Driver Tom Blades

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wallis11
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Driver Tom Blades

Post by wallis11 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:23 pm

My Great Grandfather was Tom Blades, whose career culminated in the Flying Scotsman record breaking non-stop run from King's Cross to Edinburgh on 1st May 1928 (he was the relief driver from Tollerton to Edinburgh Waverley).

The Blades family was a large family based in Gateshead, however little information on my Great Grandfathers career was passed through the family. Over the last year I have been doing research on Tom Blades and have gathered a lot of information on him and his career including a couple of photo's (including one taken at Edinburgh Waverley station on his record breaking arrival in 1928).
A lot of info on work records and pension records were available from Head of Steam museum in Darlington, who were really helpful. Also found the National Railway Museum was very helpful in providing several articles.

One thing I have not been able to find however is any newspaper articles from the period and was wondering if anyone could give advice on where best to search for newspaper articles.

Also if anyone has any other information would be greatly received

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strang steel
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by strang steel » Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:16 pm

The British Newspaper Archive is the one that I use for articles about family members from the past.

http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

However, you do have to subscribe to get access to the ful archive, and many pages seem to have been scanned and then converted to text electronically, so there are bits that are undecipherable where the software cannot "read" the scan.

I will have a quick search to see what I can find.
John

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strang steel
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by strang steel » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:16 pm

I can't find much in the newspapers, mainly because my subscription seems to have expired, but most of the search results seemed to revolve around razor blades, or Sheffield Utd FC.

In the LNER magazine for 1927, there is an article about the inauguration of a non-stop service to Newcastle; the 0950 from Kings Cross and it mentions driver T Blades working the second day's service on Thursday July 14th 1927 with fireman W Morris. The loco was 2569 Gladiateur and arrival in Newcastle was 6 minutes early.

And then in 1928 the inaugural run of the non-stop Flying Scotsman is mentioned where T Blades and W Morris took over the engine at Tollerton (via the corridor tender) from the Kings Cross crew (Pibworth and Goddard).
John

wallis11
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by wallis11 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:08 pm

Thanks for the replies john and for the references to the lner magazine -very much appreciated

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strang steel
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by strang steel » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:08 pm

The 1929 LNER magazine has another mention of excellent running on the Flying Scotsman, this time on April 3rd. The down train again with pacific 2569 and driver T Blades/fireman W Morris in charge, left Kings Cross on time but encountered 9 minutes of delays en-route, but was right time into Newcastle. The load was said to be 496 tons from Kings Cross, and 530 tons from Grantham.

Tom Blades was obviously highly skilled at making up time - another Bill Hoole perhaps?

On May 6th 1929 the 4:30 a.m. Newcastle to Edinburgh left Newcastle 18 minutes late, but arrived in Edinburgh 1 minute early. The loco this day was 2575 Galopin with a train of 344 tons, T Blades working with fireman J R Green.
John

wallis11
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by wallis11 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:45 pm

Thanks again for further follow-up john. I found out through my research that Tom Blades did do a lot of time trial work and was a top link driver. My research has got back to 1895 and The Race to the North races between East an West coast trains between Kings Cross and Aberdeen when my Great Grandfather was at that time a fireman on train M class 4-4-0 engine no. 1620 and driver was Bob Nicholson. They raced the stretch from Newcastle to Edinburgh. This is detailed in the book "Railway Race to the North" by O.S. nock and well worth a read, it has some amazing description of racing train rivalry, and for me explains a little of how he ended up driving the Flying Scotsman some 33 years later towards the end of his career.

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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by Trafford Park » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:39 pm

Tom Blades was the fireman on 1621's record run from Newcastle to Edinburgh during the 1895 Race to the North.

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strang steel
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by strang steel » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:34 pm

wallis11 wrote:Thanks again for further follow-up john. I found out through my research that Tom Blades did do a lot of time trial work and was a top link driver. My research has got back to 1895 and The Race to the North races between East an West coast trains between Kings Cross and Aberdeen when my Great Grandfather was at that time a fireman on train M class 4-4-0 engine no. 1620 and driver was Bob Nicholson. They raced the stretch from Newcastle to Edinburgh. This is detailed in the book "Railway Race to the North" by O.S. nock and well worth a read, it has some amazing description of racing train rivalry, and for me explains a little of how he ended up driving the Flying Scotsman some 33 years later towards the end of his career.
Yes, the LNER gives a retirement date of Dec 1st 1930.
John

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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by wallis11 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:37 pm

Hi - just thought I would post one of the only two photo's I have of my Great Grandfather Tom Blades - this is reported (by Head of Steam Museum in Darlington) to have been taken next to one of the wheels of the Flying Scotsman 4472. Don't know who took the photo or when exactly, but think it's a great photo
Attachments
Tom-Blades-After.jpg

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Blink Bonny
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by Blink Bonny » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:49 pm

What a cracking photo!

Well done!
If I ain't here, I'm in Bilston, scoffing decent chips at last!!!!

TBfan1
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by TBfan1 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:50 pm

Was excited to read your posts - I always assume I am the only surviving great-grandchild of Thomas Blades!
(Although the fact that my cousin put me onto this link makes nonsense of that!) I have the same photo that you submitted, and I can actually remember the man himself, although he died when I was only 5.
My husband sent a lot of photocopied records to the National Railway MUseum in York last year.
:roll:

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52D
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by 52D » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:22 pm

Blink Bonny wrote:What a cracking photo!

Well done!
I second BBs comments an excellent pic.
Hi interested in the area served by 52D. also researching colliery wagonways from same area.

wallis11
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by wallis11 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:21 pm

Hi TBfan 1 - great to see your note and great to know that there is also someone else in the family interested in Tom Blades life and career - I've done a load of research and have now got loads of journal and book articles - I would be only to happy to share these with you and would really appreciate it if you would be prepared to share any of the articles / material you mention you have with me - I also managed to discovery another great photo of Tom Blades in an LNER journal on the platform at Edinburgh station at the end of his record breaking run and happy to send you a copy of that.

Would be great to get in touch to share information and drop me a private message so could perhaps exchange articles via e-mail

rosieblades13
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by rosieblades13 » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:38 am

Hi, I'm brand new to this site so I don't know if I'm doing it right so please bear with me! I've just seen the Flying Scotsman on tv and put in a search which has led me here - Thomas Blades was my great grandfather, this is the first time I've ever been able to find a decent source of information about him, although I have a book which contains a few paragraphs about his connection with the Flying Scotsman, it appears that I have family members on this site and would be interested to know who and where they are etc. It was also interesting to see the photograph of him on here, my mum has that actual photograph in her possession, I was looking at it only a few months ago. It would be nice to hear from anyone who is either connected personally or who may have more information about Thomas Blades, if you do please get in touch!

CWarby81
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Re: Driver Tom Blades

Post by CWarby81 » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:51 pm

Hi RosieBlades13,
Thomas Blades was my great great grandfather who married Ellinor Marlowe. He had a son also called Thomas Blades who married Beatrice Purvis.
If you have the same information then that means we are related???
Please message me.
Regards
CWarby81

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