Marshall states that William Hedley was born in Newburn-on-Tyne on 13 July 1779 and died at Burnhopeside Hall near Lanchester in County Durham on 9 January 1843. He was appointed viewer at Walbottle Colliery in 1800, but was "head-hunted" by Christopher Blackett and moved to Wylam Colliery where he developed locomotives with Timothy Hackworth. In 1813 he built in the colliery workshops the Wylam Dilly. Intended for his plateway, it had four flangeless wheels. The two vertical cylinders drove a central crankshaft through connecting rods, and this crankshaft actuated the driving wheels by spur gears. This locomotive and its sisters proved successful for slow haulage. A feature was the fitting of a silencer. through which the steam passed before exhausting to atmosphere. The boiler was of the Trevithick type, so well-made that it assured the success of the return flue idea. Hedley's second machine (1813) was the famous Puffing Billy first of the so-called 'grasshopper' type. In 1836 Hedley irked by George Stephenson being acknowledged by Dionysius Lardner as "the father of the locomotive" was prompted to publish in all the Newcastle newspapers claims to his own involvement in locotive innovation: this is reproduced in full, with comment, by Dendy Marshall. Rutherford's Heroes, villains and ordinary men. BackTrack 9, 528. covers the significance of Hedley's contribution.
Patent (via Woodcroft): GB 3666/1813. Mechanical means of conveying carriages laden with coals, minerals and other things. 13 March 1813.
See: Forward, E.A. Chapman's locomotives Trans Newcomen Soc., 1952, 28, 1- C. F. Dendy Marshall, History of the Railway Locomotive down to the end of the Year 1831 (1953).
Carpenter, George W. revision of biography by W.A.J. Archbold
Oxford Dictionary of National
Crompton, John The Hedley mysteries. Early Rlys 2, 149-64.
Author from National Museums of Scotland where Hedley's Wylam Dilly is a prime exhibit in the Royal Museum, Edinburgh. Sifts through existing information about William Hedley, his sons and the locomotives Lady Mary, Puffing Billy and Wylam Dilly. Includes a detailed examination of the boilers of the last two mentioned lcomotives, and the routes by which they were preserved..
George Smith. Wylam Billy William Hedley and the Wylam Waggonway. Backtrack, 2012, 26, 424-8.
"Hedley remains a hard figure to like. He comes across as an arrogant and abrasive character". Four locomotives are described Grasshoper, Puffing Billy, Wylam Dilly and Lady Mary. Puffing Billy is in the Science Museum and Wylam Dilly is in the National Museum of Scotland. There is little known about the last and it may have been used to power a tug on The Tyne. The origin of the name Puffing Billy is explored. Cites John Crompton's paper above.
Marshall notes that Christopher Blackett was born in 1751 and died 25 January 1829. He was squire of Wylam between 1800 and 1829 and thus owned Wylam Colliery where the steam locomotive evolved under Hedley, Stephenson and several others. Marshall noted several sources on the history of the colliery. See also Rly Arch., 2007 (16), 4 where Norman Hill notes that Blackett owned the Globe, a London newspaper. In true arty fashion the ODNB records two of Christopher's illustrious predecesors who seemed to do very little, but omit this great influence upon industrial history..
Thomas Oswald Blackett
Born in 1790 and died in Newcastle Infirmary on 19 December 1847. Surveyed part of Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1824; surveyed proposed South Shields and Monkwearmouth Railway in 1833. Surveyed an alternative to the Great North of England Railway. Sustained multiple injuries when run down by a train on the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway. See Rennison Trans Newcomen Soc., 2001, 72, 203
Jonathan Foster or Forster
Marshall states that "Forster" was born in South Tyne Valley in 1775 and died in Wylam in 1860. C.F. Dendy Marshall spells the name as "Foster". Early Railways 2 appears to have settled on "Forster". In 1809 was enginewright at Wylam Colliery and assisted Hackworth and Hedley in construction of first locomotive at Wylam. See also Rly Arch.., 2007 (16), 4..
According to Lowe builder of the second Tyneside "Trevithick" locomotive in 1811, or more probably 1813. John Whinfield, according to Lowe, had been builder of first Tyneside "Trevithick" locomotive but this had been rejected by Christopher Blackett. There is doubt as to whether this locomotive was built at Wylam or at Gateshead, but there are reports on its conveyance from Gateshead to Wylam in 1813. Lowe cites Young (with reservations). See also Rly Arch., 2007 (16), 4.