Biographies of London Midland and Scottish Railway Key Personnel - Gateway to the LMS

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Presidents of the Company

(Sir) Josiah Charles Stamp, born 1880, died 1941, LMS President,  1926-1941, LMS Chairman, 1827-1941
Stamp started his career in business with the Inland Revenue at the age of  16, and his academic ability meant that he rose quickly through the ranks. In  1919, he became company secretary, and a director of, Mond Nickel Co., which was  eventually absorbed by ICI.

In 1926, Stamp joined the LMS as president of the Executive,assuming the  post of chairman the following year. He became the head of an American-style of  corporate management, heading an executive committee of vice-presidents. It is  Stamp who is generally credited by ending the in-fighting between the locomotive  and rolling stock departments by appointing William Stanier in 1932.

Towards the outbreak of World War II, Stamp became more and more involved  with government and academic work, with the result that he delegated more to the  vice presidents. This tended to make him somewhat remote from his staff. However  he was an effective spokesperson with the government and spearheaded the "Square  Deal" campaign 0f 1938-1939. In 1940, he was offered the position of Chancellor  of the Exchequer, a post he declined.

Tragically, Stamp was killed with his wife and eldest son in an air raid in  1941.

(Sir) William Valentine Wood, born 1883, knighted 1937, died  1959, LMS president 1941-1947
Born in Belfast, and an accountant by training, Wood joined in the LMS in  1924 as assistant to the accountant-general. Given the post of controller of  costs and statistics, he impressed Josiah Stamp so much, he received rapid  promotion to a vice-president of the executive committee.

Stamp's death  in 1941 elevated Wood to the presidency of the LMS, which he held until  nationalisation. After nationalisation, he became a member of the British  Transport commission.

The Chief Mechanical Engineers (CMEs)

It should be pointed out that the following individuals were in  overall charge of the design offices of the LMS, and that their subordinates  often contributed heavily to the designs produced.

George Hughes (born 1865, died 1945, CME  1923-1925)
At the grouping Hughes was the CME of the combined LNWR and LYR  and was given the job of CME of the LMS. He had designed various types of  locomotive and was one of the British pioneers of firetube superheaters. During  his short tenure as CME he attempted to resolve the LMS's problem with  underpowered locomotives, but only his mixed traffic 2-6-0's were actually  built, and that occurred after he retired.

(Sir) Henry Fowler CBE (born 1870, knighted 1918,  died 1938, CME 1925-1930)
The son of an Evesham cabinet maker, Fowler apprenticed at the  LYR before joining the MR, eventually becoming the CME to that company, although  he was seconded to various advisory posts during World War I, for which he  received the CBE in 1917 and was knighted in 1918. Fowler's main contributions  were towards improved production methods and metallurgical improvements in  locomotives, but it was here that his battle to overcome the MR "Small Engine"  policy began, a battle that would continue until 1930.  With the formation of  the LMS, Fowler became Deputy CME to Hughes, before replacing him in  1925.

Fowler's tenure was dogged by the problems associated with  standardising the locomotives that the LMS had inherited from the companies that  formed it, and the persistent problem of underpowered locomotives, most notably  the ones inherited from the MR. Although he was able to develop some of Hughes's  designs, his own designs for more powerful locomotives were rejected by the  motive power due to the fact that operating them would require larger  turntables. His "Royal Scot" engines were accepted, and were at least a step in  the right direction, although this design was later overshadowed by the Stanier  "Princesses". His tenure as CME ended in 1930, when the LMS promoted him into a  research position.

Henry Fowler has at least been commemorated in his home town  with a road named after him, and a blue plaque mounted on the former Midland  Railway Station building.

Ernest J H Lemon (born?,died?,CME  1931)
Contrary to popular belief (and most texts), it appears that  Ernest Lemon held the post of CME during 1931, after Fowler was transferred to  the LMS' s Research Department. It appears that Lemon was acting purely in a  holding capacity, and apart from pushing through a couple of Fowler's last  ideas, he did not produce any new designs. No 1944 locomotives are credited to  him, but since the 1944 ABC doesn't recognise them as a CME anyway, there is the  possibility that it may be in error.

Unfortunately, Lemon has no entry in "The  Oxford Companion to British Railway History" which means I still have very  little information on him.

(Sir) William Stanier (born 1876, knighted 1943, died  1965, CME 1932-1942, Consultant 1942-1944)
At the age of 16, Stanier joined the Great Western Railway where  he worked under William Dean and Charles Collett. On becoming CME to the LMS in  1932, he set about trying to finally solve the problems with locomotive power,  and perhaps it says a lot for Stanier that he finally succeeded (although it  should be mentioned that he did build on ideas that his predecessors proposed).  By 1947, over 2,000 locomotives had been built to his designs, which often  combined LMS features (e.g. outside Walschaersts Valve gear) with GWR features  (e.g. tapered boilers). His crowning glory must be the "Princess Royal" and  "Princess Coronation" class locomotives, but he also introduced  diesel-electrical shunters and built a prototype diesel hydraulic 3-car  passenger locomotive. He also built "Turbomotive" a single turbine powered  locomotive based on a standard "Princess Royal" design.

In 1942, Stanier became an advisor to the Ministry of  Production, and although was nominally CME until 1944, Charles Fairburn took  over most of the responsibilities of the office at this point.

Charles Fairburn (born 1887, died 1945, Acting CME  1942-1944, CME 1944-1945)
Fairburn was more of an electrical engineer than a mechanical  engineer and his short term as CME reflected this. Having studied under Fowler  at Derby, he joined the LMS in 1934 as chief electrical engineer, becoming  Stanier's deputy in 1937. His tenure saw the introduction of diesel-electric  shunters (proposed by Stanier) and he initiated the design of a 1500hp  diesel-electric locomotive. He also contributed a modified 2-6-4 steam tank  engine. His premature death in 1945 perhaps robbed the railway world of someone  who could have equaled (or even bettered) his predecessor.

Henry G Ivatt (born ?,died? CME  1945-1947)
Apprenticing on the LNWR from 1904, Ivatt, found himself working  for the North Staffordshire Railway as Deputy Locomotive and Carriage and Wagon  Superintendent after World War One. After the grouping Ivatt found himself as a  special assistant to Fowler at Derby, where he undertook to improve the  efficiency of locomotive repairs, managing to cut the numbers of locomotives  under repair at any one time from 150 to 60. Stanier's arrival saw him take up  the post of Mechanical Engineer, Scotland in 1931, but by 1939 he was assisting  Stanier at Euston. World War II saw Ivatt involved with American locomotives  shipped over to aid the war effiort, and their labour-saving devices would be  used in his post-war designs.

The sudden death of Fairburn in 1945, saw the unexpected  elevation of Ivatt, to the post of CME. Although only acting CME initially, he  was eventually given the job permanently after Stanier gave the LMS board his  whole-hearted support. Most of his work centred on improving existing designs,  but between 1945 and 1947, he designed 3 new classes of steam locomotive for  light to medium use, as well as producing the first mainline diesel locomotives,  the project initiated by Fairburn.
Ivatt continued working as CME for the Midland Region of British  Rail until 1951, the last of the "Big Four" CME's at nationalisation to  retire.

[for some reason the Oxford Companion to British Railway History  doesn't give him an entry]

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