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Ernest John Hutchings Lemon

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1931.Wagon for Transporting Locomotives.

Sir Ernest John Hutchings Lemon (1884-1954) was Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and later its Vice-President.

1884 December 9th. Born

Lemon was educated at Herriot Watt College. He served an apprenticeship with the North British Locomotive Co and then worked for the Highland Railway and for Hurst, Nelson and Co.

In 1911 Lemon became Chief Wagon Inspector of the Midland Railway in England. In 1917 he was made Carriage Works Manager at Derby. In 1923 he was appointed Divisional Carriage and Wagon Superintendent at Derby. There he developed production line methods for the construction of wagons and carriages.

1926 To succeed R. W. Reid Mr Lemon was appointed carriage and wagon superintendent of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company. He was already at this time, divisional carriage and wagon superintendent at Newton Heath and Earlstown, Lancashire.[1]

Despite having little experience in locomotive engineering, in 1931 Lemon was appointed to the post of Chief Mechanical Engineer replacing the retiring Henry Fowler. After less than a year as CME however, Lemon was again promoted to Vice-President Railway Traffic, Operating and Commercial, replacing J. H. Follows who retired due to ill health. Under his Vice-Presidency, the LMS undertook modernisation of their motive power depots. William Stanier had been head-hunted from the Great Western Railway to replace him as CME and revolutionised the LMS's locomotive policy.

During the Second World War Lemon was made Director-General of Aircraft Production and was knighted.

In 1942 and 1943 he was President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. He retired from the railway in 1948

1954 December 15th. Died in Epsom

1954 Obituary [2]

WE record with regret the death of Sir Ernest Lemon, which occurred in London on December 15th, a few days after his seventieth birthday.

For over thirty years he was engaged 1n the mechanical engineering departments of the former London Midland and Scottish Railway and its predecessors, and for eleven years prior to his retirement from the railway service in 1943 he was a vice-president of the L.M.S. group.


Ernest John Hutchings Lemon was born at Okeford, and studied engineering at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, and at the Heriot Watt College, Edinburgh.

He served an apprenticeship at the Hyde Park Works, Glasgow, of the North British Locomotive Company, Ltd., and when that was completed in 1905 he spent some time in the drawing-office of Brown Brothers and Co., Ltd., Edinburgh.

Later, in 1905, Sir Ernest was appointed to the staff of the running department of the Highland Railway.

After two years there he joined the staff of Hurst, Nelson and Co., Ltd., where he remained for three years prior to being appointed, in July, 1911, chief wagon inspector of the Midland Railway Company.

Subsequently Sir Ernest became works manager of the Midland Railway's carriage works at Derby, and on the grouping of the railways at the begining of 1923 he was appointed divisional carnage and wagon superintendent of the London, Midland and Scottish first at Derby and later at Newton Heath. During the four years in which he held those appointments he was responsible for the reorganisation of the carriage and wagon works at both places.

Sir Ernest was promoted to the position of carriage and wagon superintendent of the L.M.S. at the beginning of 1927, and in 1931 he was appointed chief mechanical engineer.

A year later he was elected vice-president, traffic and commercial, of the L.M.S. group. Sir Ernest took special Interest in the matter of staff training, and it was through his efforts that the school of tra nsport was established at Derby by the L.M.S. Company.

In 1938, Sir Ernest's services were lent to the Air Ministry, where he became director-general of production and a member of the Air Council. In recognition of his work for the Air Ministry in the early part of the second world war he received his knighthood.

Sir Ernest resumed his duties with the L.M.S. towards the end of 1940, and two years later was transferred to the Ministry of Production to carry out some special work associated with the war effort. He retired from the L.M.S. early in 1943, and about the same time took up the chairmanship of a commission which was appointed to consider the post-war planning of the railways.

Another important appointment which Sir Ernest took after his retirement from the L.M.S. was the chairmanship of the Committee for Standardisation of Engineering Products, which was set up by the Minister of Supply in November, 1948. The report of that committee was presented less than a year later, one of the main recommendations being that the production of national standards of wide applicability should be extended and speeded up. To that end, the committee suggested, all sections of industry should urge forward the work of the British Standards Institution.

When the Lemon committee, as it came to be known, had completed its task and drafted its report, Sir Ernest was appointed to another committee, set up by the President of the Board of Trade, to consider the organisation and constitution of the British Standards Institution. During the early stages of the work of that committee, Sir Ernest gave valuable help, although, owing to other commitments he felt obliged to retire from it before its task was concluded. Sir Ernest was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers a member of the Institute of Transport, and a past-president of the Institution of Production Engineers.

1955 Obituary [3]

Sir Ernest John Hutchings Lemon, O.B.E., was from 1932 Vice-President (Railway Traffic Operating and Commercial), of the L.M. and S. Railway, and was personally responsible for the introduction of vast schemes to improve operating efficiency of that railway.

Sir Ernest Lemon was born in 1885, and received his technical training at the Hyde Park Works of the North British Locomotive Company. His theoretical knowledge was gained at Heriot-Watt College, Edinburgh, and he had running shed experience with the Highland Railway, Inverness.

He subsequently entered the service of the Midland Railway as chief wagon inspector, and in 1917 became chief works manager at Derby, where he was in charge of four thousand men.

He was appointed O.B.E. in 1918, and in 1923 he became divisional carriage and wagon superintendent of the London Midland and Scottish Railway, Derby, shortly afterwards being appointed in a similar capacity to control the works at Newton Heath and Earlestown. He was appointed carriage and wagon superintendent in 1927, and four years later was promoted to chief mechanical engineer.

During the 1939-45 war he was appointed Director-General of Production at the Air Ministry, and also special adviser to the Ministry of Production.

Sir Ernest Lemon's death occurred on 15th December, 1954; and he had been a Member of the Institution since 1929. He was also a former Member of Council of the Institute of Transport.

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