76 mm (3”), 264 grams
HISTORY: In 1825, the fledging Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR) began operation. Years of planning, promoting, and financing by Edward Pease (1767–1858), a Darlington woolen manufacturer, had begun the long process. Enlisting the partnership of George Stephenson (1781–1848), engineer and inventor, and his son Robert (Robert Stephenson & Company), they were the first to build railway engines. In 1825 they rolled out the now-famous steam Locomotive #1 (see first image). It ushered in the first public railway to use steam locomotion for commercial operation, shipping coal from the port city of Stockton inland to Darlington. In 1833, the S&DR began passenger service. By 1863, in financial difficulty, the S&DR was taken over by London North Eastern Railway. However, the S&DR still maintained its identity and was celebrated in 1875, 1925 (with this medal, see second image), and 1975.
The British designer and sculptor of this medal, Gilbert William Bayes (1872‒1953), studied at the City and Guilds of London Art School, followed by three years (1896‒1899) at the Royal Academy Schools, where he received a gold medal and a scholarship to Paris. Later, between 1939 and 1944, he served as president of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
OBVERSE: “EDWARD PEASE · GEORGE STEPHENSON” crowns the top of the medal above the left-facing portraits of Pease and Stephenson. To the left are the anchor and castle devices of Stockton’s coat of arms. To the right are the devices of Darlington’s coat of arms, showing the S&DR Locomotive #1 (Detail 1), followed by its fuel car and a coal car. In the large exergue is the acknowledgement, “STOCKTON & DARLINGTON RAILWAY – INCLUDED IN LONDON & NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY · 1825‒1925.” To the right, at 4 o’clock, are the sculptor’s initials “GB.”
REVERSE: “FIRST IN THE WORLD,” arrayed along the top, are bragging rights to be sure. A large, “modern” locomotive is in the background behind the image of a railway tracklayer holding a reproduction of the original Locomotive #1 with his right hand, a hammer in his left. Beneath his left elbow are the sculptor’s initials “GB.”