Page last updated at 21:05 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Historic railway factory to close

Stephenson's Works
The factory on South Street was built in 1823

A historic former locomotive factory on Tyneside is being closed to the public.

Stephenson's Works at South Street, where the Rocket locomotive was designed and built, was restored in 2003.

The Robert Stephenson Trust, which carried out the restoration, said it had given up its tenancy after a failure to agree terms for a new lease.

Artefacts, including the original steam engine that powered the 1823 factory, will be displayed elsewhere, it said.

The trust's Jim Coulson said: "The trust is very disappointed that it cannot continue to show visitors round one of Newcastle's most famous buildings.

"However, we feel the work of the trust and its volunteers has not been wasted - the Stephenson's Works will be a major asset to the city for many years to come.

"We are currently negotiating an alternative base in Newcastle to house the collection."

Newcastle's High Level bridge and Central Station were also designed at the factory.

The Rocket is considered by some to be the forerunner of all steam locomotives.

In November, a 200m scheme to transform the surrounding area - known as the Stephenson Quarter - was approved by councillors.

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