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William Stenson, 1771 - 1861

William Stenson (1771-1861) was a mining engineer born in Coleortonmarker, Leicestershiremarker.

In the 1820s, he started to sink a mine shaft on a farm alongside a track known as Long Lane in the parish of Whitwickmarker. His boring, in what was then a remote wilderness, proved the presence of coal and led to the growth of an industrial settlement around the site of the colliery which is now known as the modern town of Coalvillemarker.

Soon after founding the Whitwickmarker Colliery, when visiting the north-east of England, Stenson saw the new Stockton and Darlington Railway and at once realised the great potential of this revolutionary method of transport. He surveyed land between his colliery and Leicestermarker to choose a suitable route and then, with the backing of his partners, formed the Leicester and Swannington Railway Company. He contacted George Stephenson, who invested £2500 in the enterprise and Stephenson's son, Robert, was appointed the railway's engineer.

Stenson - often referred to as 'the father of Coalvillemarker' - lived to the grand old age of ninety and witnessed the birth of the new town. His house (now demolished) was near the site of the present day North West Leicestershiremarker Municipal Offices. He was buried in the old Baptist cemetery off Grange Road, Hugglescotemarker, where his tomb has recently been restored.

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