Please spread the word

gresleyduck invest in the internet Whether or not you are a fan of Sir Nigel Gresley, the great railway engineer, how do you feel about the proposed King’s Cross sculpture to commemorate him?

The original design included a symbolic mallard at the man’s feet, but the duck is in grave danger of being chucked off the statue.

If, like us, you think the mallard made the statue special and engaging, then please join in our campaign to get it reinstated.

  • sign our petition
  • follow the campaign on Twitter
  • spread the word
  • leave your comments below

how to buy Amazon shares in Hong Kong We hope to gather enough support for the mallard that the statue’s commissioners will allow it to stay.

39 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. I ask myself “What would Sir Nigel have thought?” I can’t imagine that someone who so appreciated the presence of ducks in his life, would object to one seeking his company n memorial form.

    • The duck should stay! John Kefala Kerr’s recent opera, Steamsong (wwwsteamsong.uk), is about Gresley and Mallard. Commissioned by the National Railway Museum last year, it is full of bird-related imagery (the opera begins with Sir Nigel Gresley singing a great long list of bird names). The symbolic and technological influence of the natural world on engineers is acknowledged in the opera, but also more subtle distinctions between animate and inanimate things. It’s a failure of imagination and a concession to hubris to discredit the duck.

  2. I have to agree with all the cases put forward and the reasoning as to why, it is appropriate that the duck remains on the statue.

  3. Page 210 of Geoffrey Hughes book Sir Nigel Gresley – The Engineer and his family by Oakwood Press contains a nice photograph of the great man feeding his Mallard ducks in the moat at Salisbury Hall in around 1937.

    • Hello Roger, well the Gresley Society’s governing body (the ‘Council’) decided to remove the mallard after Gresley’s grandsons complained it would detract from the dignity of the statue. Three members of the Council (the ones who had been working on the project for the previous nine months or more) resigned at that point.

  4. Stop meddling; leave the statue as it is. Sir Nigel can’t loose his status, because a Mallard was put on the statue. Grow up. If my grandfather was honoured in such a way, I wouldn’t object.

  5. I’m sure that SNG would be horrified at the attitude of his grandsons, who seem to have no respect whatsoever for their Grandfather’s memory. Yes, as they say Flying Scotsman was also one of his achievements, but that loco hasn’t held the world speed record for steam for nearly 80 years has it?

  6. Um, we keep hearing the words senior members, who are not on the council stating there opinion, I ‘ve been a member for nearly ten years and a gentleman who I know has been a member of the Gresley society for over 20 years, neither of us were ask for our opinion, I’m not so worried about myself, but a member of 20 years +, I feel there has been to much ‘secret Squirrel’ involvement, and not enough listening to the members of the Gresley society membership!

    • Thanks for your interesting and somewhat disturbing comment Paul. The announcement on the Gresley Society’s website (gresley.org) about removing the mallard from the statue specifically says members were consulted before making the decision.

      If you are saying members were not in fact consulted, it does make one wonder how much of what the Gresley Society Council has said about this matter is true, and, as you say, exactly who was behind the decision to remove the mallard.

      Gresley Society Chairman David McIntosh has said the grandsons objected to the mallard, and that the Council also received adverse comments from the President (John Cameron), all ten Vice-Presidents (not sure who they are, will investigate) and “senior officers at other related organisations” (no idea who they might be).

      Mr McIntosh has said that the Council decision to remove the mallard was “unanimous apart from two abstentions” (presumably from Dennis Butler and Nigel Dant, who promptly resigned, whilst Vice Chairman Andrew Dow, who resigned at the same time, was absent due to illness).

      According to gresley.org the Council comprises David McIntosh, Tracey Parkinson, Mike Foreman, Chris Nettleton, Ian MacCabe, Graeme Bunker, Philip Benham, Robin Beynon. One imagines this lot originally approved the presence of the mallard on the statue.

      • Hi Libby,
        As member s we found out on the internet, about the change to the statue, members not on the the web would have found out in the quarterly society magazine

  7. Like Sir Nigel, I too feed mallards from my back door and am very fond of them. The loco named for them still holds the world record for steam locomotives – strange to think that the family don’t really understand the connection.

