Sir Nigel Gresley Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1876 - 1941 *** Full Name: Sir Nigel Gresley *** Occupation: British Steam Locomotive Engineer *** Date of Birth: Sir Nigel Gresley was born on June 19th 1876 *** Place of Birth: Sir Nigel Gresley was born in Edinburgh, Scotland *** Family background: His father was Reverend Nigel Gresley the Rector of Netherseal in Derbyshire and his mother was Joanna Beatrice. His grandfather was the ninth baronet Sir William Nigel Gresley *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in Netherseal, a member of what was known as a cadet brank of a family, meaning that he was a male descendant of a noble family but a younger son with little prospects of inheriting any of the family wealth *** Education: Sir Nigel Gresley attended school in Sussex and later Marlborough College ***
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 1: Sir Nigel Gresley was born on June 19th 1876 and during the 19th century period in history when great strides were made in the industrial revolution, the Victoria era was coming to a close and there were vast technological advances being made.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 2: When he completed his education he attending Crewe works of the London and North Western Railway where he served his apprenticeship.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 3: John Aspinall at Horwich took him on as his pupil at Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 4: By 1901 he would be appointed as Outdoor Assistant in the Carriae and Wagon Department and in 1902 he was promoted to Assistant Works Manager and then Works Manager the year after that at Newton Heath depot.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 5: In 1904 his rise in the ranks continued when he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of the Carriage and Wagon Department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 6: The following year he moved to Great Northern Railway and became Carriage and Wagon Superintendent.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 7: By 1911 he would take over from Henry A. Ivatt as Locomotive Engineer of Great Northern Railway.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 8: When World War I broke out he was tasked with producing armaments. He also modified his locomotives for military use and was asked to serve on the Engineering Committee of the Ministry of Food.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 9: By 1920 he had been awarded a Commander of the British Empire award for his service during the war.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 10: He was appointed as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the newly created London and North Eastern Railway in 1923 during the Grouping Act.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 11: In 1935 Gresley began the design of his famous streamlined A4 Pacific class steam locomotive, inspired by seeing the diesel powered DRG Class SVT 877 Hamburg Flyer whilst in Germany earlier in the year.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 12: 1936 was a very busy year for Gresley, awarded an honorary DSc (Doctor of Science) by Manchester University, he was also knighted by King Edward VIII and he became President of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 13: Also during 1936 designing began on the Manchester-Sheffield-Wath electrification project.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 14: He made his home at Salisbury Hall in Hertfordshire, near St Albanís during the 1930ís. He also developed an interest in the breeding of birds and ducks that took place in his moat.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 16: On the 3rd July 1938 his Class A4 4468 Mallard broke the world speed record for a steam locomotive reaching 126.4 mph (203.4 km/h), a record which remains unbroken to this day. The Mallard also holds the A4 class record for drawbar horsepower at achieving 2,450 in actual use.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 17: He began designing the 1,500V D.C. locomotives for the Woodhead Line between Sheffield and Manchester with electrification. This project would be postponed as a result of World War II breaking out. The project would however would not be completed until the early 1950ís.
Sir Nigel Gresley Fact 18: Sir Nigel Gresley died on April 5th 1941 of a heart attack at Watton House just two months prior to his retirement, aged sixty four years. His body was laid to rest in St Peterís Church in Derbyshire.
Influence and Legacy: The greatest legacy left by Sir Nigel Gresley was the thirty-five Class A4 4-6-2 Pacifics he designed. Six of these still exist today, one, the 4468 Mallard, has held the steam locomotive speed record of 126.4 mph (203.4 km/h) since the 3rd July 1938. One of the other surviving A4 Pacifics (4498) was the 21st A4 built but the 100th Pacific locomotive built to one of Sir Nigel Gresley's designs and in consequence was named "Sir Nigel Gresley". The most loved of his engines is the LNER 4472 Flying Scotsman Class A3 4-6-2 (depicted near the top of this page), in 1934 it became the first steam locomotive to exceed 100 mph and in 1989 whilst on tour in Australia set a record for the longest distance travelled non stop by a steam locomotive of 422 miles (679 km) when it was 66 years old.
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