Graham Trust discusses the relationship between John Moss and George Stephenson
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 5th August 2011 by Liam Physick
Graham Trust talks about how John Moss had a long-standing friendship with and admiration for George Stephenson. Moss commissioned a statue in honour of the great engineer, and expressed regret that Stephenson was never recognised by the British establishment (unlike in other countries) for his role: Graham suspects this was due to class
Interviewee: Graham Trust
Interviewee Gender: Male
Date of Interview: 16th November 2010
Graham: Moss’s admiration of Stephenson and his achievements lasted from when he first met him which, I think, would have been at the Killingworth Colliery Trials in January of 1825, it lasted until Stephenson’s death in 1848, and Stephenson was one of the engineers of Moss’s Grand Junction Railway. The rest of the board forced Stephenson to resign, really, from the Grand Junction, cos Stephenson was in, in enormous demand with all sorts of railways all over the country, and he wasn’t dedicating the time he needed to dedicate to the Grand Junction railway, so eventually, he was forced into a corner and he resigned. Regardless of that, Moss stayed on good personal terms with Stephenson and refused to say a word against him, even though there was a bit of a slanging match going on, this is about 1836 and, it was actually Moss in 1844, who organised for a statue, a marble statue to be sculpted by an eminent sculptor of the time called John Gibson (Jenny sounds intrigued) and, regrettably, the statue didn’t arrive until after Stephenson had already died . . .
Jenny: Oh, right.
Graham: . . . it was to be delivered to St. George’s Hall, but in 1846, John Moss’s friend, John Gladstone was given a baronetcy by Robert Peel and Queen Victoria and Moss wrote to Gladstone to stay, to say, “I wish they’d have included George Stephenson in that list. In any, in any other country, apart from England, his achievements would have been recognised”, and he, Stephenson, was sadly unrecognised by the British establishment, and he was recognised by Belgium – King Leopold – and he, he was recognised by other countries who, who he helped, but, I think Moss was not hinting, he was making a point there: it’s because of Stephenson’s lowly status, as a working-class man, that he was probably not seen as the right sort to, to be recognised in the honours list, and that is very reflective of those times.
Categorised under: The Station & Railway Pioneers