  8. Hi Libby,
    My 5yr old grandson who sat in 4468’s driving seat at the Great Goodbye, NRM Shildon Feb 2014 is well aware of Sir Nigel’s other passion…. Breeding Mallards!!!
    He also understands why “Mallard” (A4), was selected for the record run!

  9. I have contacted the Gresley Society to say that I would be delighted to contribute to the cost of the statue, but only if the duck is there. I await their reply.
    I wonder if others might consider doing the same.

    • And I got this rather bland reply back:

      “The Council of The Gresley Society Trust, with the benefit of hindsight, accept that they were remiss in not insisting that their Sculpture sub-Group consulted with The Gresley family before going public on the more controversial details of the project. When we began to receive significant adverse comments on the presence of a duck at the feet of Sir Nigel from our President, all ten Vice-Presidents and senior officers at other related organisations, we quickly realised that we could not proceed without a careful re-appraisal of the project. We are also aware that artistic opinion is by no means unanimous that a modern statue needs something ‘extra’ in order to attract attention. Equally we have never regarded small children as a target market for our work. A special Council meeting was held at which it became clear that we faced a clear choice between either, respecting the clearly expressed reservations of colleagues, friends and long-term supporters whose opinions we respect, and amend the design or, risk a fundamental breech in our relationship with these key individuals. The outcome of our discussion was a unanimous decision, with two abstentions, to delete the mallard. Three Council members felt unable to accept this decision and decided to resign. Much comment has been made about the nature of the relationship between Sir Nigel and wildfowl – to describe him as an “ornithologist” is a gross exaggeration as is the claim that he “bred Mallards”, which are of course wild animals! He was as much likely to view birds over the barrel of a gun, as a typical country gent of the 1930’s. Thus far fundraising for the Statue has generated a total of 130 contributions, 60 % from members, totalling just over £10k, currently leaving 89% of the funding to be provided by the Gresley Society Trust itself, although the recent publicity has generated several new contributions, one in excess of £1,000 . The Contract has now been signed and we look forward to the unveiling in 2016.
      David McIntosh, Chairman, The Gresley Society Trust.”

      • Thanks for letting us know Pete, this seems to be a standard reply to enquirers. Strange that they persist in saying “we have never regarded small children as a target market for our work” yet the strapline on their website is “We sustain the legacy”.

  10. The locomotive Mallard was one of a class of 35 built for the premier east coast services of the London and North Eastern Railway. As such when the directors of the company wished to honour Sir Nigel they chose to name one of the 35 after him. By my reckoning 25 of the 35 had at one time bird names, the majority always carried them. The connection could hardly be stronger and the symbolism must be maintained.

  11. Yes, with all due respect to the Great Man’s descendants, the duck must stay! Sir Nigel was, or has become, a public figure with an important place in the cultural and engineering history of the nation, and it is fitting that he should be commemorated with a staute. I’d have it premiered on the ‘fourth plinth’ in Trafalgar Square for six months or however long you’re allowed, before going to King’s Cross. That would really boost public awareness. And why not something different and quirky? Gresley himself was an innovator, after all . . . And by the way, where is he buried? In Watton?

  12. The duck is a wonderful addition and something that will allow the statute to stand out from the crowd, it would be like a magnet for all young children which, for many, would be the starting point to finding out about Sir Nigel and his legacy. Unfortunately, the family are missing the point that the duck adds so much to a wonderful salute to the man himself.

    Fantastic that you have set up this campaign, here’s hoping the family will realise what a trick they are missing.

  13. Having a Mallard Duck at the feet of Sir Nigel will prompt the youngsters to ask What and Why is it there.

  14. If every duck supporter donated a small sum to help pay for Sir Nigel’s statue then perhaps the duck could pay its own way! I would be happy to donate my pocket money savings because it would make me feel proud that I had contributed.

  15. I have signed and support the petition, and am extremely saddened to read the recent response from David McIntosh – particularly the information that the Gresley Society, and Mr McIntosh its chairman, do not consider children to be important in this endeavour…..Mr McIntosh is also a Trustee of the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust (owners and operators of the A4 Locomotive named after its famous designer), and in his role as a SNGLT Trustee, Mr McIntosh has specific responsibilities as the trust’s ‘Education Officer’………who, I wonder would he consider an important group to ‘educate’!?

