Locomotive engineer. Born Edinburgh into a family that arrived with William the Conqueror and were granted a hereditary baronetcy in the early 17th century. Raised in Derbyshire. Rapidly rose from apprentice to become the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London and North Eastern Railway. Gresley’s big contribution to train development was to recognise the effect of wind resistance and to create an aerodynamic design - the A4 Pacific, one train of which, the Mallard, set a world speed record of 126 mph in 1938. The wedge-shaped nose was inspired by Bugatti's French railcar designs.
Sir Nigel and his team of designers worked at King’s Cross from 1921 until 1941 when a German bomb destroyed part of the station where they were working. There are other plaques to Gresley in Edinburgh and Derbyshire.