Sefton’s Borough of Culture – Vote for Frank Hornby!

Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV.

You may have heard of Sefton’s Borough of Culture year in 2020 but did you know that you can influence the things that are celebrated locally? Well you can via the MYSefton website – see link below:-

mysefton.co.uk/2019/12/05/vote-now-celebrate-seftons-most-famous-figures-in-2020/

As a Trustee of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust I’d like folk to back the Hornby choice – see link below where you can vote:-

mysefton.co.uk/2019/11/24/sefton-stories/

With thanks to Frank Sharp for the lead to this posting

Liverpool – The sad end of the Binns Road Meccano Factory

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

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/how-liverpools-meccano-workers-were-17323473

This fascinating story of the last days of the Meccano Factory is a significant part of the recent history of Liverpool.

The Frank Hornby Trust was set up a few years ago to celebrate the life, work and products of world famous toy maker Frank Hornby. He lived for most of his adult life in Maghull on Merseyside in two houses – The Hollies on Station Road and Quarry Brook which is now the 6th Form building of Maricourt High School. The first English Heritage Blue Plaque erected outside of London was placed on The Hollies at the request of Maghull Town Council, who then put a plaque of their own on Quarry Brook.

Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV.

The Frank Hornby Experience is Maghull’s very own museum showing many Meccano factory products. It’s located within Meadows Leisure Centre on Hall Lane in Maghull and is accessible, free of charge, whenever Maghull Library is open. The Frank Hornby Experience is curated by trustees of the Frank Hornby Trust.

So whilst the loss of the Meccano factory was keenly felt back some 40 years ago the Frank Hornby Trust has done what it can to ensure that Maghull’s most famous resident and his products (and the products of his successor companies) are on display for present and indeed future generations to admire.

Maghull – It’s Hornby Town

Maghull Station

Quite some years ago (February 2015 to be precise) I recall standing on Maghull Station with fellow Frank Hornby Trustee Les French, a rep from the Station Volunteers and a chap from Merseytravel. We were talking about making a story board for display on the station linking it to the life and works of world famous toy maker and Maghull’s most famous resident, Frank Hornby. A bit of back tracking on this blog site and I found what I said at the time. Here it is:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/02/02/maghull-promoting-frank-hornby-the-towns-most-famous-resident/

And the reason for mentioning it again now? Well the plan of February 2015 went nowhere for reasons I am not really aware of but it’s been one of those matters that from time to time I’ve promised to resurrect but then failed to follow through. So imagine my delight when I was contacted last week by a lady who’s one of the Station Volunteers and who’s clearly determined that the story board idea will see the light of day.

History board about Moss Side Hospital on the platform of the new Maghull North Station

I met said lady last Monday at the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre, within Meadows Leisure Centre, so she could photograph some of our display items which are normally behind glass. My understanding is that the plan is to put together boards akin to those at the new Maghull North Station which in that case tell the story of the work of the world famous Moss Side Hospital.

My very best wishes for the project, the Frank Hornby Trustees will be very pleased if it comes off this time around.

Liverpool – Meccano Factory, Binns Road -1950’s toy bus……………

Many people living in retirement in Sefton, Liverpool, Knowsley etc. will have worked at this world famous toy factory. Indeed, many visitors to the Frank Hornby Experience displays within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Center tell us that they or a relative worked there and it’s always great to hear stories about working lives there.

Not so long ago, with the help of Keith Page, I purchased a Dinky Toy model of a green and white toy bus which was made at the Meccano Factory. Here’s the bus:-

Then my fellow Frank Hornby Trust trustee Les French pointed out that there’s a photo in Jim Gamble’s book ‘Frank Hornby Notes & Pictures’ of a lady spray painting the very type of bus I had purchased. I made contcat with Jim Gamble, who lives in Nottingham and is pretty much the greatest living expert on Meccano, and asked him if he had the original photo – he did! Here it is:-

The photo is from the 1950’s I might add and as Jim Gamble says in his book ‘Note the minimal amount of protection from paint or fume contamination’

The toy bus and the 1950’s photo are now displayed together in the Frank Hornby Heritage Center, which is located within Meadows Leisure Centre, Hall Lane, Maghull. The displays are open for the public to look at during the normal opening hours of Maghull Library.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Note:- To my knowledge there were red and white toy buses made too but because the 1950’s shot is in black and white it could clearly be of buses being sprayed in other than green and white.

Kirkby – A visit to its Gallery

Ever heard of Kirkby Gallery in Knowsley Borough? Well it’s a great exhibition space presently housing an art display – Northern Stone and Peat Smoke by Anthony Ratcliffe. Here’s a couple of photos I took whilst visiting it recently:-

And in case you’re wondering where it is in Kirkby here’s a map:-

I went to the gallery with fellow Frank Hornby Trust trustee Les French as our Frank Hornby Heritage Center exhibition, within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Center, is likely to be loaning some items to Kirkby Gallery for their up and coming exhibition ‘Made on Merseyside’ which opens in September. I’ll expand more on that exhibition soon…….

Here’s a link to the Gallery and it’s present exhibition ‘Northern Stone and Peat Smoke’:-

www.knowsley.gov.uk/things-to-do/museums-and-galleries/exhibitions

I like that this great exhibition space does so much work with school children from Knowsley and beyond.

Dinky Toys – Do you have any in your attic or loft?

If suburban Maghull, a dormitory town of Liverpool, is famous for anything it’s the fact that world famous toy maker Frank Hornby made it his home and there’s a small Hornby Heritage Center within the Town’s Meadows Leisure Center for folks to visit. It’s open whenever Maghull Library is open, so check the current times on the web and come and visit.

The Frank Hornby Trust, who set up the Heritage Center, have been fortunate to either purchase, have donated or be loaned many items in its display (Meccano, Hornby Trains, Dinky Toys etc.) but one area of our collection that could do with expanding is Dinky Toys. Do you have any in your loft or attic which you would be prepared to donate to the Trust for display in our collection?

The bus featured in this posting has just come into our collection:-

If you can help please email me at t3robertson@gmail.com

I am by the way a Trustee of the Frank Hornby Trust.