101 Things Brum Gave The World. No. 46: Thomas the Tank Engine

Scariest little tank engine ever

Railway enthusiasts get a bad press. If it’s not the anoraks, glasses, and spots it’s the destruction of the Tory countryside in order to build train lines. Or it’s—in the words of Daniel Kitson—that they “aren’t paedophiles [they] just like the look”. The clergy  get a bit of that too. For all their good works, you might keep your nippers away from Catholic ones.

Luckily this particular tale of Brummie greatness features an Anglican cleric and ‘railway enthusiast’ who did something brilliant for kids: Wilbert Vere Awdry, better known as the Reverend W. Awdry who invented Thomas the Tank Engine.

In 1940 he became curate of  St. Nicholas’ Church, Kings Norton, Birmingham  and it was there in 1943 that he invented the characters that would make him famous—to amuse his son Christopher during a bout of measles.

The rest is Beatle-flecked history, which in some way exists in a combined Birmingham:based fictional universe. Sodor, Mordor—you can just see the orcs and stuff starting their epic journeys here can’t you:

Kings_Norton_railway_station_frontage_1

 

King’s Norton station CC By: Benkid77

By Jon Bounds

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed.

His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it’s out now.

Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It’s Not Shit.

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed.

His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it’s out now.

Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It’s Not Shit.

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  • lineupnow

    So didn’t know this and this has made me extremely happy

  • Should Thomas get his own Star on Broad St?