Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

This forum is for the discussion of LNER personalities, and for use by people researching their ancestors.

Moderators: 52D, Rlangham, richard, 2750, Atlantic 3279, Colombo, Blink Bonny, Saint Johnstoun

silverfox
NBR D34 4-4-0 'Glen'
Posts: 258
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:49 pm

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by silverfox » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:39 am

Conspiracy Theories Part 195!

One that i havent yet seen is the the reason why Thompson took the actions he did.

And i only offer this forward as food for the Thompson haters, Of which i am NOT one, I just feel like putting forward a totally stupid and crass possibility to see if someone wearing his tinfoil hat takes it as gospel

So The reason Thompson did what he did to 4470 and the P2 is that the new LNER company overlooked Sir Vincent Raven and chose Gresley.
As He was married to Ravens daughter, he took this as a personal slight on him and his family and as they say revenge is best served cold

Totally complete and utter 100% hogwash and just thought up this minute, but someone will grab hold of it.

Just off to see 61306 through Crowthorne
Ron

jwealleans
LNER A4 4-6-2 'Streak'
Posts: 3204
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:46 am

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by jwealleans » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:59 am

I'm very loath to dig this debate up - it never goes anywhere and no-one changes their mind. Those who were there are long departed in the main and we only have their written accounts to look to. In the main, though, those accounts give a negative impression of Thompson the man, who clearly never engendered the affection in colleagues and subordinates which Gresley did before him and Peppercorn after.

It is my understanding that 4470 simply happened to be the next A1 in line for upgrading to A3. Depending whose accounts you read, either Thompson was advised of the symbolic implication of rebuilding it and chose to go ahead anyway or the then Works Manager insisted that that locomotive had to be used either because he was anti-GN or anti-Gresley or both. It seems to me that Thompson must have been aware of the ramifications and went ahead anyway. Had it been a roaring success, maybe history would have judged him differently.

What is less in doubt is the uproar from the Scottish Area when the P2s were called in for rebuilding and the fact that they were overruled and the locomotives taken away anyway. Leaving aside the engineering merits or otherwise of the rebuilds, that was not a move which was ever going to make the man popular.

Thompson clearly wasn't terribly bothered what others thought of him and maybe has suffered the posthumous effects of that where others - deliberately or instinctively - were more politically adept.

User avatar
S.A.C. Martin
LNER A4 4-6-2 'Streak'
Posts: 1961
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:11 pm

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:13 pm

I'm sorry to disagree with you both, but the research I've done has - without a shadow of a doubt - removed any doubts I had over 4470's choice.

The locomotive selected for rebuilding was not Thompson's choice or decision to make aside from starting the project to experimentally rebuild an A10 in the first place.

The choice of the oldest A10 came from a different source, and Thompson had no bearing on whether or not the choice was settled.

It has been described to me thusly as a "happy coincidence" for Thompson: he himself had affinity with the Great Northern, and felt if his ideas were sound, then it was at least a worthy locomotive on which to showcase these.

4470 herself was not a bad locomotive by any means - hamstrung by the Thompson front end, like all of his Pacifics, but otherwise superior to the A10s and both A3s and majority of the A4s before the mass fitting of Kylchaps.

The constant and wearying conspiracy theories regarding her choice are made by those who are always in the Gresley camp, and by those who haven't looked into how the department of the CME was run. They seem to think the CME had powers beyond that they actually had, and if they cared to look into it further they'd discover just how acropyphal these stories are.

Regarding the P2s - I've had delivery of a few contemporary documents this week regarding the P2s and the idea that the operating department in Scotland was aghast at the rebuilding and taking away the P2s is both inaccurate and ludicrous given the locomotives' fuel consumptions and failure rate in wartime.

No.2005 was compared to the originals for nearly a year before they were all authorised for rebuilding and the results of 2005's work were given to the board for approval.

Unfortunately we have only had one, very loud, side of the story for so long and it may well be it takes a younger and more receptive generation for the damage to Thompson's reputation to be fixed.

65447
LNER A3 4-6-2
Posts: 1395
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Overlooking the GEML

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by 65447 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:45 pm

S.A.C. Martin wrote: Regarding the P2s - I've had delivery of a few contemporary documents this week regarding the P2s and the idea that the operating department in Scotland was aghast at the rebuilding and taking away the P2s is both inaccurate and ludicrous given the locomotives' fuel consumptions and failure rate in wartime.
Missing from that argument is their operating schedules, where the P2s were rostered to workings so inefficiently that ANY locomotive would exhibit dire returns of coal and water consumption per mile, failure rates and all the other meaningful in-service performance measures. They were treated much of the time as stationary boilers but with no means of consuming the power being generated; no locomotives should have been so abused.
Unfortunately we have only had one, very loud, side of the story for so long and it may well be it takes a younger and more receptive generation for the damage to Thompson's reputation to be fixed.
As the person who has most to gain by promoting this debate and the book that you are working on - and does so unremittingly on various forums - surely it would be appropriate for you to hold back and observe the points put for and against? Do you not realise that the more you shout, the more likely the pro-Gresley camp will shout back?

Further, the 'compare and contrast' exercise should surely be continued with Peppercorn's short term as CME and what he changed with respect to Thompson's oeuvre? Then it might be a truly genuine comparison between the LNER CMEs.

User avatar
S.A.C. Martin
LNER A4 4-6-2 'Streak'
Posts: 1961
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:11 pm

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Post by S.A.C. Martin » Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:04 pm

65447 wrote: Missing from that argument is their operating schedules, where the P2s were rostered to workings so inefficiently that ANY locomotive would exhibit dire returns of coal and water consumption per mile, failure rates and all the other meaningful in-service performance measures. They were treated much of the time as stationary boilers but with no means of consuming the power being generated; no locomotives should have been so abused.
Of course you must appreciate the above was not a detailed look and a summation: and of course (and I say as much in my current draft) that the fuel consumption figures quoted do not often take this into account.
As the person who has most to gain by promoting this debate and the book that you are working on - and does so unremittingly on various forums - surely it would be appropriate for you to hold back and observe the points put for and against? Do you not realise that the more you shout, the more likely the pro-Gresley camp will shout back?
It's interesting how often people cite the book as "most to gain". I have no interest in the monetary value of publishing a book whatsoever: that I published my last one off my own bat and out of my own pocket (and subsequently donated a number of them to good railway related causes) should be proof enough of that.

I'm not shouting: I'm putting forward the alternative. The pro-Gresley camp has had seventy years and more of putting forward their view, and it is time for more of the whole story to be told and for an examination of why it has been told the way it is too. I suggest that I have less to gain than the pro-Gresley camp has to lose by publishing my book and I am in no doubt I will ruffle a huge number of feathers. That's the point, partly: for too long it has been a one sided argument and some awful untruths have been made about the man.
Further, the 'compare and contrast' exercise should surely be continued with Peppercorn's short term as CME and what he changed with respect to Thompson's oeuvre? Then it might be a truly genuine comparison between the LNER CMEs.
He changed very little as it happens: aside from the Pacific outline and some minor modifications to the K1 and L1 designs.

All other ventures continued as planned including finishing the building of the B1s and the continued rebuilding of certain classes, as and when the boilers came up for renewal (see O4 to O1 and similar).

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests