Trevithick Memorials

    Abstract

    A MEMOBLAX to Richard Trevithick, the great engineer and inventor, was unveiled at Merthyr Tydfil on Thursday, April 19, by Mr. David E. Roberts, to mark in a fitting manner the historic journey of the first rail locomotive on February 21, 1804. The memorial is situated at Pontmorlais, close to what was then the entrance gate to Penydaren Ironworks, where Trevithick built the locomotive. It ran down to the basin on the Glamorganshire Canal at Abercynon 9| miles distant, but the damage to the cast iron rails, which were of course only suited for horse traction, was such that the trials were not followed up. The memorial itself is built of stone sleepers taken from the track, and incorporates also some of the old rails. Its erection is the outcome of local effort backed by help from the Trevithick Centenary Commemoration in London. The event was made a civic occasion, and a concourse of upwards of 3,000 spectators assembled for the ceremony. The unveiling was followed by an address from Mr. Roberts on the work, especially that in South Wales, of Trevithiek. THE second of the memorial tablets erected as a result of the commemoration last year of the centenary of the death of Trevithick, was unveiled at University College, London, on April 23, by the Hon. Oliver Stanley, M.P., Minister of Transport. The tablet has been placed on the Gower Street side of the College to mark the site of the track laid down in 1808 over which Trevithick's locomotive Catch-me-who-can ran. This was the first rail locomotive to draw passengers, and the exact site of the experiment has only been determined after long inquiry. The tablet, which bears & medallion of the inventor, a representation of his engine and a suitable inscription, is of bronze; it is a bold and striking memorial and one which effectively attracts the attention of the passers-by. Prior to the unveiling, a meeting took place in the College which was presided over by Sir Murdoch Macdonald, M.P., the chairman of the commemoration committee. When asking Major Stanley to unveil the memorial, and the Provost of the College, Dr. Alien Mawer, to accept the custody of it, Sir Murdoch said that often our great benefactors have reaped but posthumous honours and so it was with Trevithick, for although he died in 1833, it was not until fifty years later that his memory was honoured by the erection of a window in Westminster Abbey. Methods of transport have developed greatly since Trevithick's time, but all our steam locomotives, great and small, work on the principle first effectively applied by him.

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