George Stephenson Monument
Statue Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

George Stephenson Monument

Statue In Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear

Statue dedicated to George Stephenson at the junction of Westgate Road and Neville Street.

On the junction between Westgate Road and Neville Street stands a statue you have probably passed many times on nights out or racing between meetings at work, but may never have stopped to look at in any great detail. The George Stephenson Monument is, as you would expect, a monument to the eminent engineer George Stephenson. Stephenson, born in 1781 in a small cottage near Wylam, went on to invent a safety lamp for miners as well as one of the first steam locomotives. He is without doubt one of the north east's most famous sons, his face even appeared on the rear of the five pound note during the 1990s.

The bronze statue, designed by John Graham Lough, was unveiled on October 2nd 1862, 14 years after his death. The decision to create the monument was made at a meeting of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 1858 which was presided over by his son Robert Stephenson and that other north eastern great, William Armstrong. Stephenson stands atop a sandstone plinth and is depicted in late middle age, clutching a rolled up plan and wearing a rugged coat with a “Northumbrian Plaid” scarf wrapped over his shoulder, giving a classical toga like appearance.

At the corners of the statue, at the feet of Stephenson sit four further bronze figures, each of which represents links to his career and railway legacy. Like the main sculpture the figures have a crossover style of half Greek hero and half modern worker and depict; a plate-layer with a model of Stephenson's 'fish-bellied rail'; a miner with Stephenson's patent safety-lamp; a blacksmith with a small anvil; and a locomotive engineer leaning on a relatively up-to-date model of a locomotive.

These supporting figures are more than mere decoration; they weave a narrative around Stephenson's central figure. They tell the story of a collective effort, a symphony of skill and determination that transformed Britain from an agrarian island into a humming industrial powerhouse.

However, the monument's story isn't just one of industrial triumph. It also speaks to the social impact of the railways. In its early days, the train wasn't just a mode of transportation; it was a catalyst for change. It broke down geographical barriers, bringing people and cultures closer. It facilitated the flow of goods and ideas, democratising access to knowledge and opportunity. The Stephenson Monument stands as a silent witness to these social transformations. The monument is Grade II* listed and is on the National Heritage List for England.

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How To Find George Stephenson Monument

Where Is George Stephenson Monument?

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54.969612, -1.614971

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Where To Park For George Stephenson Monument?

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54.969073, 54.969073

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The nearest parking is at Newcastle Central Station opposite the statue, but it is very expensive! The better option is to park at Grainger Town Multi Storey car park a short walk away.

Contributed by Andrew Gardner

I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.

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