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  Trevithick Day 1901

The West Briton Newspaper January 1902

The Centenary of the Locomotive. The Camborne          Celebrations.

"The first successful locomotive engine was run in the streets of Camborne on Christmas-eve a hundred years ago; Trevithick and Vivian inventors.These were the facts to which Camborne people tried to give emphasis last Tuesday afternoon, when, in torrents of rain the leading townsmen walked through the streets proceeded by a brass band and followed by a novel procession, composed of eight traction engines. 

The start was made from the bottom of Fore street, near the site of Tyaks smith shop where Trevithick's
engine had been put together. First went the Camborne Town Band, and next walked a collection of representative townsmen, including Messrs. T. Fiddick J.P. (chairman Urban District Council), John H Holman, J.P., R Nettle, J. Neague, W. H. Dunkin, J. S. V. Bickford, W. Vivian, S. J. Williams, W. J. Bartle (members of the council), J. R. Daniell (clerk), and J. Williams (inspector), H. B. Paull (steward of Tehidy), C. D. and W. Bartle ( F. Bartle & Son), W Stephens (Climax Rock Drills) T. S. Lowry, (manager Rabling & Co.), R. A. Thomas (manager Dolcoath), J. J. Beringer, H. R. Beringer, A. Bell, J. Caspell, Temby, and Dickson (all of the Mining School), Godfrey Vivian, (representing Mr H. P. Vivian), and McCulloch (Tuckingmill Foundry Co.), J Vivian, J.P., C.C., W. J. Tyack, Revs. W. J. Christophers (U.M.F.C.) Father O'Loughlin (Roman Catholic), and Messrs. J.C. Keast and W. Cock (secretaries).

The engines joining in the procession were lent by the following:- Messrs. Hosken, Trevithick, Polkinhorn Co. (2), Trewella (2), Rabling and Co., National Explosive Co., Nobel and Co. and Harvey and Co.

After walking through the principle thoroughfares of the town, a stop was made at the Commercial Square, where Mr T. Fiddick (Chairman of the District Council) made the following speech:- "As Chairman of the District Council, I have been asked to say a word or two respecting the occasion of our demonstration this afternoon. We have met as Camborne men to celebrate this centenary of a very remarkable event, an event which had enormous influences and has been productive of untold benefits to the whole civilised world. I refer to the first successful run of the first practical high pressure locomotive engine in the worlds history. Which took place in our own town exactly one hundred years ago this very Christmas-eve. As Cambornians, we feel proud of both Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian, the inventors of the locomotive engine. Trevithick was born in Illogan, and brought to Camborne when very young. Here he went to school; and here he lived for many years. The thatched cottage in which he resided is still standing. Andrew Vivian, his partner, was a Camborne man; was manager of Dolcoath mine; and took a very active interest in parochial affairs. I fear, however, that scant justice has been done to him in some quarters. The locomotive was put together at John Tyack's smith shop, which stood just opposite the site on
which Gustavus Mission Room is built at the bottom of Fore street. At the first trial run the engine started from there and ran through Camborne Cross and part of the way up Beacon hill carrying a load of delighted passengers. An eye witness Stephen Williams said:- "In the year 1801, upon Christmas-eve coming en evening, Capt. Dick got up steam, out on the highroad, outside the shop at Weith. When we saw that Capt. Dick was again to turn on steam, we jumped up, as many as could may be seven or eight of us. Twas a stiffish hill going from the Weith up to Camborne Beacon, but she went off like a little bird. The second day's run it went down to Crane, that Capt. Andrew Vivian's family who lived there might see it. An old lady named Paull cried out "Good gracious, Mr Vivian, what will be done next. I ca'ant compare un to anything but a walking puffin devil." 

On the 24th March 1802 Trevithick and Vivian secured a patent in steam engines for propelling carriages and other purposes. ......"

A vote of thanks was moved to Mr Fiddick by Mr. J.R.Daniell and seconded by John H. Holman. Mr Fiddick responded, and thanked the band for their services. 

At six o clock there was a public lantern exhibition in the Commercial square, when large numbers of people gathered in spite of the miserable weather. The slides included portraits of Trevithick and Vivian and of Trevithick's house at Penponds, of the different locomotives of Trevithick and other engines constructed by him. A number of portraits of famous Cambonians were also thrown on the screen. The pictures were interspersed with slides showing short and pithy sentences from Mr Beringers lecture on
Trevithick and these described the slides which followed them. They formed a short but exceedingly comprehensive and powerful address on the claims of Camborne to be the home of the first locomotive. In the course of the display, Murdoch and his engine were not forgotten, as they formed the
subject of slides; and it may be mentioned that Murdoch was cordially greeted by the spectators**.

**  A battle royal had been taking place in the columns of the newspaper for a number of weeks over the claim of Redruth to be the place were the first locomotive was built and run by the Scottish engineer and inventor William Murdoch. The argument still continues today in some quarters.

Sandra and George Pritchard are the authors of original work on this site.  They give permission to copy and use this information on the following conditions.
 1 It will not be used for profit.
 2. The source will be credited.
Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.
Revised: October 22, 2006 .