of Britain's industrialisation.