Letter: Rocket science

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The Independent Culture
Sir: George Stephenson never claimed to have invented the railway locomotive; it is only latterday popular belief that has given him that accolade.

The first steam railway locomotive was built by Richard Trevithick in 1803, 11 years before George's first. Another early locomotive was built in 1811 by William Hedley close to Stephenson's home and he would have been familiar with this, too.

Stephenson does deserve to be known as the "father of railways" for his energy in promoting them throughout this country and Europe.

MICHAEL MESSENGER

Cardiff

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