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Gresley Statue Kings Cross Altercation

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This has just landed in my inbox:

Latest News from the Gresley Society

 

PRESS RELEASE - IMMEDIATE

 

THE GRESLEY SOCIETY TRUST TO ERECT STATUE OF

SIR NIGEL GRESLEY

AT LONDON’S KING’S CROSS STATION

 

Permissions granted by Network Rail,

Camden Borough Council, and English Heritage.

 

 

London’s King’s Cross station is to be graced by a statue of Sir Nigel Gresley, the renowned mechanical engineer who designed locomotives, carriages and wagons for the London & North Eastern Railway from 1923 until his death in April 1941.  His achievements include the design of Mallard, the fastest steam locomotive in the world, Flying Scotsman, and famous streamline high speed trains such as Silver Jubilee in 1935 and Coronation in 1937.  He also invented vehicle articulation, still used by railway and tramway engineers around the world to this day.   Sir Nigel was knighted for his services to the LNER in 1936.

 

The bronze statue will be a standing figure about seven feet six inches tall, on the same scale as the figure of Sir John Betjeman next door at St. Pancras station.  It will be sculpted by Hazel Reeves SWA, FRSA, who also sculpted maquettes of the figure to assist the Gresley Society Trust in obtaining permissions to erect the statue.

 

Hazel Reeves’ final maquette will now be used by the Gresley Society Trust in raising money for the statue.  The expected cost is £95,000, which the Society is now seeking to raise by public subscription.   Donations may be made to the Gresley Society Trust through its website, It is hoped that all who admire the work of Sir Nigel will wish to be associated with the statue by contributing to its cost.

The statue will be placed in the Western Concourse, beside the entrance to the Ticket Office, by the wall to West Offices where Sir Nigel and his principal assistants worked until the outbreak of war.  Sir Nigel’s likeness will be standing in a familiar pose, holding a copy of The Locomotive magazine.  He will be accompanied by a mallard, symbolic of his most famous locomotive.  Sir Nigel was known for rearing mallards at his pre-war home, Salisbury Hall, near St Albans.  The accompanying wall plaque will carry a QR code, which visitors to the statue may scan by smart phone, to direct them to the Society’s website.  A photo of the maquette is an attachment to this press release.

 

It is planned to unveil the statue on 5 April 2016, the 75th anniversary of the death of Sir Nigel.

 

David McIntosh, Chairman of the Gresley Society Trust, said:  “This is an inspiring project for the Society.  In the past we have erected memorials of various kinds in Edinburgh, York and beside the line where Mallard achieved her record speed, and now we are to honour Sir Nigel in London, where he had his office for the last and most productive eighteen years of his life.”

 

Hazel Reeves, sculptor, said: “I am greatly excited to be deeply involved in this project.  Ever since I was asked to make proposals for the statue, and to create maquettes for its evolution, I have been aware of Sir Nigel Gresley and his considerable contribution to the field of engineering.  Now that we have permission to erect a full-size statue at King’s Cross, I can express my admiration for the man in a very real way.”

 

[3/11/14]

- ENDS -

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You may have seen in the Railway Press last November time that the Gresley Society had commissioned a Statue of Sir Nigel to be sited at Kings Cross and to be unveiled on the 75th anniversary of his death in April 2016

One of the talking points was that there was to be a small mallard duck at his feet, as a link to 4468/60022 and the fact that he bred ducks at hi home. Recently, due to 'discussions with  people and members whose opinion we valued and did not want to fall out with' and objections from Gresleys Grandsons,one of whom i understand was at the meeting where the maquette was unveiled and the impassioned plea for donations was made, the duck has been removed.so why did it take three months to voice his/their objections

Is this a wise move? now it is only a statue, the duck would have been a talking point,and possibly got younger people interested in the man and the society. Also what about the opinions of those who may have donated, possibly substantial sums,primarily because of the duck. do their opinions not count? and no chance of getting their money back!!

Or was it a cynical hidden agenda to get money in... surely not?

 Still again it seems it is the will of the few trampling over the wishes of the many. Sadly another facet of todays society raising its ugly head.

I fully expect ducks to appear adjacent to it on a regular basis once it has been erected, many of which will not be as subtle of the original.

 

There are several facebook/twitter feeds to get the duck reinstated

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You may have seen in the Railway Press last November time that the Gresley Society had commissioned a Statue of Sir Nigel to be sited at Kings Cross and to be unveiled on the 75th anniversary of his death in April 2016.

Times article on the duck fracas here.

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I think it's a great shame, I was thinking of donating but I won't now. The Gresley Society have made fools of themselves and since they have now made a point of saying how little the contributions from the public matter to them, I shan't bother. Very sad indeed.

 

They sought donations based on a particular mock-up, and I am sorry but a statue erected by public subscription is an honour conferred by the people, not something that the subject's family ought to have power of veto over. This will just be a bronze man now - far less likely to attract visitors. Compare the frightful (and frightening, according to my lad!) bronze of Brunel and that of a small Darkest Peruvian bear at another London terminus. Which is more popularly visited? I felt the duck idea was a very clever one indeed, and so, it would seem, did Andrew Dow, amongst others...

 

post-9664-0-33658100-1428704264.png

 

Oh, and yes, it will indeed become common, I am sure, for people to take ducks to the statue. There are worse places to find less dignified ducks, eh?!

 

post-9664-0-89328100-1428704660_thumb.jpg

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I thought the idea of the Mallard at his feet was a good one, and while I understand that the society may not wish to upset anyone it is its members and the public who will be paying for this, and if they donated on the basis of what was launched then that is what it should be.

