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Edward Thompson: Both sides of the Story. Discussion 2012 - 2019

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by S.A.C. Martin, May 2, 2012.

  1. Hermod

    Hermod New Member

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    There is a divindend rate for the big four 1930-39 in a book ISBN 9780860936664 THE GWR EXPOSED.
    For the two last peace years it was averaged 2% for GWR by draining some funds 1.75% from LMS,nil from LNER and 5 from SR.
    SR could afford Bulleid.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
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  2. ross

    ross Member

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    Lets try a thought experiment:
    ET. " Good news, I can do a new build of my idea of a utility pacific. We just have to call it a rebuild because the Ministry of Supply won't let us have the steel otherwise."
    Musgrave. " No problem. Half the fleet is knackered. Why no steel?"
    ET. "They need it for Rolls-Royce Merlin engines-they'll win the war you know.
    Musgrave. "Sign of the times, I suppose. Anyway, there's an A1 come in, that's not A1 any more. Bad cylinders, bad frames, bad everything. Might as well scrap it for your new build."
    ET. "Oh that's settled then. Which A1?"
    Musgrave. "Its the oldest one, 4470."
    ET "Y0u you can't scrap Great Northern! She was Gresley's first one. They'll Nock us to bits if we scrap that one"
    Musgrave "It would be the third "heavy general" for 4470. I doubt there's much left of the original. Look, if your going to be sentimental about it, put the plates on your new "rebuild". Keep the name alive and all that"
    ET, "I suppose 'rebuilt' is more dignified than 'cut up for scrap'. Go on then"
     
  3. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    Adrian Vaughan was involved in a very interesting book...

    "The Great Western’s Last Year. A history of the business and the operating of the railway in 1947". 2013. ISBN 978-0-7524-6532-6

    Very informative. Things were quite a bit more complicated in 1947 than is glossed over now. And a certain Harold MacMillan regularly attends GWR board meetings as a Director of the GWR, and had a lifetime 'Gold Pass' for 1st class travel. Something often missed in the Beeching and Marples era under his premiership, and not the slightest mention of his GWR directorship in his memoirs, or Alistair Horne's official biography.

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
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  4. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member

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    Did it remain valid under BR, I wonder?
     
  5. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Thank you for the reading recommendations, @Hermod & @jma1009 thanks to Libraries West both are reserved & on their way
     
  6. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    I understand all lifetime passes of that sort did remain valid and still would today.

    It's unlikely, but there may well be people alive today who still hold priv passes on the grounds that they are the child of a Big Four senior manager or board member!
     
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  7. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    She died some years ago but I did know of a woman who got a BR Pension & Pass as the dependant daughter of a Barry Railways manager. I gather her mother died when she was a child so she got it by virtue of 'keeping house' for her father & disabled brother..................
     
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  8. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    I believe this was an accounting "fiddle" although I cannot provide any evidence to back this up. The GWR wanted some more 4-6-0s and could massage their accounts by "rebuilding" older engines rather than building new ones. I have just realised that this statement is terrible thread drift and I humbly apologise.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  9. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I don’t think it is thread drift actually - I think Thompson had to do similar things to get his designs done too...
     
  10. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I think its accepted that it happened all the time, look at the - alleggedly rebuilt Prince of Wales on the VofR
     
  11. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    I wonder if this would have been John Auld's daughter, Collett's much under rated deputy in Collett's later years?

    https://spellerweb.net/rhindex/UKRH/GreatWestern/Narrowgauge/Auld.html

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Is there evidence they were "very upset" at the time, in the middle of a total war? Or did they subsequently express that upset as old men in the 1960s and 1970s looking back at those times, possibly with a degree of rose tinted vision?

    Clearly, there are examples where a body of men show a loyalty to an old, revered boss, and fail to gel with a newcomer. But the middle of a total war is not generally a period known for sentimentality: "gives us the tools for the job" being the prevailing ethos. The people in the workshop would be well familiar with the degree of substitution and replacement of components that took place at every overhaul, and clearly weren't beholden to the modern, erroneous, notion that somehow the frames define the identity of a loco. So I am struggling to see that there would have been widespread concern in the 1940s about 4470 as a physical tangible object. (Preserving the name may have been seen to have had a significance of course).

    Tom
     
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  13. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    All passes for directors of the 'big four' were valid in BR days, in Harold MacMillan's case until his death in 1986. Especially important perhaps in his case as he never learnt to drive a car, and Lady Dorothy was the chauffeur when ministerial cars were not at his disposal.

