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Richard Trevithick

Born in 1771 at Tregajorran between Redruth and Camborne, the son of the manager of Dolcoath Mine. As an apprentice he had a genius for pumps and machines, and he developed into one of the engineering giants of the day. Perhaps the real father of the railways. Stephenson's Rocket ran from 1821 between Stockton & Darlington. Trevithick ran a steam engine through the streets of Camborne on Christmas Eve 1801. Camborne Hill was the steepest hill in the district, and horses had difficulty pulling loads up it, so the fact that the new steam engine could reach the top showed the potential of steam.

Three years later he successfully ran another engine on rails at Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. He then went to Peru to maintain pumping engines in the mines, and stayed for eleven years. When he wanted to come home he had no money for the fare, and had to borrow it from Stevenson. Back in England with no money he was forced to work in London as an ordinary engineer, and died penniless, only a collection of money by his friends saved him from a paupers grave.

There is a statue to him in Camborne, outside the public library, holding a model of his locomotive. There is also a memorial window to him in Westminster Abbey.





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