1958 Ordnance Survey Map – North Liverpool and Bootle

North Liverpool & Bootle

Click on map to enlarge it.

This is my last posting, at least for now, about the 1958 Ordnance Survey map of Liverpool (which I picked up for a song on Bewdley Railway Station not long ago) with particular reference to its lost railways.

The former line from Seaforth and the North Mersey Goods Yard past Linacre Road (closed April 1951), Ford (Closed April 1951) and Aintree Racecourse (closed March 1962) onto what is now the Liverpool Kirkby Merseyrail line is interesting. Most of it is just about still there; well at least the section from Aintree to the Liverpool – Southport line between the Strand and Seaforth & Litherland is. Indeed, there is still a single track here with trees and bushes growing through it. Merseytravel often used to talk of it being reopened but sadly this seems to be little more than vague speculation that gets repeated every 5 years or so.

Looking east in the direction of the former Ford Station from Hawthorne Road, Bootle in 2014.

Looking east in the direction of the former Ford Station from Hawthorne Road, Bootle in 2014.

On the former Cheshire Lines route around Liverpool Clubmoor station (closed November 1960) is there as is Warbreck Station (Closed November 1960) and Aintree Central (Closed November 1960) but used for race traffic until March 1963. The line closed in December 1964.

As with my last posting I recommend Rob Gell’s ‘An illustrated Survey of Liverpool’s Railway Stations 1830 – 1985 as a good point of reference.

A tribute to Dave (Mr. Lydiate) Russell

No this is is not a obituary, Dave is still very much alive and kicking but it is a tribute to a man who has done so much for Lydiate over the past 25 years or so. I made mention of Dave in part of a recent posting about the recent local elections but here is a more detailed tribute to him.

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

Lydiate environmental campaigners presenting Dave Russell with a petition to try to save the Green Belt from development around Lydiate

Dave lost his seat on Lydiate Parish Council in the recent elections and whilst this is the way things can go once you stand for public office I was genuinely shocked that my fellow Lydiate residents (in Lydiate North Ward) decided to show Dave the electoral door so to speak.

Dave and Pam Russell

Dave and Pam Russell

Dave has been Chairperson of Lydiate Parish Council for as long as I can remember and with his lovely wife Pam is a leading light in the Maghull & Lydiate History Society. Here are just a few things that Dave has done for Lydiate:-

* He led the campaign to get Lydiate Village Centre built together with the then Clerk to Lydiate Parish Council and Andrew Blackburn. In doing so they brought in a £500,000 lottery grant.
* Dave has been passionate about the upkeep and maintenance of St Catherine’s Abbey and has been pushing and shoving all kinds of organisations to do their bit to help preserve and maintain this famous local Lydiate landmark.
* He started Lydiate Civic Day which has now been taken over as Lydiate Festival.
* As a passionate walker he has campaigned for the upkeep of the local footpath network.
* Dave is also a passionate about Lydiate as a community and has fought to retain it’s unique semi rural nature and character. Battling against property developers and Sefton Council he led the Parish Council to become a prominent environmental campaign group.

I really don’t know why the good people of Lydiate North Ward decided to ask Dave to leave and close the door after him but whatever the reason’s I think all we Lydiate residents owe Dave a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless campaigning for the community he loves. As a Parish Councillor Dave did not not get paid for his work, he did it because he thought Lydiate was worth fighting for.

Whatever you decided to do next Dave do it with the knowledge that we think of you as a good and decent man who more than did his bit for Lydiate – Mr. Lydiate is indeed the right title for you.

Maybe in 25 years another Mr Lydiate will have come along – Let’s hope so.

Aintree Station – the disused lines/platforms

Disused r

Behind the Ormskirk bound platform of Aintree Station on Merseyrail’s Northern Line. The tracks were probably last used for a freight connection with the Metal Box Company whose factory was nearby. Prior to that they would have been used, together with two additional platforms, for Grand National trains etc. This once great station is now sadly a concrete and steel one that could pop up anywhere on the rail network.

The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

Thornton Parish Council – Probably one of the most successful Parish Councils in Sefton Borough and indeed beyond.

My connection with Thornton Parish Council goes back a number years to when they and the good people of Thornton decided enough was enough and they were going to re-launch the campaign to get a relief road built around their traffic congested community.


The previous campaign (which eventually became known as the Blue Route) had stuttered to a halt because of environmental issues mainly and I think it fair to say that mainstream politicians were hardly keen to dip their toes in that water again! But Thornton Parish Council thought differently and they knew their community still needed a solution to the environmental nightmare they faced virtually every day of the week because the road system taking traffic out of Liverpool towards Formby and Southport had a missing link in it. It certainly did so clouds of pollution were being spewed out along Lydiate Lane and Green Lane as a consequence.

This is the presently being constructed junction with Brickwall Lane just to the west of Sefton Village and south of Thornton.

This is the presently being constructed junction with Brickwall Lane just to the west of Sefton Village and south of Thornton.

The initial campaigning led to a public march, which I took part in, to raise the profile of the issue once again and then things really took off. This time mainstream politicians took notice and I like to think that I helped build the cross-party consensus to get some action rather than yet more warm words.

So a movement was built and what was ultimately a successful campaign was launched. But it would not have happened had Thornton Parish Council and the people of Thornton not shown great determination. The new road will, I hope, help ease their traffic congestion in Thornton when it is complete and open soon.

