Talk:Ernest Marples

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M1 motorway[edit]

On one of the bridges over the M1 motorway there used to be a graffito: 'Marples must go'. A protest about something that he was doing during his time as Minister of Transport. It remained for many years after he had actually gone. -- RHaworth 08:04, 2005 Jan 15 (UTC)

The graffiti over the M1 likely refers to several things, Marples' involvement in the Beeching report and the 'axeing' of railway services, his perceived conflict of interest in this action (the M1 itself having been constructed by the Marples-Ridgeway company) and his subsequent tax evasion scandal - given often as his reason for going to Monaco. I feel all these should be explored in depth on this page, but I have little primary source information on the man - I must try to dig some up over here. Marples fascinates me, since he presided over so much of the GPO telephone modernization and seems to have been quite the technologist, but he has a whole darker side to him. Perhaps someone in the UK would be better placed to help in these areas? --Warphammer 00:13, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Beeching cuts[edit]

I agree with the above statement. The 'myth' that Dr Beeching was to 'blame' for the railway closures in the 1960s needs to be voiced more publicly. He (Beeching) had no direct decision making powers whereas Marples did. Added to the fact that Marples had what amounted to two-thirds in shares of the road construction company Marples-Ridgeway at the time proves very suspicious. These shares were conveniently transferred to his wife whilst he was a Minister. Its unbelieveable that Marples was 'signing off' line closeures and his company then building some of the replacement roads is amazing. What surprises me is why there has not been any formal public enquiry into this affair, considering the impact this has had on UK transport over the last 40 years. Subsequent ministers Tom Fraser and Barbara Castle must also share blame, indeed more route mileage closed under them than it did Marples. They had the power to stop some of the closures but chose not to for political reasons no doubt.


I did read somewhere that Marples was wanted by the Inland Revenue for tax fraud, I believe he absconded to Monaco before justice caught up with him [1]. Details are sketchy and hard to come by; I will do some more digging and add to the article at a later stage.


A book titled 'The Great Railway Conspiracy' by David Henshaw (1994) - ISBN 0948135484 is a good read on this subject. I believe it is out of print now but copies come and go on ebay.

I am currently looking into Marples and collating the various publications and press articles with a view to eventually updating this article, he's certainly an interesting and complex character. Ravenseft 18:55, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Sale of shares to wife - dubious[edit]

I have added a 'dubious' tag to the claim that it was later discovered that he had sold his shares to his wife because I can not find a top-grade reference for this and the reference given is definitely poor and appears to be self-published. The same article makes another false allegation as far as I can see, in that it appears that Marples Ridgway were not direct contractors to the M1 and there is no evidence of any direct contractual link. Can anyone come up with a better reference for the wife claim? PeterEastern (talk)

I've now added some paper references for this fact and removed the dubious tag. Lamberhurst (talk) 14:52, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Could I also possibly trouble you to provide a quote from the Routledge Books if you have them to hand? To add a quote just add '|quote=blar blar' into the citation. It's just that it is hard for people without a big library to understand exactly what the books claim (and I don't). Thanks. Fyi, I am just finishing a big revamp of the Beeching cuts article which covers some of the same ground. Incidentally, do the quotes indicate that he sold the shares to his wife in January 1960 after he made his statement to the house or some time later? If it was at the time then that would be very remarkable! PeterEastern (talk) 15:11, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I'll have a look to see what can be added. However, I'm wary of cluttering up the article with long extracts from books and, looking at recent FAs, I can't see that the quote function is often used.On the subject of Beeching, I have a lot of material which could be used. I think it's important to get the structure right; imho, I would merge "the people and the politics" into "background" which would be subdivided into (1) growth of the network and financial problems by the 1960s, (2) attempts to stem the losses (i.e. the modernisation plan), (3) 1959 general election and appt of Marples, (4) Precursors to Beeching, i.e. Stedeford, Transport Act 1962 and appt of Beeching. "The closures" would become "Implementation of the reports", working in chronological order, distinguishing between line/station closures, withdrawal of goods & passenger services or just the latter, including also public reaction to the closures (e.g. Flanders & Swann). Between "implementation" and "critical analysis", there should be inserted "aftermath" which would cover the continuation of Beeching until the early 70s and the oil crisis, going as far as Serpell. The "critical analysis" section is quite good and needs just to be further developed. Finally, one section on "Beeching in reverse" or something similar which would cover both actual and proposed reopenings. I'll be happy to help out once I'm reunited with my library from May onwards. Lamberhurst (talk) 08:10, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
For the avoidance of doubt I am referring to the sort of quote which appears in the references. This is recommended good practice in Wikipedia, even without the issue of people not being able to access the physical sources and actual text where sources are not available online. A quote is particularly useful of course, when I provides additional details to guide more research, but even without that, the exact wording is very handy. See how I am using quotes in the current Beeching cuts article. PeterEastern (talk) 20:19, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Can I suggest that we move this discussion to the Beeching cuts article. I certainly support all you suggested changes, but it might be useful for others to be able to comment them as well. Personally, I think I have done what I can with the article based on my current knowledge, and it would be great to get one or more perspectives on it, and also the knowledge that others can bring. PeterEastern (talk) 20:19, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Sued by tenants of 'slum properties' and by former employees[edit]

There is, at the time of writing, a sentence in the "Flight to Monaco" section as follows:

As well as being wanted for tax fraud, one source alleges that Marples was being sued in Britain by tenants of his slum properties and by former employees.[11]

If the source is reliable there should be no need to state "alleges". However the source does not seem particularly reliable being a self published web page. I've flagged the source as self-published. I don't know enough about Marples to know if this information is accurate or well known so would appreciate it if someone more knowledgeable about the subject could either introduce a better source or remove the text in question if that is more appropriate. Alex McKee (talk) 16:42, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done and expunged the offending refs. Lamberhurst (talk) 22:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)