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Thomas Melling

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Suez Lodge plaque.

Thomas Melling (1817-1896)

Driver who drove the engine of the first express train between London and Birmingham, then in 1858 drove the first train across the desert from Cairo to Suez.

Thomas was gifted money for a house in Thatto Heath (St. Helens) from the Egyptian government for his endeavours in driving the mail train. It is still there, and has a plaque on it which reads as follows; “This building was erected by a donation given by the government of Egypt to Thomas Melling. For his heroism displayed in driving the English mail through that country during the destructive plague in the year 1865”. Also a shield on the same house reads ‘T. Melling, Cairo Square, 1878’.

Later he moved to a house called ‘Suez Lodge’ in nearby Portico, which has a plaque. Built by Thomas Melling who took the first English outward mail through Egypt 1858 and brought the last homeward mail in March 1878 when it was transferred to the Egyptian Government.

1881 Living at Suez Lodge, Portico Lane, Prescot: Thomas Melling (age 61 born Windle), Engineer (Retired). With his wife Elizabeth Melling (age 31 born Windle)and their two children Ann Melling (age 2 born Eccleston) and Thomas Melling (age 4 born Eccleston). Also a visitor.[1]


1896 Obituary.[2]

The death is announced of Thomas Melling, the famous engine-driver who drove the engine of the first express train between London and Birmingham. In 1858 he drove the first train across the desert from Cairo to Suez. On a special occasion accomplished the journey, 131 miles, in two hours and 20 minutes, without a stoppage, for which he was presented to the mother of Mahomed Said Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt, with a handsome and richly-chased gold watch. In 1859 Melling brought Livingstone across the desert.


1896 Obituary.[3]

Thomas Melling has died at Eccleston, Lancashire. He was was engine-driver with an interesting history. He drove the engine of the first express newspaper train between London and Birmingham, and in 1858 drove the first train across the desert between Cairo and Suez. On a special occasion he accomplished the journey, 131 miles, in two hours and 20 minutes, without a stoppage, for which was presented by the mother Mahomed Said Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt, with a handsome and richly chased gold watch. In 1859 Melling brought Livingstone across the desert.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1881 Census
  2. Market Rasen Weekly Mail, and Lincolnshire Advertiser - Saturday 12 December 1896
  3. Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Thursday 26 November 1896