So why did what I look upon as one of the most successful of Sefton Borough’s 10 parish councils (because they won this massive campaign) only have 4 people nominated to sit on the 7 member Parish Council in this May’s elections? It makes no sense, people usually like to be part of success even those who have done nothing to bring about the success. Whatever the reason/s it is sad to see the lack of nominations to this Parish Council which has achieved so much.

But let’s look at it another way the road is only being built because of the campaigning of Thornton people, without them it simply would not have happened. I think that simple fact indicates that Thornton Parish Council deserves a huge thank you for raising a dead project and forcing it onto Sefton Council’s agenda. Yes people like me picked the issue up and ran with it but that was what I was expected to do when Leader of Sefton Council.

I really like Parish Councils, they are so diverse and are capable of so much and I am determined to let Thornton Parish Council have its 15 minutes of fame whilst others, particularly in the Labour Party, try to claim credit for a project they have had precious little at all to do with.

Switch Island/Thornton Link Road – a walk along it for charity

When I was but a lad (June 1971) I walked through the new Mersey Tunnel just before it opened to traffic and this year I got the opportunity to walk along part of the new Switch Island to Thornton Link Road before it too opens for traffic.

The walk along Brooms Cross Road, for that is what it will be called, was in aid of and to raise money for St. Joseph’s Hospice (Jospice) in Thornton and Sheila and I had a great time walking the new road. Here are some photos of the event:-

People walking the new road

People walking the new road

This is the Switch Island end of the yet to be completed road

This is the Switch Island end of the yet to be completed road

This is the presently being constructed junction with Brickwall Lane just to the west of Sefton Village.

This is the presently being constructed junction with Brickwall Lane just to the west of Sefton Village.

I will soon post a tribute to Thornton Parish Council and the good folk of that Parish who were instrumental in getting the new road built.

There are a couple of additional photos taken from this walk on my Flickr page at:- www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Election Counts and the people you meet at them – A guest Posting From Jen Robertson

By now last week’s elections have been analysed, over-analysed, and then analysed a bit more for good measure. There seems to be certain sense of shock at the outcome and a sense, certainly amongst those I’ve spoke to, of trepidation. Last week was not a good experience for any Liberal Democrat; but strangely at both the counts I attended I found myself talking to people who gave me a rather better feeling about these elections in general, if by no means making me happy with the results.

On Thursday night (or should I say the early hours of Friday morning, the count did drag on until nearly 6am in Sefton Central) I met a young lady attending on her own; Lindsey Melia, the local Green candidate, was her own agent and was introduced to us by a group of local non-party political campaigners for whom environmental issues were a key concern. She told me she’d stood because in the last election she’d wanted to vote Green and found there was no candidate in the area and so had determined to change that. I cannot think of a better response to that situation. No matter what you think of party politics here was a young woman who saw a situation she didn’t like and set her mind, and indeed her time and effort, into doing something about it. She will have known she wasn’t going to come close to winning, it’s a safe Labour seat (and indeed sadly neither the Greens nor the Lib Dems even managed to garner enough votes to reclaim our deposits) but what she did do was offer people a choice. A choice that the 1,184 people who voted for her would not have had otherwise. She also stood in Linacre Ward for Sefton Council (another safe Labour seat) and there offered the only alternative to Labour and The Socialist Labour Party and came away with a pretty respectable 12% of the vote. I suspect Lindsey will be back, she came across as quiet but determined, and personally, though we may be standing in different political camps, I hope to see her name on the ballot paper again and I hope more people have a similar reaction to her if they find themselves having trouble finding a candidate they can support.

That was Thursday, I managed to go to work on Friday and finally get some sleep. Then I was back on Saturday for the parish council counts. The unexpected holding of three out of four seats the Lib Dems fought on Lydiate was fantastic. While there though I again found myself talking to people outside of my own party, the same non-party political group that introduced Lindsey to me to begin with. Known locally as ‘Frag-off’ and standing for election under the title Community Action Not Party Politics this group of local activists are fighting, just like the local Lib Dems, to save the local greenbelt that contains some of Britain’s top agricultural land. They had a fantastic victory and took control of Formby Parish Council, winning nine out of the ten seats they contested. These people again seemed dedicated to fighting what they saw as wrong. To them this wasn’t an issue of party politics, one lady told me they came from a variety of backgrounds and said she personally liked the idea of political coalition. We agreed that debating sensibly with those who disagree with you, being forced to defend and see the flaws in your own ideas and beliefs, is good both for us as individuals and for the things we stand for. I suspect Formby has found itself under the governance of a group who will work very hard for them and, despite being involved in party politics myself, I think their decision to support this group that chooses to work outside the party system was a good one.

At both of these events I met people dedicated to making their corner of the world a better place. I met the kind of people who when seeing things they disliked have made concerted efforts to do something about it. No matter what the election results, there are people out there quietly working away to improve their communities and I’m willing to believe that this holds true across the country. Lose your faith in politicians if you will, but cynicism would be hard pressed to stand against the kind of people I met at the local counts. It’s one election, personally I don’t think it’s a good result, but it’s not the end. Saying it is the end is letting them win, so, like these local activists and those who get involved because they want to see a different point of view represented, don’t stop fighting, don’t stop voting, and don’t lose hope.