Engineer whose locomotive Salamanca hauled the World’s first commercially successful steam trains on the Middleton Railway, Leeds.
Working just a few yards from the site of Murray’s Round Foundry in Holbeck, I’ve long been inspired by this uneducated machine-maker, honoured by his successors as “the Father of Leeds Engineering”. Murray put his products to full use, not only in life – his house was heated by steam – but also in death, being buried beneath a cast iron obelisk in St Matthew’s churchyard.
At first I hesitated to include Murray in my 1794 story. His business of Fenton, Murray and Wood was not officially incorporated until the following year, but I succumbed because of my fascination with this timing. England was at war, the economy in tatters and politics in turmoil. How must Murray – not quite 30 years old – have felt as he prepared to start up his new enterprise in such conditions?
Murray brings us back to Leeds, Joseph Priestley‘s home town. Where better to end our story than at the beginning?