Commenter Christopher Clark on the importance of the mallard as a draw for people not yet acquainted with Sir Nigel Gresley’s work:
I was surprised to read that the grandsons of Sir Nigel felt that the addition of the Mallard was not in keeping with their grandfather’s image. Outside the railway world I don’t think he has an image and certainly to the vast majority of the many thousands who use King’s Cross every day the name Sir Nigel Gresley will mean nothing at all.
Without the duck the statue will just be another ‘man in a suit’ and of little interest to anyone. With the Mallard the statue will rival the Harry Potter shopping trolley as an attraction for visitors – particularly young children – travelling through the station with their parents. Their parents will have a reason for reading about the duck and the man standing next to it!!
In the 60 or so years since Sir Nigel died the family have had the opportunity to raise the money and negotiate with the authorities to erect a statue to recognise his contribution to railway engineering. For whatever reason they have chosen not to. What they have done, though, is to stop the addition of the one item that will attract peoples’ attention and make them curious to find out more about the great man.