When asked by our esteemed publishers for help in putting together a tome on the LMS Black 5s in the Book Of series the first question to be answered was, how many volumes? Surely even the mighty Irwell machine would struggle to cope with a thousand pager! After much discussion over sausage sandwiches and pints we came up with the answer - five. So, this Part 1 covers the 1934 batch from Vulcan Foundry and the 1935 engines from Crewe and Part 2 the similar 1935 Vulcan Foundry and Armstrong Whitworth locomotives. Part 3 will describe the 'Mark 2' 1936 Armstrong Whitworth locomotives and will sweep up the remaining pre-war engines. Part 4 will deal with the war-time and immediate post-war LMS batches leaving part 5 with the Caprottis and the final LMS and BR-built examples. As we will discover, the Black 5s were not all the same - far from it - and I trust the reader will follow through the story in the approximate chronological sequence which seemed at the time to make sense. The books therefore are arranged by the order in which the locomotives were introduced, with an added twist that, particularly in matters such as boilers and tenders, there is a certain amount of back and forward cross-referencing. In the belief that if you buy one book you will surely need the others to complete the set, some details are covered in more depth in the earlier books and only summarised in the later parts.