Sefton Village – A striking model of St. Helens Church

St Helens Church – Sefton Village in model form – Crosby Library

I took the photo above during a visit to Crosby Library a few months back. It’s of the historic Church of Saint Helen in Sefton Village where once this old atheist was a choir boy. It really is a beautiful scale model of the Grade 1 listed building. Here’s a link to previous posting of mine about the church:-

This note was on display with the model

Note on the base of the model stand.

Bootle – Blitz exhibition at Crosby Library

Sheila and I went along to this interesting exhibition (which is open until the 6th March) after seeing it promoted in the Champion newspaper.

One of Sheila’s ancestors was killed in the Bootle Blitz so we had a family connection to it as well as historical curiosity.

I took a number of photos whilst there and thought I would share them here:-

Johnson’s factory on Linacre Road hit by an incendiary bomb

A more recent shot of my own of the rebuilt but closed Johnson’s the Cleaners building.

Marsh Lane now Bootle New Strand Station

Very different times indeed but still within living memory of some who were but children at the time. The horrors of war are too easily forgotten so it’s good to see Crosby Library putting on such an interesting photographic and educational display.

We will remember them

Click on the photos/graphics to enlarge them

Crosby – It’s library looks more than a little the worse for wear sadly

Having been to Crosby Library a number of times recently it has been brought home to me how much it needs a little TLC.

I recall during my 15 years as a Sefton Councillor thinking similar thoughts and maybe I am as much to blame myself for not trying to do something positive to improve things?

The Civic Hall behind the Library has been moldering away for many years now but frankly it too was in very poor internal condition the last time I was in there prior to its mothballing/closure.

The building is certainly a child of its times with that 1960’s look to the architecture that makes it hard to love.

Surely things can’t continue as they are and that at some point Sefton Council will need to give this much needed and busy library a new lease of life?

Bootle in the Blitz

Sheila and I attended another packed out talk at Crosby Library last Wednesday, this time all about the Second World War Blitz of Bootle and its docks.

It was a compelling talk with a lot of information to take in despite the talk leader saying it was only a broad brush overview of the bombing of Bootle.

There were people in the audience who had lived through the Blitz and/or had lost relatives in it.

One matter covered was the bombing of Bedford Road School and the fact that the clock in the school stopped at the time the bombs landed on it. That clock is on display in the foyer of Bootle Town Hall and I recall seeing it there many times during my time as a Sefton Councillor – A sobering clock to stand and look at when you understand its history. Surprisingly, when the talk leader asked if anyone had seen the clock in the Town Hall I got the impression that I may have been only one of very few present who had. Here’s a link to one of my previous postings that covers the clock:-

I have blogged previously about the effect of the Blitz on Bootle and here’s a link back to another posting and the memorial on Ash Street:-

Thank you and well done to the staff of Crosby Library for this well put together talk about the dark days of the Second World War in Bootle.

Note:- During the talk a chap got up and if I understood him correctly he was saying that ‘it was all lies’ or words to that effect. With that he walked out and I wondered, probably together with the rest of the audience, what that was all about?

Crosby – Wrecks off the Sefton Coast – Talk at Crosby Library

Sheila and I went along to what turned out to be a packed out talk at Crosby Library this afternoon all about shipping wrecks along the coast of Sefton. The talk was given by Martyn Griffiths who has a web site about such matters which I have linked below:

The fact that there have been around 300 wrecks in the past 300 years is quite a surprising stat for those of us who are not well antiquated with the treacherous nature of the sand banks out in the Mersey estuary.

Martyn told us about just a handful of the many wrecks and one in particular The Bradda was illustrated by a beautiful model (belonging to Peter Kenrick) of the ship. Here’s some photos that I took of the model:-

An hour well spent gaining some knowledge of what is clearly a huge subject matter. The photo below shows one of the wrecks that can been seen on the Sefton Coast:-

Photo credit Sefton Libraries

Click on any of the photos to enlarge it

Punch Bowl Pub Sefton Village – Once known as Harsnops?

The Punch Bowl Pub

Now this is an odd one I’ll admit but not so long ago whilst listening to a talk at Crosby Library about the Registers of Sefton Parish Church I recall the speaker referring to the Punch Bowl as being known as ‘Harsnops’ many years ago.

Punch Bowl Pub

It stuck in the back of my mind and then driving through Sefton Village the other day was brought back to the front. Some research was required.

Vintage Inns who presently run the Punch Bowl say this on their web site:-

Thought to be about 200 years old, earliest records show The Punch Bowl to be the only pub in the village in 1824. The grounds of the building stand on the original Grand National Steeplechase course and provided the meeting place for the 18th Century social club, ‘Mock Corporation of Sefton’ who claimed their charter was granted by William the Conqueror.

No mention of Harsnops there but then I came across this:-

Full text of “Crosby records. Blundell’s diary, comprising selections from the diary of Nicholas Blundell, esq., from 1702 to 1728”

And buried in the text of the research linked above is this:-

There are two inscriptions to the Diarist in the Blundell Chapel, Sefton ….. A village tradition, given in the preface to Crosby Records {Chetham Society, No. …… I met Tho: Syer at Harsnops, ’tis the first time we met Apriuist.

So this is where the reference to ‘Harsnops’ comes from I guess although I’m also sure that historians of Sefton Village will be able to pin it down more precisely than I have been able to do with my Google searches.