    I don't want to get too off topic, but various bits of MacMillan's memoirs and official biography illustrate how the official biography - or written by the man himself - was, as a matter of record, considerably far from the truth, and historians and researchers need to be mindful of this. The key personalities rarely give a true account of controversial incidents. One such is the 'Euston Arch' in MacMillan's case. Betjeman's biographer Bevis Hillier provides a quite different account of Betjeman having a meeting with MacMillan that was no doubt far more accurate.

    I merely throw this into the ring when, for example, considering Bert Spencer's recollections, and how Thompson dealt with him. The leading players rarely provide an accurate account, but the chorus and understudies often provide a far more believable and detailed account.

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
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  14. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    If you are offering sources Julian, by all means share them.

    I think there's a lot of merit in what you say here Tom, but - being fair to what I know and what I have found - I think there was at the time a genuine air of dismay and some anger from some individuals towards the choice of 4470 being rebuilt. Note that I say individuals - I do not believe it was in any way as bad as has been made out after the event.

    The problem is that the anger was entirely misplaced.

    Aiming at Thompson the ire for a choice that a subordinate made is the issue here. Teddy Windle is known to have remonstrated with Thompson over the choice of the locomotive and it is likely that Thompson responded - equally - that the choice had not been his, the die was cast and that was the end of it. Dick Hardy (who was actually working on Great Northern as a draughtsmen - see Steam in the Blood) reported this accordingly in Steam World magazine.

    I do also think Thompson did not exercise a lot of tact during the war. He had not intended any of his locomotives to be named. I think it is far more likely that the issue was about the potential loss of the locomotive's name. There was a grievance felt when the rebuilt P2s came out nameless, and these were eventually restored to them. Losing the name Great Northern may well have caused some consternation, yet the locomotive emerged with the name.

    Right - so you would accept Bert Spencer's account, when he had been dismissed from the main team and was not working at Doncaster throughout the whole of the time that Thompson was CME and working on the rebuilt P2 and A1 designs, but you would choose to ignore Dick Hardy's recollections, when he was one of the draughtsmen who actually worked on the re-design of Great Northern, and was actually physically there to witness the whole thing and said, in interview, on numerous occasions, that no such thing happened?

    You cannot have it both ways Julian. Do we listen to the man who wasn't there, or the one who was? Who is more likely to be correct? I know which horse I am backing there.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  15. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Duplicate post (sorry everyone).
     
  16. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    Yes, there was!

    And the 'Great Northern' rebuild by Thompson wasn't done 'in the middle of total war' but pretty much as WW2 ended in 1945.

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Well-Known Member

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    And a junior minister in the government at the time - William Whitelaw (grandson of Highland, North British and LNER chairman William Whitelaw). I seem to recall a few others had seats on boards and in Parliament.
     
  18. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Oh no, there wasn’t... #panto

    Don’t think you’ve quite grasped this Julian, but the locomotive emerged from a rebuild taking the best part of a year in September 1945 with the redesign and drawing work taking around two years up to its emergence.

    When did the war end? 2nd September 1945. When did Great Northern enter traffic? A few weeks later.

    Unless you’re suggesting Doncaster Works with minimal foundry capacity, workshop space and similar enacted the fastest design and build of a Pacific locomotive in living history, I think we can dispense with your inaccuracies here.
     
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  19. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    Come on Simon!

    Hardy was a premium apprentice same as Allan Garraway was, and Hardy was clearly biased in my opinion due to Thompson's favouritism towards him due to 'the old school tie'. I haven't read any account that Hardy was in the drawing office involved in the 'Great Northern's 're-design'.

    Your dismissive approach to Bert Spencer is pretty much about what we have all been arguing about on this thread and a previous thread. Who removed him from Doncaster?

    Have a think about it please.

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    I wonder which of us sounds the more reasonable at this point Julian?

    Your view is based on opinion. You are effectively saying Hardy was lying or obfuscating what had happened.

    You say in one breath that the “chorus and understudies” provide a more believable and detailed account and when I point to one who was there and put his views on record you dismiss it.

    The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

    Go read Steam in the Blood then. I’ll happily send you a copy of the steam world article Hardy wrote too.

    The point being made Julian was that Hardy was there and Spencer wasn’t.

    That is a fact: take it or leave it.

    I could just as easily argue that Spencer’s recollections are the embittered response to being removed from his post by Thompson in much the same way you have dismissed Hardy’s views.

    It wouldn’t be fair, or balanced, so I won’t, but in the question of “who is more likely to have had a good view of what happened at the time” the man who was physically working with Thompson on the loco design in question and was there throughout gets the nod.
     
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