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Railways before George Stephenson

Most people believe that railways began with George Stephenson but in fact they had existed for over 200 years in the North East before the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway – and Heaton was right at the centre of their development.

Bigges Main Waggonway excavation July 2013
Bigges Main Waggonway excavation July 2013

On Wednesday 25 June, Les Turnbull will look at the development of the railway before George Stephenson with particular reference to Heaton and the recent excavations at the Neptune Yard, where an eighteenth century wooden waggonway was unearthed in the summer of 2013. This proved to be one of the most exciting discoveries in recent times and is currently being prepared for preservation in the National Railway Museum.

The event will take place at the Corner House Hotel on Heaton Road. Les’s talks are always informative, entertaining – and extremely popular so please book to ensure you’re not disappointed. And be in your seat by 7.15 so that we can offer any unclaimed places to people on the waiting list or who come on spec. To reserve your place, contact Maria Graham: / 0191 215 0821 / 07763 985656. FREE to members; £2 to non-members.



  1. I am Liz Halsall, daughter of Arthur Shaw who owned Robinsons Pork shop on Heaton Rd….the one on Benton Rd is still open! I have very fond memories of visiting my granny and granddad in Cheltenham terrace Elizabeth and Arthur Shaw, and it was a huge treat to go to Cloughs, chat to Mrs Clough who was always smiling, choose sweets from the many glass jars, and perhaps also get the best ice lolly in the was long and triangular in shape and very orange!! Now THAT was a sweet shop!


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