John Blenkinsop (1783 – 22 January 1831) was an English mining engineer and an inventor of steam locomotives, who designed the first practical railway locomotive.
He was born in Felling, County Durham, the son of a stonemason and was apprenticed to his cousin, Thomas Barnes, a Northumberland coal viewer. From 1808 he became agent to Charles John Brandling, who owned collieries on his Middleton estate near Leeds and whose family came from Felling. From then until his death, Blenkinsop lived at Middleton Hall on Town Street, Middleton, built in the 17th century as the Brandling family's Middleton home (they used the far more modern Middleton Lodge when visiting from their Tyneside homes).
Blenkinsop and the Middleton Railway
In 1758 the Brandlings had built a wooden wagonway to carry coal into Leeds, using horse-drawn vehicles, now known as the Middleton Railway. Not all the land traversed by the wagonway belonged to Brandling, and it was the first railway to be auth