John Carter & The Saving of Skerne Bridge

The most evocative image of the early railways anywhere in the world is, without doubt, John Dobbin’s Opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825, depicting the packed processional train, hauled by Locomotion 1, crossing Ignatius Bonomi’s glorious Skerne Bridge. It was the source for many subsequent paintings and drawings – including that on the Bank of England £5 note from 1990 to 2002.

But is it wrong in a fundamental detail? Was the bridge, as painted, not actually Bonomi’s design? Was it not really like that in 1825 – not that graceful?