Sir Nigel Gresley

Studio portrait, Photo: Andy Fallon

Sir Nigel Gresley, King’s Cross Station, London

The commission

Bessie and Sir Nigel, Photo: Andy Fallon

Sir Nigel Gresley, is the eminent railway engineer (1876-1941), designer of the record-breaking steam locomotives, Flying Scotsman and Mallard. The 7ft 4in bronze was unveiled to an enthusiastic crowd on 5 April 2016. His N2 steam engine made a welcome appearance on Platform 8. (Unveiling film by Unseen Steam.)

The story

Taking a break from his drawing office above, Sir Nigel is caught off guard. Quizzically he surveys the new Western concourse, one hand in his pocket and the other clutching his trade journal, The Locomotive. Sir Nigel was quite a showman, his old office building – now a Grade I listed building – the perfect stage-set. With his back to the old, he is looking out towards the new, towards today’s busy commuters traveling near and far on trains influenced by his feats of engineering.


In the studio, Photo: Roger Bamber

I followed traditional techniques to ensure the highest quality. I started with the Sir Nigel Gresley bronze maquette (scale-model). I worked in the studio with Barry McGerr, my life model, building a strong armature to size, hand-building the clay figure, first unclothed, then sculpting-on the clothes. The mould is made in my studio, then shipped up to the foundry.


Commissioner: The Gresley Society Trust
Unveiling: 6 April 2016
Size: 7ft 4in
Material: Clay, bronze
Model: Barry McGerr (main), John Reeves
Studio technical assistance: Mark Longworth (armature), John Reeves, Alan Shay, Sandra Reeves
Foundry: Bronze Age Sculpture Casting Foundry
Installation: Artful Logistics
Professional photographers: Andy Fallon, Roger Bamber