Jim Sharpe RIP

My friend Jim Sharpe has sadly passed away in Aintree Hospital after a short illness unconnected with our present health crisis.

Jim will be known to many people across Sefton & West Lancashire for his ‘One Man and His Dog’ column in the Champion Newspaper.

I am not aware of many pictures of Jim as he was always stood beside the press photographer (usually Marin Snape who sadly passed on himself not so long ago) but here he is in 2014 caught on camera press notebook in hand with Cllr. Edie Pope of Lydiate Parish Council.

I blogged about Jim back in 2017 in a posting associated with him being interviewed by Maghull Radio. Here’s a link to it:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/10/20/maghull-an-unexpected-contributor-to-a-maghull-radio-show-about-local-journalist-jim-sharpe/

Looking back on that 2017 posting it seems to say pretty much it all about Jim as I knew him but here are a couple of addition anecdotes. Jim’s politics were very much of the right and mine are very much of the left and yet I recall him being delighted when I became leader of Sefton Council; I knew his congratulations were genuine and I very much appreciated them. Jim and I would still chat from time to time in recent years indeed he phoned me about a month ago saying he was bored and wanted to a chat with me. We talked for half an hour or so about politics, life, the lockdown, his boat* on the Norfolk Broads and former councillors & other community minded folk we had known over the years.

He also kept in touch with former councillors Andrew Blackburn and Dave (Mr Lydiate) Russell. Jim would dine with Dave & Pam Russell at their house from time to time.

I know that his neighbour’s had been doing his shopping for him during the lockdown and he’d told me how much he appreciated that help when we last spoke.

As I said in my 2017 posting Jim was a journalist of the old school. At his best he was the people’s eyes and ears on the shoulders of those in power on the council locally. But he also liked good news stories about his home town of Maghull which he’d lived in for the vast majority of his life apart from a few years in and around the Colchester area working in public relations for British Telecom.

I will miss Jim because he was a decent chap, a good journalist and he cared deeply for Maghull the town I lived in for 43 years. RIP Jim

* Jim told me some years ago that he was going to leave his boat ‘Manxman’ to the YMCA in Birkenhead because they’d done so much for him.

PS – My good friend Andrew Blackburn has dug out this photo of a Maghull Mayoral charity fundraising walk in 1994 and Jim is there with us with his dog of that time too. It was taken outside the Running Horses Pub in Lydiate – Thanks Andrew

Lydiate – Remembering the 96 and the 96 trees planted in memory of the fallen

Lydiate in Flower volunteers have recently been discussing how the part of Lambshear Lane Park where the 96 trees were planted by Lydiate Parish Council in memory of the fallen Liverpool fans at Hillsborough can be tidied up. I recalled the trees being planted and searched my back catalogue of blog postings. I found this from 2014:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/05/17/lydiate-parish-council-to-plant-96-trees-in-memory-of-hillsborough-victims/

I then went back to Dave Russell who as Chairperson of the Parish Council back in 2014 proposed that they be planted. Here’s what Dave had to say:-

‘The trees were planted in 2014 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. The trees were provided as whips, the groundsmen planted them without any occasion, as it was hoped to do something when we were satisfied that they had all taken. My idea was to involve the football teams who play on Sandy Lane, schools and the general community.’

Alas, by 2015 I was no longer on the Parish Council and this did not happen. It would be good to see something done.

We also planted an extension of the trees at Sandy Lane, people came and planted trees in memory of loved ones, it was agreed by the Council to call the area ‘The Jubilee Wood’, it would also be good if this area could be tidied, and perhaps its name erected?’

If anyone out there would like to get involved in any work that the LinF volunteers do with these 2 areas of the parks where the trees were planted please let me know. I’ll pass on the contcat details to LinF.

My thanks to Keith Jones for the lead to this posting

Lydiate – A new youth club? Well let’s hope so and that it’s a success

I was pleased to read, via the Maghull Community Facebook Page, recently that some folks are getting together to try to launch a new youth club at Lydiate Village Centre on Lambshear Lane.

Here’ a scan of the publicity leaflet which I picked up at the Village Centre last Thursday:-

But apart from doing my bit to give this excellent youth initiative a plug, there’s a bit of local history in all this too. You see the site where Lydiate Village Centre sits was once the site of Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club.

The old youth club was based in a large wooden building which if memory serves was donated by the Ford Factory. It was set up by parents who probably had similar aspirations for their local youngsters back in the 1960’s. My old mate Phil Davidson was one those involved in LVYC. Here’s a photo of the old building with former Parish Councillors Pat Foster and Tony Fenton outside it:-

Former Lydiate Parish Councilors Tony Fenton and Pat Foster outside the old Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club

Sadly the building was burnt to the ground, but that unfortunate incident also kindled a desire amongst Lydiate Parish Councillors of the day to erect a more substantial building for the use of all ages and sections of society. From that idea Lydiate Village Centre rose from the ashes some 15 years later with a big National Lottery grant to help the project on the way. Former Lydiate councillors Dave Russell, Andrew Blackburn together with the then Parish Clerk Brian Beaven were the driving force behind the Village Centre.

So what goes around comes around and let’s hope that the new youth club initiative will be a great success.

Lydiate – An NHS back water with little in the way of public transport to get to major NHS facilities

There are no GP’s or dentists in Lydiate, the only dentist closed not so long ago. That in itself is unfortunate but if you look at the direct public transport links from Lydiate to the major local NHS facilities the picture is also poor.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident's petition in 2015 at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk. The battle was sadly lost.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident’s petition in 2015 at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk. The battle was sadly lost.

