ON August 12, 1848, a century ago, George Stephenson died at his home, Tapton House, Chesterfield, at the age of sixty-seven, and was buried in Trinity Church in that town. For some years he had been more concerned with his properties than with railways, taking special delight in horticulture and his Derbyshire collieries. His father had been a fireman at a Northumberland coal mine, and Stephenson himself had passed his boyhood amidst coal pits, pumping and winding engines. He had become an assistant fireman when fifteen, was the mechanical engineer at Killingworth Colliery at thirty-one, built his first colliery locomotive at thirty-three ; his first railway was that laid down at Hetton mines a little later, and the famous Stockton and Darlington Railway, of which he was the engineer, was designed primarily for mineral traffic. His interest in collieries was therefore life-long.