One of the few pieces on the Tapestry which we have detailed information about.
"This is the world's first commercially successful steam locomotive, which began work on Wednesday 24th June 1812 on the waggonway between Middleton Colliery and Leeds.
Four of these locomotives were built for the colliery owner Charles John Brandling, by the famous engineer Matthew Murray, at his Round Foundry in Water Lane, Holbeck.
They incorporated a cogged wheel which gripped on to a cogged rail, an invention patented by John Blenkinsop, Mr. Brandling's manager at Middleton. This system enabled the locomotive, which weighed less than 5 tons, to heave along about 30 waggons of coal, sometimes weighing over 100 tons in total, without breaking the brittle cast-iron rails then in use. A man named George Stephenson saw an identical locomotive start work near Newcastle in 1813: his own first locomotive copied most of it, but omitted the cogged wheel and, therefore, was not nearly as strong as the Leeds locomotives.
Between 1812 and 1835, people from France, Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, Austria, Russia, and the U.S.A. are known to have seen the Leeds locomotives at work and later tried to interest their own countrymen in the building of steam railways.
The Hunslet area adjoining the railway was later at the centre of Leeds' important locomotive-building industry.
The Middleton Railway has other claims to fame: in 1758, its route agreements were ratified by the first railway Act of Parliament and,
over two hundred years later, in June 1960, it became the first standard-gauge railway with services operated entirely by volunteer preservationists.
Steam trains still run on the historic Middleton Railway, maintained and operated by the volunteers of the Middleton Railway Trust Museum."
Information supplied by Sheila Bye (Historian/Archivist, Middleton Railway Trust Museum)
The piece was hand stitched by Lesley Dove