Page 12 of 13

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:14 am
by richard
SAC Martin: I had received complaints about civility in the thread, hence a "shot across the bow" or a "clearing of the moderatorial throat".
A "bring it on attitude" suggests you missed that.

I did not express an opinion either way on Thompson (you can probably find it elsewhere in the forums - he could clearly design a good locomotive, and some of his rebuilds were well considered). Maybe I'll read your book I don't know. There are pro-Thompson books around, from memory there's an Oakwood one but that is more of a biography than a technical treatise.

As for "cancel culture": This is just a meaningless tabloid catchphrase. In that more public sphere, those complaining about a "cancel culture" can invariably a week or two later be found calling for some boycott or other.

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 9:33 am
by strang steel
Dave S wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 1:19 am Not having an opinion either way on Thompson I'll be interested in reading it if it's evidence based.

Any idea on a possible publication date ?
Same here.

I am always interested in well researched books even if they do challenge the hereto official narrative.

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:13 am
by S.A.C. Martin
richard wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:14 am SAC Martin: I had received complaints about civility in the thread, hence a "shot across the bow" or a "clearing of the moderatorial throat".
A "bring it on attitude" suggests you missed that.
Well with respect Richard, the only things I can see being in any way "uncivil" are those aimed at me. So was the shot across the bow necessary? I note you've not highlighted Mick's rather unpleasant comment last night towards myself. Rather unfair no?
I did not express an opinion either way on Thompson (you can probably find it elsewhere in the forums - he could clearly design a good locomotive, and some of his rebuilds were well considered). Maybe I'll read your book I don't know. There are pro-Thompson books around, from memory there's an Oakwood one but that is more of a biography than a technical treatise.
It's not about being "pro Thompson" and this is part of the frustration with the reluctance from LNER enthusiasts to actually embrace primary evidence. What I have discovered and what i am reporting are facts. There are reports, statistics, and more, from the LNER itself. It's not put forward to pro-Thompson but it does in presenting it highlight what an insane amount of misinformation there is out there about him, I'm afraid.
As for "cancel culture": This is just a meaningless tabloid catchphrase. In that more public sphere, those complaining about a "cancel culture" can invariably a week or two later be found calling for some boycott or other.
With respect Richard - I'll happily send you a preview of the book and you can make your own mind up. But "cancel culture" is definitely apt when it comes to talking about Thompson I am afraid. So many writers have written incredible untruths that have muddied the waters - sometimes, deliberately, it seems.

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:14 am
by S.A.C. Martin
To the gents asking if the book is evidence based - yes it is. New evidence has come to light from old archives of the LNER. I am reporting on it. The book has been written to be as objective as possible.

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:22 am
by drmditch
strang steel wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 9:33 am
Dave S wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 1:19 am Not having an opinion either way on Thompson I'll be interested in reading it if it's evidence based.

Any idea on a possible publication date ?
Same here.

I am always interested in well researched books even if they do challenge the hereto official narrative.
Likewise.
(and I try to judge a book by it's contents, rather than my own pre-conceptions.)
Are we likely to get it this winter?
A good bit of detailed historical research may liven up the dark days ahead!

Mind you, there is, in my opinion, a constant generational issue in changing appreciations of historical context.
As an example coal usage, distribution and handling, some of which I can remember, is now difficult for younger people to relate to.
I think this is probably part of the human condition.

Were coal-cellars always smelly, or was it just ours?

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:54 am
by Dave S
drmditch wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:22 am Were coal-cellars always smelly, or was it just ours?
I'll ask the housekeeper and staff....they'll know the answer.. :lol:

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:22 pm
by harvester
Gentlemen,
From this distance in time a lot of views expressed about particular locomotives are largely a matter of a personal preference, drawn from reading literature and maybe even personal observations , I doubt any of us will have experience of driving and maintaining locomotives on the main line prior to the 1960's . What are favourite locomotives will remain favourites but any thing which helps illuminate the different classes performance can only be of great interest . I have no real idea of the actual day to day performance of of LNER pacifics and have only personal favourites from the numerous books on the subject and lineside observations. No matter what A3's will be my personal favourite and as we all know they would "steam on a Woodbine" and outrun a HST on ascending Stoke Bank, never the less I look forward to reading a well researched book on Thompson locomotives.

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:38 pm
by S.A.C. Martin
harvester wrote: Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:22 pm Gentlemen,
From this distance in time a lot of views expressed about particular locomotives are largely a matter of a personal preference, drawn from reading literature and maybe even personal observations , I doubt any of us will have experience of driving and maintaining locomotives on the main line prior to the 1960's . What are favourite locomotives will remain favourites but any thing which helps illuminate the different classes performance can only be of great interest . I have no real idea of the actual day to day performance of of LNER pacifics and have only personal favourites from the numerous books on the subject and lineside observations. No matter what A3's will be my personal favourite and as we all know they would "steam on a Woodbine" and outrun a HST on ascending Stoke Bank, never the less I look forward to reading a well researched book on Thompson locomotives.
Thank you for your thoughts. I hope that my book when published does go into the category of "well researched" - there's certainly a huge amount of work done to bring new (or perhaps: forgotten) information to the fore.

