In 1821, George Stephenson heard of a project to build a railway using draft horses to pull coal from Stockton to Darlington to exploit a newly dug rich vein of coal.

He persuaded the promoter, Edward Pease, to look at his proposal to build a steam locomotive for the line.

Within the next five years, by September 1825, Stephenson had not only achieved the transport of coal by steam engine but his “Locomotion” engine was carrying passengers on that line.

Not bad in a five-year time frame.

Your report of the meeting between Guy Opperman and Hilary McGrady, director general of the National Trust, suggested that there are plans to reopen Mr Stevenson’s cottage birthplace in Wylam.

You further report that the general manager for the Tyne Valley portfolio, Andrew Poad said “a realistic goal to reopen the landmark would be 2025”.

Another five-year time frame.

The National Trust board should stop fretting about the social attitudes of historic figures and consequent attempts to force-feed woke attitudes on to its staff, volunteers and the paying public.

It could then redirect its efforts into the safe reopening of the properties with which it is entrusted.


Bardon Mill