A busy year

The Northumbria Club held its annual general meeting in the National Liberal Club in London. The meeting was well attended with two new members attending for the first time.

The chairman, His Honour Judge Ian Graham, gave a resume of the year’s events, including our guest night dinner with Sir Alan Beith, and thanked the secretary and treasurer for another year’s hard work.

The treasurer, Chris Dean, presented the accounts and confirmed that the club was in good financial health and that he saw no need to increase subscriptions for the following year.

The secretary, Michael Robson, gave his report and commented that the Northumbria Club website at www.northumbriaclub.com was still receiving a number of inquiries.

The chairman, secretary and treasurer, who were all due to retire this year, were elected unaminously for a second two-year term of office.

The formal AGM was followed by a talk on the Stephenson family by club member John Wheatley.

John’s talk started with the life of George Stephenson and his upbringing in Northumberland at the start of the industrial revolution.

This was followed by details of how his son Robert’s career developed through steam pumping engines in the pits to the building of steam locomotives with the building of the Stockton and Darlington Railway and the locomotive Locomotion. This was followed by Robert winning the Rainhill trials in 1829.

In addition to building locomotives, they also built complete railways and whilst few of their locomotives now survive, their feats of engineering are landmarks in the North, e.g. The Royal Border Bridge at Berwick and the High Level Bridge at Newcastle.

The Stephenson family were not only locomotive engineers, they also developed the miners’ safety lamp, called the Geordie Lamp, which was used in the North East for most of the 19thcentury and which saved countless lives.

The talk was followed by a buffet supper.

The next meeting of the Northumbria Club will be held on October 14, when the Dean of Chelmsford, the Very Reverend Nicholas Henshall, will talk about his time as a vicar in Scotswood.