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:34 pm
by 52A
I am not old enough to have had a lot to do with the Thompson rebuilds I only fired a few and they were all rough riding coal gobblers. I did speak to lots of the older generation and they were not well liked for that reason. I have seen Thompson described as vain, autocratic and also charming, I suppose we all have our own points of view!

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:08 pm
by Paul_sterling
Afternoon Folks,

On looking over some information about J.F. Harrison, I stumbled across a note in regards to Gresley and Thompson.

https://www.steamindex.com/people/bond.htm

"Sir Ronald Matthews lived in Doncaster, and was also Chairman of the Sheffield firm of Turton Brothers and Matthews, and had been Master Cutler. Both Gresley and Thompson were his house guests, and evidently close, as Prudence, one of the Matthews daughters, recalls them as 'Uncle Tim' and 'Uncle Ned'. On paper. Thompson should have been the automatic choice to succeed Gresley"

It could be as a result of unclear writing, but I find the comments in regards to Thompson and Gresley, fascinating, even if this is the only piece I've found to reference them in a positive light together.

The remainder of the quote is in the link listed, towards the bottom of the page, but also notes about how R.C. Bond, as well as Bullied, were early choices to succeed Gresley, upon his untimely passing. Bullied being recalled from the SR, I have seen referenced elsewhere, but Bond as a suitor, no that's a new one to me, nd on the initial face of it, seems odd in his passing up of a position higher than his then incumbent one (Crewe works Superintendent), but that being said, this may well have been owing to what appears to be a desperate situation at Crewe during WW2 and issues around repairs.

Paul.

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:41 am
by S.A.C. Martin
Hi Paul,

This is one of the key issues I have researched and discussed in the book I've been writing - but there's absolutely no truth whatsoever in what was claimed.

There were no approaches to Bond or Bulleid. Thompson was effectively already working as the C.M.E. in several ways before Gresley passed away, and Peppercorn was also working effectively as his assistant too. The time covering Gresley's passing, funeral and Thompson's official appointment by the board was less than three weeks, and there was no discussion of approaching anyone.

All informal and formal approaches had to be agreed by the board of directors - these had always been recorded in the board minutes, going back to 1923 - and there are no such records for Bond or Bulleid, or anyone else.

Thompson was the first - and only - choice and the LNER Emergency Board of WW2 acted swiftly to appoint him.

I can be confident in saying that as I have a full copy of the board minutes for 1923-48, photographed by myself over a three week sojourn at the National Archives at Kew, and I have read them in full.

The Edward Thompson story has been totally muddied by a number of falsehoods and outright lies, I am afraid - where Hughes is concerned, I believe he in good faith repeated a story given to him - but he did not do the primary evidence evaluation he should have done to ascertain if the story was in fact true.

Which - I am afraid - it is not, and should be struck from the record.

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:04 pm
by john coffin
I wonder what has happened to this book?

I note that in the latest issue of The Railway Magazine, there is an article that is based on Mr Martin's work
but more importantly Pen and Sword have published February this year a book on Thompson. Written by Tim Hillier -Grave
Wonder if this means there is no more appetite for such a book right now??????

Hilier-Grave has written a number of books recently, and has one about Peppercorn coming out on April 30th this year.
Does though make you wonder how deep his research is. A recent book on Gresley and his team seems to have
been pretty well researched though.

No connection with the company or author, just interested.

Paul

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:12 am
by S.A.C. Martin
john coffin wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:04 pm I wonder what has happened to this book?
Hi Paul,

I am working on edits for the publisher as we speak. The book will likely be printed in June/July and out in August.
I note that in the latest issue of The Railway Magazine, there is an article that is based on Mr Martin's work
Yes: I did a lockdown interview with Nicola Fox and was happy to share the fruits of my research.
but more importantly Pen and Sword have published February this year a book on Thompson. Written by Tim Hillier -Grave
Wonder if this means there is no more appetite for such a book right now??????
if there was no appetite, I wouldn't have a publisher. Wishful thinking on your part Paul? I hope not, there is nothing for anyone to fear from the publishing of my book.
Hilier-Grave has written a number of books recently, and has one about Peppercorn coming out on April 30th this year.
Does though make you wonder how deep his research is. A recent book on Gresley and his team seems to have
been pretty well researched though.

No connection with the company or author, just interested.

Paul
With respect to Mr Hillier-Graves - the depth of his Thompson research is not good enough and there are some inaccuracies throughout his tome. I do however welcome another voice pointing out some of the more farcical claims about Thompson and exposing some of the nonsense written on his designs.

