The vast concourse of people who had assembled to witness the truimphant arrival of the successful travellers was of the lowest order of mechanics and artisans, among whom great distress and a dangerous spirit of discontent with the Government at that time prevailed. Groans and hisses greeted the carriage, full of influential personages, in which the Duke of Wellington sat. High above the grim and grimy crowd of scowling faces a loom had been erected, at which sat a tattered, starved-looking weaver, evidently set there as a representative man, to protest against this triumph of machinery, and the gain and glory which the wealthy Liverpool and Manchester men were likely to derive from it.

The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, 15 September 1830: Fanny Kemble.

Records of a Girlhood, 1878.

Some of the directors observed, that they were but trustees for property to an immense amount, that the value of that property might be affected, if the procession did not go on, and thus demonstrate the practicability of locomotive travelling on an extensive scale; and that, though the illustrious duke [of Wellington] and his cortege might not deem it prudent to proceed, it was the duty of the directors to complete the ceremony of opening the road.

Discussion following the death of William Huskisson, run over by George Stephenson’s locomotive engine Rocket during the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, 15 September 1830.

25 September 1830: Mechanics’ Magazine

… the engine having received its supply of water… was set off at its utmost speed, thirty-five miles an hour, swifter than a bird flies (for they tried the experiment with a snipe). You cannot conceive what that sensation of cutting the air was; the motion is as smooth as possible, too. I could either have read or written; and as it was, I stood up, and with my bonnet off ‘drank the air before me.’ The wind, which was strong, or perhaps the force of our thrusting against it, absolutely weighed my eyelids down. When I closed my eyes this sensation of flying was quite delightful, and strange beyond description; yet, strange as it was, I had a perfect sense of security, and not the slightest fear.

Fanny Kemble, letter to a friend

26 August, 1830

Records of a Girlhood, 1878

We are credibly informed that there is a Steam Engine now preparing to run against any mare, horse, or gelding that may be produced at the new October Meeting at Newmarket; the wagers at present are stated to be 10,000 1; the engine is the favourite… its greatest speed will be 20 miles in one hour, and its slowest rate will never be less than 15 miles.

Trevithick’s Portable Steam Engine

8 July 1808, The Times