Oliver Bulleid was the last Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway, taking over from Richard Maunsell when the latter retired in 1937. Bulleid guided the Company through the Second World War right up to its absorption into British Railways in 1948.
Like Maunsell he had served his apprenticeship under Henry Ivatt and even married Ivatt’s youngest daughter, Marjorie. Prior to his joining the Southern Railway, Bulleid had worked under Nigel Gresley at Doncaster.
Bulleid’s most famous creations were probably the Merchant Navy, West Country and Battle of Britain classes of steam engine (the last two being identical in all but name and essentially smaller versions of the flagship Merchant Navy class), which were a familiar sight on the region’s network until the end of the steam era in the mid-1960s.
Bulleid is one of three Southern Railway engineers remembered in Plymouth street names on the fringe of Weston Mill (Maunsell and Drummond are the others), close to the old line of the Southern Railway, there are also the similarly themed West Country Close and Southern Close.