  16. Very sad that people thought they were supporting the statue with a mallard. Sir Nigel Gresley would turn in his grave. Makes you wonder wether his grandsons new him at all. KEEP THE MALLARD. The Gresley Society should consult everyone who has donated. Shame on them if they leave off the Mallard.

  17. Nobody passing the statue of a man will look twice, but a man accompanied by a duck will certainly grab his or hers attention.
    Outside of the heritage railway fraternity no one knows who
    Nigel Gresley was. The addition of the duck (mallard) would
    change all that.

  18. The duck should stay, capturing the attention and interest of passers by and adding a touch of charming oddity.
    I realise that matters within a family are not for me to meddle with, but perhaps Sir Nigel’s grandchildren could ask themselves whether he would have approved himself? Nothing I’ve read about him suggests stick-in-the-mud

  19. Are Sir Nigel’s grandsons contributing towards the cost of the statue in any significant way? If not then i would suggest that they should not have any significant say in a tribute to the great man, when others are making a significant financial contribution.

    To say that the the society have no interest in children taking an interest, is long term suicide for the society, after all children are the future officers and members of the society

    • Paul, we know that another part of the family made substantial contributions (before the mallard was removed) but nothing has been said publicly about whether the grandsons have contributed anything.

  20. As others have said the duck makes the statue more memorable and provokes inquiry. Cuneo had his mouse, so give Sir Nigel his duck.!

  21. I support Gresley’s grandsons and the Gresley Society and do NOT want the duck reinstated. The great man’s memory would be demeaned by its presence in what would be a schoolboy disneyesque in-joke. It would be just unnecessary.

    • Thanks for your comment Roger. The mallard is hardly a ‘schoolboy disneyesque in-joke’. It’s there to draw attention to the statue from the millions of commuters who will pass it, most of whom won’t have a clue about Sir Nigel Gresley and his work. How would you do it?

  22. I wonder if the grandchildren ever visit his grave they didn’t obviously before others cleaned it up.

    The duck should stay, it was there to make people curious as to why and find out via the system there to tell them.
    Yes Flying Scotsman broke a few records but the WORLD STEAM SPEED RECORD stands after 79 years and is unlikely to be ever broken

  23. I am absolutely staggered and bitterly disappointed that the Godfrey family seem to want Mallard removed from the proposed statue of Sir Nigel Gresley. Mallard represented the pinnacle of his career. It was the most magnificent locomotive he ever created and when it recorded the world speed record it made him world famous. It also out ran the Nazi German rival and gave Hitler his first humiliation and taste of defeat. It was always Gresley’s intention to develop the fastest ever loco utilising the best ideas and modifications possible and by hard graft and innovative methods he finally achieved his goal. Gresley and Mallard were like a marriage made in heaven. No Mallard – No Gresley. He would have just been known as one of many outstanding railway engineers of his time. He hand picked the crew and used every possible technical modification including a unique double chimney and the latest specifications to show the world the best of British engineering. Without a tribute to Mallard, it will completely devalue this statue and make it worthless and futile. Like Dick Whittington, I would ask the grandsons of Gresley to turn again and do what Sir Nigel would have really wanted… endorse a fitting tribute and commemoration to two notable public heros and prevent a national disgrace! In case the Godfrey’s need reminding, I wrote the book about Mallard – How the Blue Streak broke the world speed record – and it has never been out of the top 100 of its genre and was a huge hit at the 75th anniversary of the record at the NRM in York… will gladly send them a copy so they can understand why he became so popular and his locomotives so loved and admired.
    Don Hale: Mallard: How the ‘Blue Streak’ Broke the World Steam Speed Record by Don Ha… http://www.amazon.co.uk/…/1…/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_m0tOvb10PWVA7 via @AmazonUK

    Mallard: How the ‘Blue Streak’ Broke the World Steam Speed Record
    ‘It ought to be a film, of course, pitched somewhere between The Right Stuff and Chariots of Fire. Meanwhile, Don Hale’s well-ordered, compelling book will do…

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