Today’s Object of the Week is a building, which dates from the dawn of the railways.

THE North-East has had more than its fair share of railway pioneers, but one name which may not be as familiar as others is Daniel Adamson.

That is unless you live in Shildon, where Daniel Adamson’s Coachhouse still stands – opposite what was once the Grey Horse pub, of which he was the proprietor.

When the Stockton and Darlington Railway opened on September 27, 1825, Daniel Snr was well placed in his pub, which was half-a-mile away from where Locomotion No 1 began its inaugural journey outside the Masons Arms.

Daniel celebrated by hiring an itinerant fiddler to play in the Grey Horse and leaving a barrel of ale in the hedgeside so anyone passing could wet the railway’s head.

In the early days, the railway allowed anyone to put a horsedrawn coach on the tracks and run a passenger service between the towns.

Daniel seized the opportunity and from 1827 ran a coach called Perseverance from the Masons the eight miles into Darlington.

Over the road from the Grey Horse, Daniel built a coachhouse to keep the Perseverance in and for passengers to congregate in.

Daniel died in February 1832, probably a victim of a cholera epidemic, and his son, William, 27, took on the pub and Perseverance.

In 1833, the railway banned horsedrawn coaches from its tracks because steampower was taking hold, and so the Adamsons lost their travel business.

However, the coachhouse survived and the building which housed it still stands in the same spot to this day.

Daniel Snr had 15 children, the 13th of which – also named Daniel – was likely born in the Grey Horse on April 30, 1920.

The Northern Echo: Daniel Adamson Jnr, who became a success in is own rightDaniel Adamson Jnr, who became a success in is own right

Daniel Jnr was apprenticed to Timothy Hackworth at the Shildon engine works, built his first locomotive in his teens and went on to become manager of the works.

He progressed to become a wealthy and successful industrial entrepreneur, moving to the North-West where he set up an iron works in Cheshire and then Manchester where he is principally remembered as the driving force behind the Manchester Ship Canal

His expertise was in big demand across Europe. In 1889, the Italian government asked him to advise on the potential of iron mines on the island of Elba. He went over, caught an infection, and died on January 13, 1890.

But he was not forgotten. In 1936, one of the tugs on the canal was refitted and renamed in his honour.

* Thanks to David Simpson of England's North-East – englandsnortheast.co.uk/ – and The Northern Echo's Chris Lloyd for their help in compiling this feature.