HOW refreshing to see the support given by Michael Palin to the Locomotion No. 1 campaign “Michael Palin backs campaign” (Echo, Nov 12).

He must understand the historical significance of its identity with the town of Darlington and the role Edward Pease played in the establishment of the railway.

In 1817 Edward Pease withdrew from full time business to devote himself to a canal or railway project but when the Stockton contingent suddenly decided to finance a canal survey that by-passed Darlington he was determined to keep Darlington in the ‘loop’ and formed a committee with others to form a horse drawn railway instead.

Later Edward gave the £7,000 which was needed to save the railway project from failure of getting through Parliament. After famously meeting George Stephenson in 1821 and employing him as engineer on the S & D line he became convinced of the future power of the locomotive engine and helped to form the company to build the world famous Locomotion Engine No.1 and with George Stephenson went on to oversee its development.

Over the many years that I have worked as a local historian I have realised that many of our Northern treasures that have been found in the area such as medieval, Roman and Civil war helmets and other ancient artefacts have often been spirited away to other institutions.

Locomotion Engine No.1 is an icon of the town of Darlington – don’t give away this jewel in our crown – please sign the petition and keep Locomotion No. 1 in the heart of Darlington!

Jean Kirkland, Darlington.