Kirkby – ‘Made on Merseyside’ Exhibition

This fascinating exhibition opens at Kirkby Gallery on Monday 23rd September and runs until 16th November. I blogged about it back in August and here’s a link to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/08/05/kirkby-made-on-merseyside-exhibition/

As I mentioned in my original piece the Frank Hornby Heritage Center, which is based within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre, has loaned some items to the Hornby/Meccano part of the Made on Merseyside Exhibition. Indeed, this is the first time we have loaned out items to another exhibition.

The preview opening was yesterday evening and I went along to have a look taking my Merseyside Maritime Museum Assistant Curator daughter with me. We were genuinely impressed with what had been done with the Hornby/Meccano items loaned to Knowsley Council and of the wider exhibition which covers a number of historic and more modern day companies operating in Knowsley Borough and across Merseyside. Here’s a few photos of some of the other displays:-

These photos cover less than half of what’s included in the exhibition I might add.

One of its the aims is to teach local school children about the things that were once made locally and in some cases still are so bookings are available for school visits. All in all a great piece of work by Tina Ball of Knowsley Council and her volunteers.

And to close this posting another Binns Road, Liverpool Meccano factory product photo:-

Yes, it really is my old Meccano set which I donated to the Frank Hornby Trust a few years back. To find it on display at a public exhibition was a strange feeling when all I wanted to do was get into the case and start making something.

If you can get along to this great local exhibition to learn more about what was ‘Made on Merseyside’ then I hope that, like me, you’ll think it was time well spent.

Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Liverpool City Region is listening or so they tell us

We’ve all heard about the poor (and that’s being polite about it) devolution deal which came down from our Conservative Government and was enthusiastically embraced by Merseyside Labour. I was not for swallowing 3rd rate devolution though and said so at the time (see previous postings on this blog site) as a Mersey Metro Mayor was in effect forced upon the Liverpool City Region.

I think it also fair to say that we’ve not exactly been overtaken with initiatives by our Metro Mayor who sadly often seems to be in the slip-stream of Manchester’s Metro Mayor, Bandwagon Burnham.

But actually I am really keen on proper decentralistion, well I would be I’m a Liberal and exercising power at the lowest possible level in our democracy is what we Libs are all about. It’s also why we saw a rat and realised the decentralisation on offer to Liverpool City Region was 3rd rate.

Now, having got that off my chest, I hear that our City Region, without much power, is asking us what we want to see it do and they claim to be listening too. Have a look at the link below to the on-line consultation:-

www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/lcrlistens/

I’ve had my say about local transport improvements I would like to see, air pollution that urgently needs tackling and employment issues which need action. Why not have your say too?

I’m not particularly hopeful that the issues I’ve raised will be grasped but if we don’t keep our leaders on their toes then we can’t complain when they do little or do things we don’t think are wise use of our money. Go on give our Liverpool City Region leaders something to think about…………

A history of Sefton Borough’s Communities

Whilst searching for the of the term origin of ‘Yort’ a while back (see my posting of 23 07 19 ‘Formby – What is a Yort?’) I happened upon this fascinating document by the Museum of Liverpool & English Heritage on the internet:-

Sefton Historic Settlement Study – Merseyside Historic Characterisation Project from 2011

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/archaeology/historic-characterisation-project/Sefton-Part-6.pdf

Here’s the introduction to the 84 page document:-

Introduction to Historic Settlement Study

The aim of the historic settlement study was to produce a consistent pro-forma template of information on settlements identified across all the historical townships in all 5 districts of Merseyside as based on the relevant paper First Edition Ordnance Survey 6” to 1 mile maps for Lancashire (published 1848 -1851) and Cheshire (1881 – 1882) . The purpose was to help provide background information for the data capture of character area polygons and also bring together some information on known or highlight other historic settlements, many of which have been lost or disguised by urban development. It was also thought that information would be useful for alerting to areas of possible archaeological interest to support the development management advice given by Merseyside Archaeological Advisory Service to the five districts. Historic urban settlement character is one of the key priority areas for research within Merseyside and one for which there is currently least documented archaeological evidence.

What a useful historic database this is for those wanting to know more about the origins of their own Sefton community. Go on find where you lived and get to know more about it………

Lydiate – Canalside trees gain preservation order

Trees which separate the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath from the new housing development site off Maghull’s Turnbridge Road have had a preservation placed on them by Sefton Council and residents living close to the trees have had a letter from the council today. The large trees in the background of this shot are some of those affected by the order:-

The order takes takes effect on a provisional basis from 20th August and will continue in force on this basis for a further 6 months or until the Order is confirmed by the Council, whichever first occurs. In effect the provisional period is to allow residents affected by the Order to make representations and the 18th September is the date by which such representations need to be made.