If we had both been aware the other was writing a book, perhaps instead of two books there'd be one - but I remain supremely confident in my work and the peer-review my research has had from a number of different sources (including a near ten year thread on Nat Pres).

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Sun May 16, 2021 12:55 am
by john coffin
Having now read Tim Hillier Graves book all through, I feel I can comment further.

I/ every book can be improved, and it is always the case that much information only comes out after someone has published
it is a constant surprise to me that people never seem to want to share their research until afterwards.

2/ I agree there are some simple mistakes in the book, but I have not carried out any research on Thompson in other places
to know whether or not his research was as deep as you claim yours is SAC, but to me, the book does some thing different from
many modern books in that it looks carefully at the man, and the reasons why he may, after WW1 have been another man.

3/ PTSD was not recognised until after the Vietnam war, and for many years was called refusal to fight, so people were not happy to
get help, or contemplate that there was anything unusual in their stance and experiences. It seems certain that Thompson suffered
to a greater or lesser degree, and because of life at the time, was not perhaps the easiest man to get along with to some people.

4/ What comes out of the book is that Thompson admired much of the work done by Gresley, indeed he was a great admirer of the
A4 class. So the later stories about trying to destroy the legacy are indeed an interesting insight into the people who said it.

5/ Thompson was not however a designer, he had had no drawing office or similar experience. He was rather a well trained
production engineer, with running experience. When he was appointed, it is important to remember that he too was not in charge
of running sheds, that having been removed from the CME remit in 1923. So instead of having knowledge of the potential problems
he had to rely on second hand information, which re-iterated that during the war, many Gresley locos, because of a lack of staff
in the running sheds, were out of action more frequently than was necessary for the effort.

6/ The whole Great Northern episode could have been handled more expertly, but it is important to remember that the loco was knackered
and thus the only other conclusion would have been scrapping, not a real possibility in the middle of the war. The real problem to me was
and continues to be that the loco went from being beautiful to a bit of a dog, and thus immediately offered people a chance to throw stones.
As we know from Scotsman and its most recent rebuild, the front section of the A1/3 frames was a bit suspect. Nuff said. Same with the P2's

7/In the middle of a war, a new engineer has to experiment, and with no new engine building allowed, rebuilds were the only answer
and the only way to learn. Simplification of the valve gear was a quick and economical way forward.

8/ The B1's were pretty decent machines, but based on the K2, so a 2 cylinder version to some extent.

9/ Mr Martin, you may well have a publisher, but having in my varied career over many years, been the head of a publishing house,
I know that all such companies are in the business of making profits, and frankly, although the railway book market surprises me on
an almost daily basis with what gets published, and then subsequently sells, ie the books on the rail system around Nottingham,
I believe biographies are a different animal, were Thompson more well known in the wider world, then it might well be worth
a punt to try and compete with the book just published, but few are brave enough to compete in such a narrow market in the same year.
I have recently, as a GNR man, bought a couple of books on George Hudson, to us a very controversial man, but to many a fallen
hero. There, the time lag between competing books was more than 10 years.

You have a specific bee in your bonnet about Thompson, and you may well be correct, that he was treated appallingly after retirement
by the railway book market, but two books about the same man within a year of each other, well all I can say is that the second one
has to be every bit as readable as Hillier Graves, and spectacularly different. Few I think now want to read an Ossie Nock style book
with BDHP and runs, nor a schedule of repair differences. If we are to spend our money, it has to be for some thing really different,
and so far, all your words, suggest it might not be enough to entice me to spend on another volume to add to the three I now have.
Certainly I am happy about the way in which Hillier Graves has cleared up much of the Bert Spencer question, and I like some of my
mates believe that R.N. Hardy is one of the best judges of Thompson's character and his engines, since he worked with both.

One of my favourite engineers is Henry Ivatt, but when he took over from Stirling he was castigated by many for the rebuilding of
his predecessor's locos, so everyone who follows a "great engineer" gets sidelined if they change their predecessors work.

Finally, one has to ask, would Gresley have changed much had he lived, since at the time he died, we were losing the war, it is
possible he would have had to, but we will never know. We must judge Thompson on his work in the middle of two wars, and his bravery.


People will always take their own view, based some times on actual experience, and sometimes on hearsay, but trying to definitively
characterise someone from almost 80 years ago, in circumstances that even our present troops cannot understand, is fraught with
danger and can make on take the latest "woke" approach to history.

Mind you, if you can pull it off, change so many people's minds and actually sell a bucket load of books, good luck to you.

Paul

Re: Edward Thompson. Good or Bad

Posted: Sun May 16, 2021 9:57 am
by S.A.C. Martin
Up to you Paul, but it's interesting how insistent you are that there is no market for my book, but are happy to acknowledge another new tome has inaccuracies and that's apparently fine to publish. Most curious!

The "bee in the bonnet" comment - I wonder if every writer who ever wrote about an historical figure gets this sort of commentary?

If I had been writing about Gresley, would this be the same response?