National Railway Museum head quits


PAUL Kirkman has stepped down as director of the National Railway Museum after nearly five years in the job.

During that time he oversaw the Mallard 75 event – one of the most successful in the museum’s history – which saw all six surviving A4s reunited to mark the 75th anniversary of No. 4468 setting the world steam railway speed record in 1938.

Paul Kirkman shows the Prince of Wales around the York museum on July 22, 2013, after the start of the landmark Mallard 75 celebrations. ROBIN JONES

While the event was planned and orchestrated by his predecessor Steve Davies, it was Paul who oversaw the three Great Gatherings, which included the temporarily-repatriated Dominion of Canada and Dwight D. Eisenhower, and which turned in a sizeable profit.

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He also oversaw the completion of the return to steam of Flying Scotsman in 2016, to a rapturous public reception.

Paul initially replaced Steve, who quit on September 19, 2012, as acting director on a one-year secondment from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and in July 2013 was given the job on a permanent basis.

He studied philosophy at Edinburgh University before joining HM Treasury. In between three spells at the Treasury, he was private secretary to the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, studied for an MA in Art History at Goldsmiths College and was head of policy and planning at the Natural History Museum. He joined the DCMS in September 2005 as Head of Museums & Libraries and became Head of Arts and Creative Industries at DCMS.

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New first lady of railway heritage

PARACHUTED in to replace Paul Kirkman has been Judith McNicol, director of people and culture, at the Science Museum.

She will take over the job as interim director on a temporary basis until a permanent successor is found.

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Judith McNicol, temporarily in charge of the NRM. NRM

Judith said: “For those that don’t know me, I’ve been with the Science Museum Group for 13 years.

“The National Railway Museum is close to my heart; my great great-grandfather was one of the many to die in the building of the Forth railway bridge; from a young age I remember travelling across that bridge in awe of the scale, beauty and the possibilities that it held; and joining the museum to work amongst the great ‘firsts’ – Stephenson, Brunel, Mallard, Rocket and of course Flying Scotsman – was a childhood dream come true.”

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