The Hunslet Moor Primary School emblem is a train, but do you know why?
Just down Turnstall Road from school is the Middleton Steam Railway, the oldest continuously working railway in the world.
Back over two hundred years ago, an engineer by the name of Matthew Murray worked there. He was an incredible engineer who mainly made machines and tools for the textile industry, but back in 1812 he made one of the world’s first steam trains. Steam powered machines were the driving force of the Industrial Revolution at the start of the 19th century, and the idea of putting these machines on wheels would transform transport.
Here at the Middleton Railway, Matthew Murray saw this new incredible steam power and the few steam engines already produced and decided to try his skills and build a train. The Salamanca was the result. It might look old and basic now but at the time this was as exciting as building a rocket ship to take us to Mars!! It even made national news; ‘… a steam-engine was mounted upon wheels at Leeds, and made to move along a rail road by means of a rack wheel, dragging after it a number of waggons loaded with coals." Salamanca was not the world’s first steam train, but it was the first one that was able to be reproduced cheaply, allowing steam trains to be built easily all over the world. This led to the revolution of railways into the easy and much loved transport system we have today.
Middleton Railway for many years was a hugely successful business, building and mending steam trains and employing a huge number of local people. When Hunslet Moor Primary School needed a logo that represented our community, the Salamanca seemed like the natural choice. So next time you look at the train on our school badge remember the engineering heritage that it represents. Matthew Murray took a new and exciting idea and turned it into a global success story simply by applying the knowledge and problem solving skills he learnt at school.