English railway engineer. The son of the pioneering railway-builder and designer of locomotives, George Stephenson (1781–1848), Robert was mostly responsible for the construction of the main lines from London to Birmingham (1833–8), in the North-East of England, and elsewhere. His greatest works were bridges, e.g. spanning the Tyne at Newcastle and the Tweed at Berwick (1846–9), but his master-piece was the Britannia Bridge (1845–50), a tubular-girder structure carrying the Chester to Holyhead line over the Menai Straits. In the detailed design of the last Stephenson was assisted by Fairbairn and others. He also designed the tubular bridge at Conway, Wales (1845–50). His Victoria Bridge over the St Lawrence, Montréal (1854–9), was for some time the longest bridge in the world.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);Rolt (1960);Skempton et al. (eds.) (2002);Smiles (1862)