Bolton’s Meccano Canal Bridge

Well this had completely passed me by and it was a photo displayed on Flickr yesterday which caught my eye and made me find out more. Here’s a couple of links to this marvellous project:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-22051441

www.northwestmeccano.co.uk/Giant%20Bridge.html

The pedestrian bridge is close to the Nob End/Prestolee flight of locks on the Manchester, Bury and Bolton Canal which is presently undergoing restoration.

As a Trustee of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust which runs the Frank Hornby Experience exhibition within the Town’s Meadows Leisure Centre I’ve been delighted to learn of this wonderful piece of scaled up Meccano artwork, if belatedly. Must get to see it.

My thanks to Barnsley Victor on Flickr for permission to use his photo which is at the head of this posting

The last Northern Pacer!

A Pacer at Preston Station

The 27th November saw Northern’s very last Pacer in service. It left Kirkby Station on Merseyside heading for Wigan following a small ceremony which had been kept quiet due to Covid restrictions. Here’s a video of the final departure from You Tube by Kieran’s Transport Diaries:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AbmiSDLz14

I’ve blogged about these unloved diesel units many times particularly with regard to the campaigns to get rid of them. Here’s a post of mine from February 2018:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/02/07/pacers-are-thankfully-on-their-last-legs-or-is-that-wheels/

I for one will not be sorry to see the back of them. Buses on railway wheels, sometimes called ‘Nodding Donkeys’, they were shockingly uncomfortable to ride on.

A Preston bound ‘Nodding Donkey’ at Ormskirk Station.

Lydiate – The traffic lights that don’t ‘like’ cyclists

A problem which I first became aware of a couple of years back has resurfaced or perhaps it never went away?

My previous blog posting from 2018 refers – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/11/09/lydiate-cyclists-and-the-kenyons-lane-a59-traffic-lights/

Whilst I cycle a lot around Sefton’s East Parishes and out into West Lancs I don’t use this junction to cross the busy A59 very often but having been contacted again about the sensors under the road surface not picking up the presence of cyclists on the dairy side of this junction I’ve resurrected the matter with Sefton Council Highways and raised it at a Lydiate Parish Council meeting earlier this week.

Maghull – The 1955 opening of its County Secondary School (Ormonde Drive)

My good friend Robbie Fenton has loaned me her copy of the brochure produced for the opening ceremony of what was called at the time (June 1955) Maghull County Secondary School. She was 12 years old and participated in the ceremony as part of the school choir. Robbie has lived in Maghull and Lydiate all of her life and has been a local councillor I might add.

I’ve scanned the brochure and here it is, a document very much of its time:-

The school looks very different now as the building that was the subject of this 1955 opening ceremony was demolished recently to be replaced by a brand new one:-

Maghull High in March 2019 as construction of the new main school building was ongoing.

My thanks to Robbie for sharing the document as it’s very interesting to me personally and I’m sure those who have attended the school over the years. I was there 1969 to 1975 and am now a Governor of the school. And my favourite teacher? Jack Petty every time. He taught Geography and History in the first two years I was there and after that craft. He was an expert builder of Christmas displays and he would build one every year mainly from polystyrene in the foyer of the 1955 building. They were beautiful with motorised figures and my old school mate Pete Roberts only mentioned them to me recently. I learned a lot from Jack.

Click on the photos and documents to enlarge them

Clieves Hill memorial bench wrecked

First thing this morning I got a message from a friend of mine to the effect that the relatively new memorial bench placed atop Clieves Hill in Aughton as a tribute to Melling cyclist and Parish Councillor Allison Doyle was in a sorry state.

Alison was killed in an accident on Bold Lane in Aughton a couple of years ago and the bench was errected in her memory by friends and family. I’ve blogged about this previously of course.

So off I went on my daily bike ride and when I got to Clieves Hill this is what I found:-

It strikes me that this damage has been done by a vehicle, maybe reversing into it?

I’ve sent copies of the photos to one of her cycling friends.

With thanks to Hazel McGuinness for the lead to this posting

Cummings and Northern Goings On

It all sounded so easy when the Tories announced they were going to level up so that ‘The North’ would no longer be at a disadvantage to the south. So far not much levelling up has happened but then again we are living through a badly handled (by the Tories) health crisis/pandemic so they do have some excuse for the lack of anything tangible happening. However, that excuse won’t wash for long.

The other problem is that Johnson’s government seems incapable of handing just about anything well or even for that matter adequately. On that basis there can’t be much confidence that they’ll fix the north/south investment imbalance even when they do actually start doing as opposed to just talking about it.

Jim Hancock has an interesting take on all this. Please have a look what he has to say via this link:-

jimhancock.co.uk/hancocks-half-page/

Jim, as often is the case, gets what’s going on when many other commentators flounder. Not only that but he’s capable of putting it all down in understandable words; he’s part of a dying breed in journalism sadly.

I agree with Jim about Prescott and his wish to bring in regional governance which somewhat fell apart in English terms. I’m no fan of City Region Mayors, I never have been. What with the half-hearted devolution packages handed down when they were foisted upon us and the majority of them not really changing much at all I’d rather be shut of them in favour of proper regional governance via elected assemblies.

Prescott in government was a chap of typical old fashioned Labour hang-ups. On the one hand he had what all but amounted to an approach to this subject that Liberals had been articulating for generations. However, he was also one not to work across political boundaries because all he’d been taught in the insular Labour movement was against working with others who may hold similar views. I guess he was ‘our way or no way’ a view which has bedevilled Labour and stood it firmly against truly progressive politics for generations. Of course he lost his internal battle in the Labour Party over regionalism and having not built any bridges outside of that party his ideas sadly floundered.

I’ve never ceased to be amazed at how Labour can attack others who broadly agree with a policy they are trying to take forward because those others are not 100% backing of the Labour view. Labour has to build coalitions within the party but they won’t build them outside of it and Prescott lost regionalism because of that flawed attitude.