How Mallard inspired a nation.

We’re really busy here getting ready for the anniversary of Mallard’s world steam speed record but I thought I’d take a minute to share just how important the famous blue streak actually is. I’ll leave it to the curators to discuss the historical significance of Gresley’s A4 loco (insert unashamed plug for the Mallard 75 curator talks here) and instead I would like to share some great examples of how Mallard is still inspiring people today.

The ability of Mallard to capture people’s imaginations is still strong, 75 years after it stole the steam speed crown! Over the past few months our Facebook page has been filled with examples of Mallard the muse and it has spawned poetry, art and even songs.

Our recent guest blog How Mallard inspired a rock band is one great example and the song can be listened to below.

Shortly after this we received another Mallard related song and again this can be listened to on our SoundCloud account below (if anyone else has written a Mallard song send it in and maybe we can make an album!). Each of these songs show not just the power of the machine but also bring to life the wonderful human stories behind the record attempt itself.

This next recording is actually a poem written about a fictitious love story between Mallard  and Duchess of Hamilton following their meeting at our museum in 2011.

Moving onto artwork we have a whole range of paintings within our collection featuring Mallard.

Back Again by Brian Wilgos, part of National Railway Museum's collection

Back Again by Brian Wilgos, part of National Railway Museum’s collection

Our extensive range of Mallard artwork is matched by the amount of amateur work out there too. Again looking just at what people have shared with us over Facebook we can see numerous beautiful pieces capturing the world’s fastest steam loco.

Daniel Sterland - Dominion of Canada and Mallard

Daniel Sterland – Dominion of Canada and Mallard

It’s not only traditional forms of art that use Mallard as a foundation either, especially in the build up to July’s celebrations. Our friend’s at Visit Doncaster have commissioned a special floral display to help celebrate the anniversary.

Mallard floral display in Doncaster town centre.

Mallard floral display in Doncaster town centre.

It seems Mallard and flowers go hand in hand as Harrogate Borough Council also commissioned a piece to take centre stage at Knaresborough Castle

Mallard display at Knaresborough Castle

Mallard display at Knaresborough Castle

Amazingly Mallard’s influence doesn’t end here. It’s not just the creative arts that benefit as numerous buildings, businesses and organisations draw on the emotive power of Gresley’s A4. Even new scientific discoveries are being named after the world’s fastest ever steam loco! Researches at the University of York have developed a new dye that could play a significant role in surgery. Due to both its’ colour and the speed at which the dye works can you guess what they’ve named it? A full article discussing Mallard Blue can be found here

“Our dye is the same colour as the locomotive, and we believe it is similarly ground-breaking in its performance”

Professor Dave Smith

If anyone else knows of ways in which Mallard has inspired people send us a message on Facebook. You can also see the very machine that has made such an impact on people’s lives, with all other five survivors of it’s class, this month at the museum (3-17 July).

Mallard - the loco that inspired a nation.

Mallard – the loco that inspired a nation.

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3 Responses to How Mallard inspired a nation.

  1. locoyard says:

    Excellent Blog Post – Will be re-blogged on locoyard.com :-)

  2. locoyard says:

    Reblogged this on Loco Yard and commented:
    An excellent Blog Post from the National Railway Museum that I wanted to share with locoyard followers. Enjoy! :-)

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