Bootle – It’s North Park

In conversation with my old chum Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker (95 years young) the other day he told me of his playing putting and bowls in North Park during his lunch hour when he worked for an electroplating company in Bootle.

This made me think about a park I have worked almost next to myself for over 20 years so I took this shot as it is now from a high vantage point. The road in the foreground is Marsh Lane, with Stanley Road forming the road along the right hand side of the park.

Bootle's North Park

Click on the photo to enlarge it

There’s no bowling green now and no putting green either. The park has a skateboard facility in the right background (partly behind the trees) and a significant part of it was given over to the building of Bootle Leisure Centre (and its car park) which was funded by City Challenge Money from the 1980’s I think.

Merseyrail’s Liverpool – Southport railway line (left hand top corner) is of course a constant over many generations but other things on this photo are relatively modern such as the Aldi store which replaced a Vauxhall car dealership in recent times if memory serves.

The photo is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

Bootle – Ford Station – Long gone but not quite forgotten

In Conversation with my old chum Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker (a young 95) the other day he was talking about the time he lived in Bootle on Park Lane and he happened to mention the fact that Ford Station closed almost exactly when he moved to within spitting distance of it from his former Wallasey home.

I have mentioned this Station before and my posting of 21st may 2015 refers – see link below:-

In fact as my previous posting noted Ford Station closed in April 1951 and Charles moved into Park Lane in late 1950.

This started me thinking about the fact that I did not recall seeing a photo of Ford Station so an internet trawl had to be done. And yes I found some photos on the excellent Disused Stations web site – see link below:-

Oh another anecdote from Charles; he recalls the goods yard keeping him awake at night with all the shunting going on long after the station closed. No wonder he moved again, although only just up the road to Maghull and only yards from its railway station, where he still lives.

Tribute to Ronnie and Maureen Fearn on their retirement from Sefton Council

Lord Ronnie Fearn, who has been a councillor in Southport since before Sefton Council was even created back in 1974, and his sister-in law Maureen Fearn are both to retire as Sefton councillors this May. Both have been tireless workers for their community and indeed for Southport and the Borough of Sefton generally.

I have known them both for many years and it was Ronnie, together with Anthony Hill, who pushed me into standing for Sefton Council.

Ronnie was once the Leader of the Lib Dem Group on Sefton and he was also a member of the short lived Merseyside County Council. Before both of these he was a member of the old Southport County Borough Council. Of course he was elected as MP for Southport twice as well and then entered the House of Lords where he still sits.

Lord Ronnie Fearn with, Baroness Shirley Williams, John Pugh MP & Annette Pugh

Lord Ronnie Fearn with, Baroness Shirley Williams, John Pugh MP & Annette Pugh

Not long after I was elected to Sefton Council a combination of unusual circumstances found me as the Lib Dem Group Leader and then Leader of the Council. They must have been desperate! But of course this meant I was now Ronnie’s Leader and I always thought it was a bizarre situation. The man whom I looked up to looked to me, a lad from Maghull, for leadership! To be honest Ronnie did not interfere but when asked for his opinion he would give it in a kindly and helpful way but he always seemed to be my boss in my head.

And what about Maureen – 3 times the Mayor of Sefton. A tough but kind lady who is not taken in by anyone but is always a delight to talk to about anything. She reminds me of my dear old Mum offering advice and encouragement but firm with people who cross her.

Maureen would chair Lib Dem Sefton Council Group meetings during my time as Leader in a fair and even handed way until someone had, in her view, overstepped the mark. Then she would say ‘right I have heard enough we are moving on’ and the culprit usually backed off. If they seemed to challenge her she would turn into a Victorian School Marm and you got a real ticking off.

Those who were on the end of Maureen losing her sense of humour know who they are – Tony D, Simon and Fred, mentioning no names of course.

Ronnie has a political radar for trouble that I have rarely seen elsewhere, indeed only Andrew Blackburn, whom I nick-named Radar (MASH watchers will get this), has the same sixth sense for ‘elephant traps’ as Ronnie called them.

Maureen was President of the North West of England Lib Dems a while back and she sprung quite a surprise on my dear old friend Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker when she called him up to the podium at a conference and presented him with an award for all his efforts for Lib Dems. Charles, now a young 94, only showed me his award certificate a couple of weeks ago; he is very proud of it and Maureen who presented it to him.

Charles Walker being present with his award by Maureen Fearn.

Charles Walker being present with his award by Maureen Fearn.

Maureen is loved across the political spectrum and indeed Ronnie is too.

They both deserve a long and happy retirement from politics because they have devoted their lives to helping others. Happy retirement Ronnie and Maureen.

Joan Blackburn RIP

Candidates photos 04 11 030

Former Lib Dem Maghull Town Councillor Joan Blackburn, mother of former Maghull, Lydiate and Sefton Councillor Andrew Blackburn, died suddenly last Sunday I am sorry to have to report.

Joan was a kindly person who would always put a cup of tea in your hand if you went to visit, together with biscuits and/or a bacon buttie! Although she had suffered various health issues in recent years she was still on the go and out and about.

Only recently her family and ours together with that of former Maghull Town Councillor Charles Walker had an evening out at the Stanley Arms Pub in Aughton where she had a great time:-

Left to right - Phil Holden, Sheila Robertson, Andrew Blackburn, Joan Blackburn, Charles Walker, Carole Holden

Left to right – Phil Holden, Sheila Robertson, Andrew Blackburn, Joan Blackburn, Charles Walker, Carole Holden

Joan, originally from the Isle of Lewis, was a fluent Gaelic speaker but had lived in the Liverpool area for many years, moving to Maghull around 1980 with her family.

I will certainly miss Joan as of course will all her family and friends.

Maghull – Poverty Lane area in 1960

My good friend Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker moved into Poverty Lane, Maghull when the houses were built in March 1960 and he is still there now. The photo below shows the bungalows before there was even a pavement or front gardens or hedges etc.

Poverty Lane, Maghull - 1960

A scan of the Liverpool Ordnance Survey Map published in 1961, but based on 1958 data, shows that the bungalows on Poverty Lane had yet to be built.

Maghull 1958

Poverty Lane is in the bottom right of the map. The words ‘MAGHULL STA’ cut right across it. Molyneux Road, Summerhill Drive, Heathfield Road and Ashleigh Road are shown only as dotted lines and there’s no sign of Summerhill Primary School.

Click on the photo and map to enlarge them.

On the Pride of Sefton again

We had a family and friends trip on the Pride of Sefton canal barge on Wednesday 24th June.

This is the Trust's 2nd canal boat.

This is the Trust’s 2nd canal boat.

I had been on it a couple of times before and Sheila had been on it once previously. We both fell in love with it and 4mph cruising on the lovely Leeds Liverpool Canal out in the West Lancashire countryside. It was time to do it again.

The barge, which is very much disabled friendly, is run by a charitable trust and it takes bookings for groups of up to 12 people to help pay for its upkeep and the free trips it does for worthy causes.

We booked a 3 hour evening cruise and at £150 it is a bargain for up to 12 people.

Here are a couple of photos from our trip, which I am sure we will do again one day.

The LL Canal cuts through a rock formation in Halsall Parish to produce this lovely setting.

The LL Canal cuts through a rock formation in Halsall Parish to produce this lovely setting.

Our dear old friend Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker now a young 94.

Our dear old friend Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker now a young 94 aboard the Pride of Sefton 2.

The Charity’s web site is at:-

The 1st and 2nd photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-