Listen to Robert Metcalf talking about lighting the fire to get Locomotion No.1 going on the 16th September 1825 (voiced by Lee Morris)

People Of The S&DR

Locomotion No.1’s arrival at the level crossing at Aycliffe Lane was witnessed by many people who turned out to see ‘t’iron hoss’, many of whom assisted with the removal of the locomotive from the dray onto the track.

However before it could get going, the boiler had to be lit. Some years later, the endeavours to light the fire were recalled by a labourer, Robert Metcalf, who was employed on the line:

“No.1 came to heighton (sic) lane by road we had to get her on the way when we got her on the way we pump water into her we sent John taylor for a lantern and candle to acliffe when we done that I thought I would have my pipe it was a very warm day though it been back end of the year I took me pipe glass and let me pipe I thought to myself I would try to put fire to Jimmy ockam (oakum, ie flax fibres soaked in pine tar) it blaze away well the fire going rapidly lantern and candle was to no use so No.1 fire was put to her on line by the pour (power) of the sun 8 waggons was as many she could trail….”

Thank you so much to Lee Morris for getting through that mouthful of 19th century south west Durham.