Getting off the train from Liverpool
In case you missed the January screening of the BBC TV programme Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo, which visited Maghull because it was the home of world famous toy manufacturer Frank Hornby, here’s a link to it on You Tube:-
www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHv-kkL4rqs – My apologies as the link to the video has been removed due to a copyright issue it seems.
In the Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre
Following the programme being broadcast the Frank Hornby Trust held an open day at Meadows Leisure Centre and Library in Maghull on 21st January and it was a great success with around 500 visitors on the day. The visiting Hornby tinplate ‘O’ Gauge railway layout (the same one as seen in the TV programme) was very popular with young and old.
FRANK HORNBY ROOM AT MEADOWS LEISURE CENTRE
Since then the Trust, on which Les French (as seen in the TV programme) and I are 2 of the trustees, has been getting enquiries about when our display cases are available for viewing. Presently there’s no easy answer because the Frank Hornby Room at the Leisure Centre is multi-use so it has a wide range of bookings for activities. On that basis we recommend that anyone wanting to see the display of Hornby related artifacts (Meccano, Hornby Trains, Dinky Toys etc.) contacts the Leisure Centre first to find out when viewing will be possible.
However, this situation should soon change as our display cases are to be moved within the Leisure Centre and following this they should be accessible whenever Maghull Library is open. The move is likely to take place within the next 2 to 3 months and we will ensure that when all is in place again that the opening hours/days are made well known.
THE ATKINSON – SOUTHPORT HAS A GOOD HORNBY DISPLAY
By the way The Atkinson in Southport has a decent display of Hornby items too if you are out that way. Sadly The Museum of Liverpool is far more limited in its displays of Hornby products.
Wow what a day. On the back of the BBC plugging our small Frank Hornby Heritage Centre within Meadows Leisure Centre via an edition of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys (screened last Thursday) we held an open day and the world turned out to have a look at our display cases and a visiting Hornby tinplate O gauge modelrailway layout.
Here’s the model railway being set up on the previous day:-
The layout, as seen on TV with Michael Portillo wanting to take it home, was set up by a couple of good friend of the Frank Hornby Trust.
Here’s a shot of visitors (we think around 500 turned out to see the displays) enjoying the day:-
Thanks the Champion newspaper for giving our Trust such great publicity and the staff of Meadows Leisure Centre who were only too willing to assist us.
This was the scene on Tuesday 26th September as contractors were making a big impression on the site of Maghull’s second railway station which is due to open in May 2018. The 3 car Merseyrail Class 508 EMU (508 139) has left the present Maghull Station and is heading for Town Green Station in Aughton on its way to Ormskirk.
For those who don’t know where this second railway station will be in the Town, it’s on the Liverpool – Ormskirk line off School Lane (between the present Maghull & Town Green Stations) and the station building will be on the old Moss Side Hospital site. The rest of the former hospital site is being redeveloped for housing as you may be able to make out in the right background of the photo.
The housing development is being called ‘Poppy Fields’ as a nod to the great importance of Moss Side Hospital which was world famous for its treatment of Shell Shock victims in WW1. Sadly the campaign to have the new station called ‘Maghull Moss Side’ in recognition of the importance of the former hospital was turned down by the railway powers that be. Indeed, they also rejected the present Maghull Station being renamed ‘Maghull Hornby’ after the Town’s most famous resident Frank Hornby (creator of Dinky Toys, Hornby Railways and Meccano) who once lived only yards away from it.
The photo (click on it to enlarge it) is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
Anyone who has owned a Dinky Toy, Meccano set or a Hornby Trains model will have been playing with something that takes it’s heritage from the late Frank Hornby.
He is probably the best known toy maker in the world and he lived for much of his life in Maghull at two houses on Station Road and later at what is now the sixth form block of Maricourt High School.
This photo shows an image of Frank Hornby as part of the logo for the Heritage Centre that the Frank Hornby Trust has created within Meadows Leisure Centre, Maghull
There are actually very few photos of Hornby about. The one below is a photo of a framed photo of him which is on the wall in Kensington House Sports & Leisure Club. This club is in Maghull’s Station Road, yards away from both of Hornby’s homes indeed the club (formerly known as Maghull Conservative Club) is just about slap bang in the middle and Hornby was a contributor to its construction.
Maghull is also home to the Frank Hornby Trust which has a permanent exhibition to the life and works of Hornby in Meadows Leisure Centre, appropriately in the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre Room. Here’s a shot of that exhibition:-
There are a lot of Meccano, Hornby Trains and other items on display and every one has to be carefully cleaned now and again.
So next time anyone says something along the lines of ‘who on earth famous has ever lived in Maghull’ you know the answer.
Click on any of the photos to enlarge them
I have not mentioned the Frank Hornby Trust for a while but last Tuesday the Trustees got together for their AGM and a big clean up of our display cases in the Frank Hornby Room in Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre.
Cleaning the large display case
It was great to see Jim Gamble (probably the worlds greatest expert on Meccano) again – he had travelled up for the day from his Nottingham home.
There are a lot of Meccano, Hornby Trains and other items on display and every one had to be carefully cleaned!
If you have an interest in helping to support the work of the Frank Hornby Trust please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.
Note:- Frank Hornby lived virtually all of his adult life in Maghull and his world famous toy empire of Meccano, Hornby Trains and Dinky Toys makes him Maghull’s most famous former resident. There is an English Heritage Blue Plaque on his first house in Station Road near Maghull Station. It was the first one erected outside of London.
You can contact the Frank Hornby Trust via its Chairman Les French:-
or you can get in touch with me at:-
The amazing thing about Frank Hornby and his products is that many of them are still in production although the ownership of the companies involved in their manufacture is now spread far and wide.
Take Meccano, it has been produced by a French owned company for many years now – see link below to Meccano UK:-
And what about Hornby Trains – still going ‘strong’ as a OO gauge model railway producing company – see the link below:-
And what brought this to mind? My old chum and former Maghull resident Roy Connell (now a valued associate researcher for this blog site) spotted this newspaper report on the fortunes of the Hornby Company:-
And for those interested in what happened to Dinky Toys this link to a very detailed Wikipedia page will be of interest:-
Toy production has always be a volatile part of the economy with trends coming and going regularly. Produce the wrong toy that does not prove particularly popular and a company can be in all sorts of trouble.
The Frank Hornby Trust is dedicated to preserving and displaying the life and works of Frank Hornby who is by far the famous former resident of Maghull on Merseyside, UK. Displays of Hornby products are available for the public to view in the Frank Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre, Maghull. I would however urge all potential visitors to call the Leisure first before setting out as the room is multi-use and is not always available to view the Hornby display cases. The staff at the Leisure Centre should be able to tell you when viewing is possible.