RAF Woodvale – A history talk and some great memories

The other day I spotted that The Atkinson in Southport was advertising an online talk all about the history of our local airfield and thought it would be interesting to know more about it. The talk was at 1 pm today.

My connection with it came during my time as Leader of Sefton Council (2004 – 2011) when I attended the yearly Battle of Britain event held there by the Station Commander. In fact, the great thrill of going to this event was taking along my very good friend Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker who had served with the RAF during WWII as an aircraft electrician, mostly in Gibraltar.

Here’s how The Atkinson advertised the online talk by Military Historian and ex Formby resident Aldon Ferguson:-

‘RAF Woodvale opened in 1941. It was designated to provide fighter cover to protect Merseyside but was too late for the blitz. It did, however, continue to house fighter squadrons for general protection against the Luftwaffe and was a Sector Control Station with responsibility for northwest England. At the end of the war, it became a Royal Navy Air Station prior to a failed attempt by Southport to claim it as Southport Airport. Post-war it housed a large number of support and training squadrons and achieved fame in being the last RAF base to operate Spitfires on routine RAF duty. Still active, RAF Woodvale is currently home to three training units and a Royal Auxiliary Air Force unit.’

And an excellent talk it was too, really enjoyable.

Now back to Uncle Albert at RAF Woodvale, where he must have visited with me half a dozen times. He loved it as the Cadets made such a fuss of him. Having a wartime veteran in their midst was clearly a treat for them as much as it was for Charles who had a new audience for his war exploits. I look back now and smile about those events which made my old friend so happy with this RAF tie proudly on display. Charles died 4 years ago so you can guess that listening to the excellent talk brought back memories for me of a Maghull chap whom I admired so much.

Thank you RAF Woodvale you did him proud.

Memories of Sunny Southport

Having found these two videos – see links below – on You Tube about Southport, it’s history and how it was promoted in the 1970’s (both uploaded by Michael Dawson) I had to share them:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgLAZ90BXNQ

www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6MyE-ptbK8

And how the seaside resort is presently promoted in Covid 19 times:-

www.visitsouthport.com/

What’s interesting is that clearly in the days of the former Southport Borough Council and indeed into the early days of Sefton Borough Council there was significant promotion of the famous seaside resort by or at least organised by the council. That this lead in the promotion of Southport has been all but lost via the changing priorities of the present Council and indeed austerity measures must surely have had a detrimental effect on the local economy.

I recall that during my time on Sefton Council (1999 – 2015) with 7 years of that period being as Council Leader one of my long-term concerns was that the Council was always under pressure to reduce spending on the promotion of Southport. So yes the issue well pre-dates modern-day austerity. And the reason for this pressure? The need to spend an ever greater proportion of the budget on adult social care and children in care. Now you can see why politicians of all parties had to put the elderly and children first but never the less the effect was an ever dwindling amount of money to promote our local seaside resort.

Now probably more than ever Southport needs to be promoted so this proud and historic seaside resort can return to prosperity returns after the pandemic.

Maghull (Meadows) & Formby Recycling Centres – How to book a visit

I thought it may be useful to detail the booking process for folks living in the Formby & East Parishes areas of Sefton who now have access to the previously closed recycling centres in their part of the Borough. The link below should tell you what you need to know:-

www.merseysidewda.gov.uk/waste-recycling/book-a-visit-to-formby-or-sefton-meadows-recycling-centres/

Formby – National Trust plans for Lifeboat Road

A Red Squirrel – What could be more symbolic of Formby and Little Altcar

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/controversial-plans-formby-beach-set-17239274

Extract from Echo article – ‘Contentious plans to build toilets, pay and display machines and security fencing at one of Merseyside’s most beautiful spots are set to get the green light this week – but not everyone is happy about them.

Formby beach boasts sweeping sand dunes as well as picturesque pine forests and grasslands nearby and when the weather is nice, daytrippers come from near and far.’

Lydiate – Opposition to Fracking – Meeting 7pm 5th September at Lydiate Village Center

This coming Thursday the 5th September the Moss Alliance are holding a meeting at Lydiate Village Center on Lambshear Lane at 7pm to press the case for halting the proposed fracking process at Great Altcar on land between Formby and Lydiate.

Please click on the graphics above to enlarge them

A history of Sefton Borough’s Communities

Whilst searching for the of the term origin of ‘Yort’ a while back (see my posting of 23 07 19 ‘Formby – What is a Yort?’) I happened upon this fascinating document by the Museum of Liverpool & English Heritage on the internet:-

Sefton Historic Settlement Study – Merseyside Historic Characterisation Project from 2011

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/archaeology/historic-characterisation-project/Sefton-Part-6.pdf

Here’s the introduction to the 84 page document:-

Introduction to Historic Settlement Study

The aim of the historic settlement study was to produce a consistent pro-forma template of information on settlements identified across all the historical townships in all 5 districts of Merseyside as based on the relevant paper First Edition Ordnance Survey 6” to 1 mile maps for Lancashire (published 1848 -1851) and Cheshire (1881 – 1882) . The purpose was to help provide background information for the data capture of character area polygons and also bring together some information on known or highlight other historic settlements, many of which have been lost or disguised by urban development. It was also thought that information would be useful for alerting to areas of possible archaeological interest to support the development management advice given by Merseyside Archaeological Advisory Service to the five districts. Historic urban settlement character is one of the key priority areas for research within Merseyside and one for which there is currently least documented archaeological evidence.

What a useful historic database this is for those wanting to know more about the origins of their own Sefton community. Go on find where you lived and get to know more about it………