Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

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Thomas Brassey
two-part story
Music: Cipriani Potter
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.

THOMAS Brassey, son of a prosperous Cheshire farmer, began his career in road-building as an apprentice to surveyor William Lawton, on Thomas Telford’s Shrewsbury to Holyhead road. Brassey rose from apprentice to partner, and Lawton and Brassey relocated to Birkenhead to make road-building materials.

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Six Posts
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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A Leader by Example
Music: Louise Farrenc
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

WHEN examining the works of the Orleans and Tours Railway, Mr Stephenson, seeing a large number of excavators filling and wheeling sand in a cutting, at a great waste of time and labour, went up to the men and said he would show them how to fill their barrows in half the time.

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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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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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The Rainhill Trials
Music: Cipriani Potter
To prove that steam power was the future of railways, George Stephenson held a truly historic competition.

IN 1829 George Stephenson, appointed to build England’s first purpose-built passenger line, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, wanted to prove to doubters that steam locomotives could handle the traffic better than cable-hauled or horse-drawn carriages.

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All Posts
Tagged George Stephenson (13 posts)
page 1
1 Thomas Brassey
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
2 A Leader by Example
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
3 The Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Businessmen in Liverpool engaged George Stephenson to build one of his new-fangled railways.
4 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.
5 The Rainhill Trials
To prove that steam power was the future of railways, George Stephenson held a truly historic competition.
6 The London and Birmingham Railway
The textile moguls of Manchester and Liverpool engaged the Stephensons to complete their link to the capital.
page 2
7 Burning Daylight
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson argued that his steam engines were solar-powered.
8 The Hetton Railway
The railway earned a special place in history as the first to be designed for steam locomotives only.
9 The Stockton and Darlington Railway
George Stephenson and his son Robert created the world’s first passenger railway.
10 The Gift of the Gab
There was one form of power that self-taught engineering genius George Stephenson never harnessed.
11 The Bully and the Brakesman
A young George Stephenson takes responsibility for the team spirit at Black Callerton mine.
12 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.
page 3
13 The Character of George Stephenson
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
A self-made man who never forgot his humble beginnings.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Subject and Object

Use each of the words below as either the subject or the object of a verb.

Can. General. Tone.

JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
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.
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.
Polyword ‘Cone’
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
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with MILE and finish with POST.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NAIL and finish with SHOE.
Multiply two numbers together. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Try writing complete sentences using these adjectives in the attributive position.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

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 Game) Mental Arithmetic