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Edward Fletcher

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Edward Fletcher (1807-1889)

1807 April 26th. Born.

1847 Locomotive Superintendent of the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway

1889 December 21st. Died. [1]

1889 Obituary [2]

EDWARD FLETCHER was born on 26th April 1807, on the Cleugh Brae estate, in Reedwater, not far from Otterburn, Northumberland; and on the completion of his school education was apprenticed in 1825 to George Stephenson at his works in Newcastle. Just before leaving these works he made a considerable portion of the machinery of the Rocket locomotive, and was sent with the engine to the Killingworth wagon way. He was also with the Rocket when it made its famous run, prior to being sent to the Liverpool and Manchester contest.

Although he had not quite completed his apprenticeship, it was nearly settled that he should be sent to Carlisle to take charge of a saw-mill for cutting the sleepers for the Liverpool and Manchester line; but at the last moment, the proprietors of the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway being anxious to have that line opened, Mr. Stephenson sent him there. The line was opened and worked by the aid of two stationary engines and by horses. Shortly afterwards the horses were replaced by a locomotive, and the railway was gradually developed and extended.

In 1837 he was actively engaged under Mr. Thomas Cabry in constructing the York and North Midland Railway, which was opened two years afterwards.

In 1845 he became locomotive superintendent of the Newcastle and Darlington Railway; and when the High-Level Bridge at Newcastle was opened by the Queen in August 1859 he had charge of the royal train.

In 1858 at the Newcastle meeting of this Institution he read a paper on the locomotive engine shed and turntables at Gateshead station. A prominent feature in his character was his ability to manage men, and his power of organisation was clearly exemplified during the great strike of engine-drivers and firemen on the North Eastern Railway in 1867. The presentation made to him by the directors for his services at that time, coupled with the address presented to him by the workmen in 1872, when they reviewed the various ways in which he had shown consideration for their interests, afford abundant proof of the esteem and confidence with which he was regarded by both employers and employed.

In 1882 he retired, after forty-seven years spent in the service of the North Eastern Railway.

He was a Member of this Institution from the commencement in 1847.

His death occurred after a short illness at his residence, Osborne Avenue, West Jesmond, Newcastle-on-Tyne, on 21st December 1889, in the eighty-third year of his age.

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