There are many reasons why people call the bots the names they do. Waterlily has been know to be called 'that bastard boat' before, not many times I'm pleased to say.
As I type this I do not know the reason Percy is called Percy. I have two lines of thinking....
Tony and Gill's children were big Thomas the tank engine fans....
Percy was the little green engine....(maybe even Brunswick green?)
Or more likely as I'd like to think this puts a real link to Percy....
Percy was one of five sons who ran the Lister company in 1926. As you can see Percy Lister was the driving force in taking the company forward.
"Founded in 1867, R. A. Lister and Co. were initially manufacturers of
agricultural equipment, but after the invention of the internal
combustion engine the company became a world-renowned name in
engineering. By the early 20th century Listers were producing petrol
engines, initially to power sheep-shearing equipment. These products
remained an important part of the company's business, but over time the
product range expanded considerably, ranging from electric lighting
plants and dairy equipment to garden furniture.
Robert Ashton Lister was still alive in the late 1920s, at which time
the management of the firm had passed to younger members of his family.
In 1926 the chairman of the board was Austin Lister, and the company
was run by the five sons of Austin's brother Charles: Robert, George,
Percy, Frank and Cecil. Inevitably this occasionally caused tensions, as
for example George managed home sales and Frank was in charge of
buying, while Cecil did not have a clearly defined role at all; and,
although Robert was the eldest, it was Percy (later Sir Percy) who had
by far the most significant impact.
As managing director Percy led the firm through a period of
significant growth and prosperity in the 1920s and 1930s. By 1926 the
workforce was around 2000 and was growing rapidly; the company ran a
24-hour manufacturing operation, expanding its range of products and
supplying retailers to around 6000 UK customers and many more worldwide. Retailing revenues were particularly healthy in Australia and New Zealand, where sheep-shearing equipment was in great demand.
The company headquarters were housed in an early 16th-century Priory
building in Dursley (which remained the headquarters of Lister Petter at
time of writing in 2009). In the nearby valley was located a foundry,
together with a number of other workshops necessary for the production
of engines and the various other products offered, including a machining
shop, capstan lathe shop, engine assembly lines, and a coopers' shop.
Lister engines were traditionally painted a mid-range shade of Brunswick Green,
which continues to be used by Lister Petter (see below) at time of
writing (2009). In 1929, the first of Lister's own design of "CS" (cold
start) diesel engine was made in Dursley. The CS is a slow-running (600 rpm), reliable engine, suitable for driving electric generators or irrigation
pumps. The CS type engines (the range spanned single-, twin-, triple-
and four-cylinder versions in a range of power outputs) gained a
reputation for longevity and reliability, especially in Commonwealth
countries, to which they were widely exported. Some CS engines ran
practically continuously for decades in agricultural, industrial and
By around 1930 Listers were producing around 600 engines a week, most
of which were small at around 1.5 to 3 hp; many of these had
applications in the construction industry. Listers continued to flourish
during the 1930s, riding the economic financial crisis and building on
its many earlier successes."