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Edward Thompson: Both sides of the story - lecture Feb 2018

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by S.A.C. Martin, May 2, 2012.

  1. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    That's very kind of you to say Julian, thank you, sincerely.
     
  2. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    Never heard of a Roeantelope.:cool:
     
  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic New Member

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    I agree entirely.

    I ended up recently going to a lecture on violence (as you do) and one of the things that is interesting is that motives for an action are often ascribed by or to the person after the event. I wonder if some of that is what has happened with Thompson.

    I was once told 'if you rely only on the documents you'll go wrong because people lie in documents all the time' (this from someone who had read his secret police file in which the people were informing on him lied regularly to the secret police).

    It is a very difficult task to unpack someone like Thompson, so I take my hat off to Simon.
     
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  4. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Active Member

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    Hippotragus equinus? Very handsome, too. And probably very tasty.
    Fair cop, I'd never noticed the couple of Cervids amongst the B1 Bovines
    I'm referring to the animal names, BTW, not the directors :)
     
  5. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    That is no doubt true when you’re investigating violent or other crimes but, I suspect, outright lies are far less likely to be found in the LNER engineering records and reminiscences. Nevertheless whenever one person writes down what another person said or did there is still plenty of room for mistakes, misunderstanding and misinterpretation. History Today :)
     
  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Unlikely in the engineering records.

    Reminiscences, on the other hand...
     
  7. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    I’d be interested to know if you’ve found any actual lies (not merely things that are wrong) by the contemporary sources about Thompson and Gresley. I’d ask you myself but, regrettably, I can’t come tonight. Good luck!
     
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  8. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic New Member

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    My boss’ father in law was an engineer in said country with the secret police. At one point in time the dictator decided he wanted a specific bridge because he’d seen a similar bridge. An engineer pointed out that such a bridge was impossible in engineering terms. The dictator sacked the engineer on the spot and demanded his engineers produce the bridge. How get out of this - so what they did was this, they set up an exhibition about bridges focussed on a suitable design, they took the dictator around the exhibition which prompted him to ask why all the bridges were of this design and was this the best design for the bridge they required. (In other words, the design for the bridge had to be ‘chosen’ by the dictator).

    This is oral history, from the engineer to my boss to me, to you. The engineering records won’t tell this story.
     
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  9. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    As soon as somebody writes it down, and maybe you’re the first but I don’t know, it becomes part of the documented history.

    My point really is the LNER’s engineering department, even in the 1940s, was neither a hotbed of crime nor infiltrated by the secret police.
     
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  10. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    I have I’m afraid. But calling them out is one for the book.
     
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  11. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic New Member

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    Agreed. Although working under one of the Drummonds doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs.

    My point was more that there are often things that are left out of the documents. For example the documents may say that the dictator chose bridge x and then changed his mind and chose bridge y. The story of how he came to change his mind wasn’t recorded. This happened to be an example I aware of. I also know from my own work with contemporaries in time with this period who when asked about whether they wrote anything down they replied ‘no, we met, had coffee, talked, made our decisions and went off’. (To caveat this - they had a subconscious aversion to literacy for reasons too tedious to explain)

    And to caveat the story about the bridge - I am telling this story third hand, i’ve abridged the story, my boss told me the story, he was told the story by his father in law, things may have changed in the retelling and so on and so forth. I have to rely on my memory of the story, my boss on his memory, his father in law on his memory.

    I wonder how many decisions were actually communicated orally without any documentation, there was a comment about how Urie used to walk around the works inspecting things and changing things. It is this oral process that gets lost and is almost impossible to recover.
     
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  12. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

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    Believe me, such tactics are equally essential when dealing with management and elected representatives in democracies...
     
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  13. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Well-Known Member

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    Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who attended the lecture last night.

    Thankfully no tomatoes or pitchforks present!

    I hope it was of interest to all, if there’s anyone who would like the slides or Cox report do let me know.
     
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  14. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I attended and enjoyed it. Some of it Simon had already said on here, but there was plenty more, and we're promised more still in the book.

    One thing that surprised me was that the "rebuild" of Great Northern kept hardly any of the original. In other words it was a brand new loco, but a rebuild on paper to avoid the need for Ministry approval. If I have grasped the story correctly, Great Northern was chosen by the Running Superintendent to go into the works for overhaul and someone decided that the best thing to do with it was to strip it down for parts to repair other locos. Maybe giving the new loco the same name (but new nameplates, straight instead of curved) was necessary to maintain the fiction that it was a rebuild or maybe Thompson specifically wished to retain the name. Simon pointed out that the new loco had the name Great Northern, it had "NE" on its tender, and it was painted in GE livery, thus indicating some allegiance to all three of the pre-grouping railways that Thompson had worked on.
     
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