English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

A Monument to Liberty
Music: Camille Saint-Saens
Samuel Smiles explains why the London and Birmingham Railway was an achievement superior to the Great Pyramid of Giza.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

THE Great Pyramid of Egypt was, according to Diodorus Siculus, constructed by 300,000 — according to Herodotus, by 100,000 — men. It required for its execution twenty years, and the labour expended upon it has been estimated as equivalent to lifting 15,733,000,000 of cubic feet of stone one foot high.

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Six Posts
The Bully and the Brakesman
Music: John Field
A young George Stephenson takes responsibility for the team spirit at Black Callerton mine.

ON one occasion, Stephenson’s handling of the winding mechanism displeased miner Ned Nelson, who on reaching the top berated him offensively.

This Nelson was a notorious bully, used to getting his own way, so he was taken aback when instead of cowering, Stephenson defended himself honestly.

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The Geordie Lamp
Music: Muzio Clementi
The engineer put his own life on the line for the safety of his fellow-workers in the coal industry.
Based on an account by Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

ONE day in 1814, panic-stricken pitmen burst into George Stephenson’s cottage yards from Killingworth colliery. The pit was on fire!

Stephenson led them to the pit-head, descended the shaft and, with every man looking at him expectantly, called for volunteers.

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The Hetton Railway
Music: George Frederick Pinto
The railway earned a special place in history as the first to be designed for steam locomotives only.

HETTON Colliery opened on November 18, 1822, complete with an eight-mile waggonway to the port of Sunderland at the mouth of the River Wear. Designed by local man George Stephenson, it was the first railway to be operated by steam power alone.

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Burning Daylight
Music: Ignaz Moscheles
George Stephenson argued that his steam engines were solar-powered.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

ONE Sunday, when the party had just returned from church, they were standing together on the terrace near the Hall, and observed in the distance a railway-train flashing along, tossing behind its long white plume of steam. “Now, Buckland,” said Stephenson, “Can you tell me what is the power that is driving that train?”

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The Stockton and Darlington Railway
two-part story
Music: John Field
George Stephenson and his son Robert created the world’s first passenger railway.

THE Stockton and Darlington Railway is celebrated as the first public railway for fare-paying passengers, and over 30,000 travelled the line in twelve months from July 1826. But their single, horse-drawn carriages on rails (fare one-and-six) were not the line’s real business.

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The London and Birmingham Railway
two-part story
Music: Alice Mary Smith
The textile moguls of Manchester and Liverpool engaged the Stephensons to complete their link to the capital.

THE London and Birmingham Railway opened on September 17th, 1838, connecting Euston to Curzon Street via Rugby and Coventry in five and a half hours. At Curzon Street, passengers could change to the Grand Junction Railway for Manchester and Liverpool, whose cotton-merchants and mill-owners had paid for the link to the capital.

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All Posts
Tagged George Stephenson (10 posts)
page 1
1 A Monument to Liberty
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Samuel Smiles explains why the London and Birmingham Railway was an achievement superior to the Great Pyramid of Giza.
2 The Rainhill Trials
To prove that steam power was the future of railways, George Stephenson held a truly historic competition.
3 The London and Birmingham Railway
The textile moguls of Manchester and Liverpool engaged the Stephensons to complete their link to the capital.
4 Burning Daylight
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson argued that his steam engines were solar-powered.
5 The Hetton Railway
The railway earned a special place in history as the first to be designed for steam locomotives only.
6 The Stockton and Darlington Railway
George Stephenson and his son Robert created the world’s first passenger railway.
page 2
7 The Gift of the Gab
There was one form of power that self-taught engineering genius George Stephenson never harnessed.
8 The Bully and the Brakesman
A young George Stephenson takes responsibility for the team spirit at Black Callerton mine.
9 The Geordie Lamp
Based on an account by Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
The engineer put his own life on the line for the safety of his fellow-workers in the coal industry.
10 The Character of George Stephenson
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
A self-made man who never forgot his humble beginnings.

Word Play: Verb or Noun?

Use each of the words below once as a noun and once as a verb:

Question. Fire. Stand.

New Stories
By John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)
John Stuart Mill reminds us that governments and the courts must never be allowed to criminalise matters of belief or opinion.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens sketches for us the shyly ingratiating youth who gets himself in a tangle in the presence of Beauty.
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
New Puzzles
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Fresh’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Practise doing sums using multiples of 25, 50 and 75.
Do you know ‘beg’ (7 letters), and ‘a single game in the sport of darts’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Suggest opposites for these words, and illustrate them with example sentences.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (360)
Fiction (78)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

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numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps Mental arithmetic