If on the other hand the family were to pay for it then they would have the last word.

 

I think from memory the duck was meant to appeal to children, and from it information on HNG could be gleaned via a QR thingey.

 

I think the society have missed the point here.

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 Compare the frightful (and frightening, according to my lad!) bronze of Brunel and that of a small Darkest Peruvian bear at another London terminus. Which is more popularly visited?

Of the statuary there I liked the War Memorial best and was drawn to IKB because of the subject, but how can anything compete with the bear from darkest Peru?

 

I can't see how the whimsical touch of Gresley's duck demeans the man's legacy.

Edited by Ozexpatriate

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How sad, now it'll just be yet another statue that very few people will give a second glance. It would've been "undignified" if the duck was sitting on his head, I hardly see how it is where it is in the mockup.

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If somebody wants to erect a statue in my memory after I have gone, please feel free to erect a duck, pink panther or whatever that reflects my life along side my statue! I will be extremely honoured especially if it inspires children to look at the past and heritage.

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I reckon the disciples of Edward Thompson are behind it…..

Or the same people who think banksys work is art and not what it really is - graffiti and vandalism of public property.

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How close is the statue going to be to platform 9 3/4s? It'll probably end up wearing a Gryffindor scarf which might otherwise have gone on the duck.

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Ask members of the public to name two famous locomotives and they will probably answer Flying Scotsman and Mallard. Ask them who designed said locomotives and I imagine most will not know.

 

 

Without the duck it will just become another statue that only those with an interest in railways will take any notice of. The duck dimension, along with the QR code, will only do good by raising awareness of Sir Nigel and what he achieved. It wil also invite questions from people who have little or no interest in railways.

 

Imagine the statue of Terence Cuneo without the mouse.

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I reckon the disciples of Edward Thompson are behind it…..

There are those who consider he was quite an expert on lame ducks.

Bernard

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No Mallard  - Shame, seeing it's 2015 perhaps we can have a Gannet or Seagull eating a thrown away McDonalds burger & chips !! More appropriate to today's yoof.

 

Brit15

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I think it's a great shame, I was thinking of donating but I won't now. The Gresley Society have made fools of themselves and since they have now made a point of saying how little the contributions from the public matter to them, I shan't bother. .....

To some in the Gresley Society, the man himself is like the Prophet Mohammed. Not a word must be said against him, and all denigration or criticism is strictly haram. This is where parallels with Scientologists start to run, and things get very scary indeed.

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Very sad, most people won't have clue who he was , the Duck would have made them look to find out and learn some history at the same time. Very very poor decision after money had been taken showing the Duck .

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To some in the Gresley Society, the man himself is like the Prophet Mohammed. Not a word must be said against him, and all denigration or criticism is strictly haram. This is where parallels with Scientologists start to run, and things get very scary indeed.

The Gresley Society's leadership and 'older members' (for it was they...) could certainly use some more fibre in their diet from what I can tell. I will most certainly have a laugh with the statue when it appears now, and I hope others will, too. The society could have learned a valuable lesson about public opinion and goodwill by now, but they are determined not to, it seems.

 

Ironic that the family made such a fuss when they left SNG's grave - their family's own memorial to the man - in a parlous state for quite some time. I remember going to Netherseale as a kid and seeing it looking terrible.

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.... Very very poor decision after money had been taken showing the Duck .

Poor decision, or money taken under false pretences?

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Poor decision, or money taken under false pretences?

I was thinking exactly the same thing.....if people gave money on the strength of a model showing a Duck, then that is what it should be.  If the Gresley Society shifts the Goalposts after the event then those donating should be given the opportunity to withdraw their funding.  Hopefully one of those people is a Lawyer suitably p*ssed off enough to start a Class Action.....

 

By the way, does anyone actually care what the Grandkids think?  So they share the same name, big deal.

 

polybear

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This is genuinely disappointing. I thought that the duck was a whimsically delightful reference and quite charming. It didn't impune Gresley's dignity in the slightest: if anything, it softened what was probably quite an austere character. It is such a shame that 'great' people have always to be remembered with almost messianic fervour. We take these things far too seriously. 

 

And I do rather agree with Polybear: for just how long can increasingly more distant relatives exercise editorial control ? If he was my grandfather, I'd have seen the duck as a master stroke.

 

Tony

Edited by Prometheus
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The duck was merely there to catch the fleeting attention of numpties, and most would wander off thinking he was the birdman of alcatraz or the local pest controller.  I think Gresley should have been sat astride Mallards boiler leaning back and holding onto his hat.....   :smoke:

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The duck was merely there to catch the fleeting attention of numpties, and most would wander off thinking he was the birdman of alcatraz or the local pest controller.  I think Gresley should have been sat astride Mallards boiler leaning back and holding onto his hat.....   :smoke:

Oh dear, I am sure the people who have paid towards the statue who actually like the Duck will appreciate being called numpties. 

 

The statue would have made it stand out as already said now its anonymous to most . As to sitting on Boilers I would rather leave that  to Wallace and Grommit,  a rather poor copy of Sir John Betjemain statue at Euston as well.

 

As to taking money under false pretences probably not under Criminal Deception , but certainly sailing close to the wind. They should offer to return monies from upset parties (numpties?) with apologies offered as well .

Edited by micklner

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Most people are commenting that without the duck, it is just a statue of a man, how about showing HNG with a model of an A4?

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