The Statue of Sir Nigel Gresley

The Gresley Statue

The Statue project continues to progress to plan and further substantive progress has been made in recent weeks. With the installation and unveiling to take place at 11.00am Tuesday 5th April 2016 marking the 75th Anniversary of Sir Nigel Gresley’s passing.

 

Here is a summary of construction:-

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Following the signing of the contract (see previous news) Hazel Reeves has been busy making progress on the construction. Like any specialist activity a good working environment is needed and Hazel’s studio now has new ‘daylight’ strip lights, additional electrical sockets and a raised platform to aide working at height.

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The armature for the statue has made good progress and by the time you are reading this update should be complete. This is manufactured from ‘Kee Klamp’ which is very strong and similar to scaffolding material.

Half a ton of clay has been delivered and this will allow the block out of the sculpture to begin. To ensure an accurate and sound sculpture Hazel will be working with a male life model in the early stages to ensure the anatomical foundations are sound.

In addition to all the exciting physical work Hazel was able to discuss the project with HRH Princess Michael of Kent and Michael Portillo at a recent Society of Women Artists event in London. Both expressed much support for the recognition at London Kings Cross station.

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Hazel engaged in conversation with HRH Princess Michael of Kent.

 

 

Latest Images:

The above photograph was taken recently at the meeting of the statue group and Hazel to approve the sculpture for mould making and finally casting. It was "like being in the presence of greatness!"

In his left hand you will see that Sir Nigel Gresley is clutching a magazine....

 

The image above shows the last piece of the sculpture to be modelled. This is Hazel's rendition of The Locomotive magazine of 1938 recording on the front cover the world speed record achieved by Gresley Class A4 Locomotive No. 4468 Mallard

 

Kings Cross Station

There is no doubt that the permission to allow a statue of Sir Nigel Gresley to be placed in such a prominent position at Kings Cross will reflect most positively on the Society and those who worked diligently to achieve the outcome. In recent times with the modification to the design it was appropriate for the Society to reconfirm that all consents remained in place. We are pleased to say that this confirmation has been received meaning that all planning for the installation at Kings Cross can go ahead.

Donations.

Fund raising continues and we very much welcome your support. To donate please press on the button below. 

We are aware that a small number of those who have donated wish to receive a refund of their donation following the design changes that have been made. If you wish to do so then please write to enquiries@gresley.org where arrangements will be made for your donation will be returned to you as swiftly as possible.

Please continue to visit our website where further updates will be provided as we chart the exciting progress of the building of the statue and its erection at Kings Cross Station.

 

 

Is Sir Nigel Gresley worthy of a statue?

Sir Nigel Gresley (1876-1941) was foremost among many eminent railway engineers in this country, and his influence in other countries was such that we can only regard him as world-famous.  He was highly imaginative and inventive.  His first patent, taken out on 2 January 1908, was for the articulation of railway vehicles, and this is still highly relevant today.  Articulation is used by railway and tramway vehicles of all kinds, and this makes Sir Nigel unique among his contemporaries.  It is reason enough to regard him as a great engineer.

More than that, he was inventive in many aspects of locomotive design.  All of his  locomotives and carriages were blessed with a cleanliness and elegance of line: even his largest goods locomotive was impeccably handsome.   The smaller suburban locomotives, and those built for branch lines, all had the characteristic purity of Gresley line.  

The elegance of Gresley’s locomotives was seized upon by the advertising department of the LNER at King’s Cross.  In particular they appeared on posters, in booklets, timetables, luggage labels - anywhere that the LNER could take advantage of their modern looks.  The speed of some of the passenger types attracted much attention from writers on locomotive performance, and thanks to the LNER’s enlightened policy of issuing lineside permits to trusted photographers, Gresley locomotives were well represented in magazines and books.  

Some of his trains may rightly be regarded as amongst the most beautiful ever built, and had features that made them stand out as works of great design.   The LNER streamline trains introduced the idea of the fixed-formation express train: this is still with us today, as is at-seat dining, with no need for a separate dining car.  

It is for all of these reasons that Sir Nigel Gresley should be commemorated by a statue: few enough are the memorials to truly great railway pioneers such as the Stephensons, Joseph Locke, and others.  Now, in the statue of Gresley at King’s Cross we are to celebrate a twentieth century engineer of the highest standing.  There can be no question that, among the nation’s engineers, he fully deserves it, and indeed in a country not well known for revering its engineers, it is long overdue.