Image of John Passmore Edwards

John Passmore Edwards


Richard Trevithick
The Cornish Giant


The bust was unveiled at the Camborne library in 1904 by Sir George Smith. JP on the recommendation of Passmore Edwards who regretted that he could not attend. It can be found in the main lending library.
Born in Cornwall in 1771 Trevithick was the true inventor of the steam locomotive.
After developing a successful high pressure steam engine for use in dewatering mines he turned to experimenting with a steam locomotive. By 1796 he had a working minature and on Christmas eve 1801 his road locomotive, Puffin Devil, carried Trevithick and friends "Up Camborne Hill, Coming Down".
Although Trevithick's engines were successful he could not find the investment needed to develop them further. He later emigrated to Peru and worked and owned silver mines there, only to lose everything when war broke out.
Eventually returning to England he died in 1833 at the Bull Inn, Dartford. Having lived in poverty during the last years of his life, the British Government having denied him a pension for his advances to locomotive design, he was saved from a pauper's grave only by money raised by local factory workers. He is buried in Dartford Cemetry.
In 2001 a replica of Trevithick's locomotive recreated the historic event in Camborne of 200 years previous.
The Bust of Trevithick was sculpted by Henry Charles Fehr and presented to Cambourne Library where it remains


© Dean Evans 2008
Page last updated on 8 July, 2008