Independent, Lib Dem and Labour councillors have all been involved in this matter and the action taken by Sefton Council seems to be the best all round solution. The Order means that anyone wishing to do any work to the trees has to have the consent of Sefton Council.

Liverpool – Meccano Factory, Binns Road -1950’s toy bus……………

Many people living in retirement in Sefton, Liverpool, Knowsley etc. will have worked at this world famous toy factory. Indeed, many visitors to the Frank Hornby Experience displays within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Center tell us that they or a relative worked there and it’s always great to hear stories about working lives there.

Not so long ago, with the help of Keith Page, I purchased a Dinky Toy model of a green and white toy bus which was made at the Meccano Factory. Here’s the bus:-

Then my fellow Frank Hornby Trust trustee Les French pointed out that there’s a photo in Jim Gamble’s book ‘Frank Hornby Notes & Pictures’ of a lady spray painting the very type of bus I had purchased. I made contcat with Jim Gamble, who lives in Nottingham and is pretty much the greatest living expert on Meccano, and asked him if he had the original photo – he did! Here it is:-

The photo is from the 1950’s I might add and as Jim Gamble says in his book ‘Note the minimal amount of protection from paint or fume contamination’

The toy bus and the 1950’s photo are now displayed together in the Frank Hornby Heritage Center, which is located within Meadows Leisure Centre, Hall Lane, Maghull. The displays are open for the public to look at during the normal opening hours of Maghull Library.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Note:- To my knowledge there were red and white toy buses made too but because the 1950’s shot is in black and white it could clearly be of buses being sprayed in other than green and white.

Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester – Tired and a bit Empty

I love museums and always have done but I must say this one in Manchester disappointed me.

The day did not start well when we arrived at Ladywell Park and Ride to get a tram into Manchester only to find that on this particular line last Saturday the trams were being replaced by buses as maintenance work was being done. Obviously I’ve heard the dreaded words for rail travellers before ‘rail replacement buses’ but tram replacement buses was a new one on me, although sadly just as depressing in practice I have to say. It took forever to get into Manchester but we did have a scenic tour of Salford Quays along the way.

Note to self and advisory for others, don’t go to Manchester expecting a tram ride without actually checking that the trams are running.

The nearest I got to Metrolink – Trams passing each other at the G-Mex – one day I’ll get a ride on one I hope.

Having got to the city center the tram replacement bus travelled past the end of Liverpool Road, where we wanted to get off, so we could wave at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and then dropped us off miles away from it having sailed (for whatever reason) past quite a few bus stops. But we finally got to the Museum.

First impressions were good, the entrance hall looked good, the welcome staff were friendly and the toilets and Cafe were fine too. Cafes in Museums have in general usually been poor in the UK and I’ve often wondered if poor spec cafes is actually a specification of the Dept. of Arts and Culture or whatever the UK Government is presently calling it. Don’t get me wrong the small volunteer/private museums where you can get little more than a mug of tea and a Kit Kat are great, it’s just that when you go to a National Museum you expect to be able to eat well at a decent price and rarely is this the case. But to give them their due MOSI had got this aspect pretty well bang on, so congratulations to them.

Stephen’s Rocket at MOSI

Sadly, that was about it though for me. We had a good look at the original Stephenson’s Rocket which had pride of place in the museum (it’s only there for another couple of weeks – until the 8th September) then toured the rest of the site. What struck us were the empty spaces especially in the former Liverpool and Manchester Station building and the lack of railway trucks and carriages etc. on the tracks outside of it. The Power Hall was closed for maintenance works and the separate building housing all the aircraft and vintage cars was also the subject of significant maintenance works (although open) and quite obviously an extremely leaky roof.

Crossley Limousine of 1909

MOSI seems to pitch itself as a museum of family entertainment with all kinds of activities taking place for youngsters but for the older generations I feel it looks tired and rather empty. I have little doubt that austerity will have played into the the maintenance issues or probably the lack of maintenance (due to lack of money) has led to an almost crisis maintenance regime where things only get fixed when they are really bad. But having said that I’ve been to this museum before, the last time maybe 15 years ago or more and I seem to recall it’s empty spaces from back them.

A giant MOSI mural on the side of a building

MOSI, in my view, needs a big injection of cash and a plan to make the best of it’s wide open spaces both inside and outside. Sorry it was a disappointment.