Lydiate (along with Aintree Village & Maghull) lost the 311 bus route in 2015 which linked it with Ormskirk and of course its hospital. Yes the 310 Liverpool – Ormskirk route just skims the eastern edge of Lydiate but its a long trek for most Lydiate residents to get to a bus stop for it on the A59.

Lydiate (together with Maghull, Melling and Aintree Village) has no direct public transport link to Litherland NHS Walk-In Centre, indeed it never has had such a link despite calls for one. I recall saying, when the Walk-In Centre first opened in the early 2000’s, that it could not reasonably be seen to serve the Eastern Parishes of Sefton Borough because of the lack of direct public transport links to it. Of course we were also fighting for a Walk-In Centre to be provided in Maghull at the time and even got to the stage of the NHS allocating money to rebuild Maghull Health Centre with provision for a Walk-In facility. But then out of the blue the NHS pulled the plug on the project for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained. I was of course pleased when Maghull Councillor Matt Gannon relaunched the campaign for a Walk-In Centre in Maghull in 2016. I also understand that Maghull Town Council will be including such an aim in its draft Neighbourhood Plan for the Town.

Lydiate’s link to Fazakerley Hospital has been via the 236 bus route in recent years. However, this route is no longer serving Lydiate as a consequence of Merseytravel confirming their Sefton Bus Review proposals recently. This is quite obviously a blow to Lydiate folks visiting friends and relatives by bus in that hospital.

Now the Sefton Bus Review proposals have been confirmed Lydiate’s only direct bus link with a major NHS facility will be via the 300 bus route to Southport and of course its hospital.

The last Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council, Dave Russell, tried every possible way possible to get an NHS facility within Lydiate Village Centre when planning for the new centre was at an early stage but the NHS managed to slip from his grasp there too.

Yes for me Lydiate is sadly an NHS back water both in terms of facilities in the community and with regard to direct public transport links to local hospitals and Walk-In Centres.

Stop Press – I had written this posting a while back but had not got around to finishing it of for publication. Then last night at Lydiate Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan meeting the very same issues came up and there seemed to be broad consensus that another attempt to gain NHS primary care facilities within Lydiate had to be made. Let’s hope such a plan will win the day this time around.

Halsall – St. Cuthbert’s and it’s connection with St. Catherine’s Chapel in Lydiate

The other day Sheila and I had the opportunity to visit and have a guided tour of St Cuthbert’s Church in Halsall, which is over 700 years old and in the same historic league as nearby Sefton Church in Sefton Village which, if I recall correctly, is a little bit older being over 800 years.

Modern stained glass in St Cuthbert’s – Halsall

We heard about Cromwell’s troops being billeted there and the damage that was seemingly done by them to stone carvings – knocking off noses and carving their initials on carved Knights gave slabs!

But what we found fascinating was that there is a close connection between St Cuthbert’s and Lydiate’s own St. Catherine’s Chapel, otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey. This connection is via the Ireland family.

St Catherine’s also known as Lydiate Abbey

St. Cuthbert’s is pre-reformation so whilst a C of E Parish Church now it was originally a Roman Catholic place of worship. We were told that folks living in Maghull & Lydiate would have travelled all the way to St Cuthbert’s on a Sunday, despite St. Helen’s Church in Sefton Village and Christ Church in Aughton being nearer for them. Seems in those days you had to and were expected to attend what was designated to be your parish church – no issue of choice back then for the poor in particular.

The stained glass photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:- www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Maghull – The Great Mogul Pub – Was it really named after a steam loco wheel arrangement?

Maghull’s Great Mogul Pub stands proudly next to Maghull Railway Station so at face value you could, particularly if you are a railway enthusiast, understand the question in the title for this posting.

The Great Mogul r

For the rest of you the wheel arrangements of steam locomotives are given names such as Mogul, Pacific, Mikado etc. A Mogul is a 2 – 6 – 0 arrangement i.e. 2 front pony-truck wheels, 6 driving wheels and nil trailing wheels. It is particularly a wheel arrangement that was popular in America hence, I assume, the depiction of a clearly American steam loco on the pub’s present sign.

Yes, I know I am commenting on this as railway enthusiast but it actually popped up at a meeting of Maghull & Lydiate Local History Society earlier this year when Dave Russell was giving a talk about pub names and their origins.

A dictionary search brought up the following definition of Mogul:-

‘a member of the Muslim dynasty of Mongol origin founded by the successors of Tamerlane, which ruled much of India from the 16th to the 19th century.
noun: the Great Mogul; noun: Great Mogul’

It is interesting to see the word ‘Great’ used prior to Mogul above so my guess is that the original name was actually given to the pub for other than railway reasons but hey as a railway enthusiast I quite like the present interpretation.

And here is a Wikipedia explanation of steam loco wheel arrangements if you want to know more:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2-6-0

It could be that my memory is playing tricks on me but I seem to recall that at one point during living memory the pub sign did have a depiction of a Mogul type chap on it. However, I have been unable to unearth such a photo. I have though found a couple of very old photo’s of the pub on the internet and here they are:-

Great Mogul Maghull 1

Great Mogul maghull 2

So to conclude can I ask that anyone with any more light to shine on this matter does so via the comment facility on this blog site. It would be nice to clear this matter up once and for all.

Addendum 17 12 18 – John K Rowlands Book ‘Around Maghull & Lydiate‘ published in 1997 says – @1849 – Esther Rainford, a widow from the Isle of Man, was the landlady of the new Railway Inn which would shortly be renamed the Mogul.