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Robert Stephenson (1803-1859)
2nd President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Stephenson was born in 1803.
He was apprenticed in 1819 to a coal-viewer at Killingworth, where he attended science classes at the University of Edinburgh. On his return, he joined his father in the factory at Newcastle. He developed the construction of wrought-iron bridges for carrying railways across estuaries, rivers and valleys, notable examples being the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick, the high-level bridge at Newcastle-on-Tyne, the Britannia tubular bridge, and the Victoria tubular bridge over the River St. Lawrence, Canada.
He was also frequently consulted in the construction of foreign railways.
In 1847, he entered the House of Commons as Member for Whitby.
He became the Institution's second President in 1849, after the death of his father, George Stephenson. Stephenson died in 1859.