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Rocket set for 'long-term' stay in York

Side view of Rocket.

Iconic locomotive Rocket is set to have a "long-term" stay in the North.

The vehicle, designed by engineer Robert Stephenson, was built in Newcastle in 1829.

It is back in the city for the first time in 150 years for this summer’s Great Exhibition of the North. It will next go on display in Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry in September. Rocket was the clear winner in the locomotive trials held at Rainhill in 1829 to decide the best design to power the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.

It will return to the Science Museum for a short period to be prepared for a what has been described as a "long-term move" to the National Railway Museum in York.

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“Stephenson’s Rocket is an iconic part of Britain’s proud railway history and it is fantastic news that it will remain on long-term display in the North. “It is right that our great art and culture reaches all parts of the country. This bold move by The Science Museum Group will ensure more people can see this national treasure and is an inspiring example of what can be done to make culture available to the widest possible audience.”

– Jeremy Wright, Culture Secretary
Credit: ITV News

Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group, said:

“The Science Museum Group is a truly national organisation, and enthusiastic about bringing the world's greatest science and technology collection to everyone.

I warmly endorse the Secretary of State's commitment to strengthening fair and excellent cultural provision across the UK. A country with such an amazing history of innovation deserves it.”

– Ian Blatchford, Science Museum Group

Carol Bell, executive director of Great Exhibition of the North, said:

We’re delighted that through Great Exhibition of the North we’ve been able to welcome back Stephenson’s Rocket to NewcastleGateshead, for the first time in more than 150 years. It’s helped us to tell the inspiring story of the North of England and thanks to attractions such as Stephenson’s Rocket, Discovery Museum has seen visitor numbers rise by 100% over the past four weeks, comparable to 2017.

Following the Exhibition, Stephenson’s Rocket will be making its way to Manchester before it moves onto the National Railway Museum in York, which is a particularly apt venue for its long-term relocation, as it’s the home of iconic locomotives and an unrivalled collection of engineering brilliance. It will make a brilliant addition to the rest of the North’s great innovations and is sure to attract more visitors to the region.

We hope more and more people will come and embrace the opportunity to experience the wonder of Stephenson’s Rocket whilst it’s based here in Newcastle for the duration of Great Exhibition of the North.

– Carol Bell, Great Exhibition of the North

Billed as England's biggest event of the year, the Great Exhibition of the North celebrates art, culture, and design in the North of England. Its main attraction is arguably one of Britain's most famous feats of engineering. Robert Stephenson's Rocket. Gregg Easteal followed its return home.

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