The S&DR 1875 celebrations limited edition tea towel


This limited edition tea towel is taken from an original copy of a page from the Illustrated London News dated October 2nd 1875. This was a celebratory edition commemorating fifty years since the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway on the 27th September 1825 and which was acknowledged as being the start of a publicly accessible railway network that triggered the spread of railways throughout the UK and beyond. The illustration featured the key players in the formation of the S&DR.

The tea towel is made from high quality 100% cotton and printed using reactive inks, which boast superior rub and wash fastness. It measures 71 x 46 cm and includes an S&DR certificate of authenticity which explains the origins of the 1875 artwork and why each figure was included. A lovely postable present that makes drying dishes more bearable or use as a tray cloth. We’d be tempted to hang it on the wall…..




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The illustration used in this newspaper featured the key players in the formation of the S&DR including Edward Pease of Darlington who did much to drive the construction of the railway forward including being a major financier. It was also Pease who invited George Stephenson to join the company and alter their plans to ensure that it was locomotive powered. Edward’s son Joseph Pease took over the controlling reigns of the business after opening and was responsible for the extension to Middlesbrough; he was also a major colliery owner and on election as MP for Darlington, he became the country’s first Quaker MP. In that role he took an active stance against slavery. It was during the 1875 celebrations that a statue to Joseph Pease was erected in Darlington.  Francis Mewburn was the company’s first solicitor and  responsible for seeing the Stockton & Darlington Railway Bill through Parliament. At the foot of the tea towel there are three engines. Locomotion No.1 , designed by George Stephenson, was the company’s first locomotive and hauled the train on the opening day in 1825. The Royal George was built by Timothy Hackworth, the company’s chief engineer, in 1827 and was designed to overcome many of the problems associated with the earliest locomotives; in doing so it inspired confidence in the locomotive powered railway. Finally, The Rocket appears to make a guest appearance. It had nothing to do with the S&DR, but was designed by George Stephenson for the Rainhill Trials in 1829 on the incomplete Liverpool & Manchester Railway—it won.

We are indebted to Andrew Stoves of the Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway for allowing us to scan his original copy.

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