Well this had completely passed me by and it was a photo displayed on Flickr yesterday which caught my eye and made me find out more. Here’s a couple of links to this marvellous project:-
The pedestrian bridge is close to the Nob End/Prestolee flight of locks on the Manchester, Bury and Bolton Canal which is presently undergoing restoration.
As a Trustee of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust which runs the Frank Hornby Experience exhibition within the Town’s Meadows Leisure Centre I’ve been delighted to learn of this wonderful piece of scaled up Meccano artwork, if belatedly. Must get to see it.
My thanks to Barnsley Victor on Flickr for permission to use his photo which is at the head of this posting – www.flickr.com/photos/123594177@N08/50673950813
The Frank Hornby Heritage Centre within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre.
As a Trustee of the Maghull based charitable group the Frank Hornby Trust I found the introductory video – linked below – from Sharon Brown (National Museums Liverpool’s Land Transport Curator) very useful.
As a 60+ year old I can of course remember Meccano, Dinky Toys & Hornby Railways very well but younger folk may not, so the video may help connect younger generations with a huge piece of both Liverpool’s history and the toys of previous generations of their own family too.
Another view of the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre.
The Frank Hornby Heritage Centre, which is within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre, is presently open to visit each Tuesday and Friday (10am to 4pm) but only with a previously made booking. This is of course due to Covid 19 restrictions. If you want to visit please e-mail email@example.com so that a visiting slot can be arranged.
Frank Hornby lived for most of his aldult life in Maghull on Merseyside. His 1st house (The Hollies) in Station Road has an English Heritage Blue Plaque on it and his 2nd house (Quarry Brook) which is now the 6th Form block of Maricourt High School a Maghull Town Council plaque.
The Frank Hornby Heritage Centre (FHHC) exhibition is to reopen on Friday 31st July by appointment only. It will then be open each Tuesday and Friday – 10am to 4pm – until further notice. The opening days/hours mirror those of Maghull Library with which it is co-located within Meadows Leisure Centre.
Visits to it are by appointment only
To book a visiting time please e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org – and say which Tuesday or Friday you wish to visit and suggest the best time for you. Please do not visit without gaining an agreed date/time slot as entry to the exhibition is being strictly controlled. Track and trace information will be recorded for each person visiting the Leisure Centre.
Please also note that access to the FHHC will NOT be via the main Leisure Centre doors but via the blue door on the right in the photo below, which will also be the access to Maghull Library.
The trustees of the Frank Hornby Trust, which curates the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre, are delighted to be able to welcome back public access to our exhibition.
Factory of Dreams – A history of Meccano Ltd – by Kenneth D. Brown is a book which was published in 2007
As a Trustee of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust (Hornby lived in Maghull for much of his adult life) I had been meaning to read this book for some time and lockdown gave me the perfect opportunity. The book runs to 230 pages of quite detailed information about the highs and lows of the company from start (1901) to finish (1979) and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about Hornby Railways, Dinky Toys, Meccano and indeed other products of the vast former Binns Road toy factory in Liverpool.
Many of the photographs displayed in the book are from my good friend and fellow Frank Hornby Trust Trustee Jim Gamble who has penned his own book – Frank Hornby Notes & Pictures the cover of which is displayed below (held by me) with Jim in Meadows Leisure Centre, Maghull.
For those of you reading this who don’t know, we have a permanent exhibition in Maghull celebrating the life, works & products of Frank Hornby. It’s called the Frank Hornby Experience and it’s a bespoke part of Meadows Leisure Centre which is run by Sefton Borough Council who are valued partners of the Frank Hornby Trust. Of course access to the exhibition has been curtailed during the pandemic lockdown but we hope to be able to reopen it soon and will publicise how it can be accessed.
Returning to the book which is the subject of this posting, what I liked about it is the very obvious attention to detail by the author who clearly put great effort into understanding how Meccano Ltd was run and indeed run down.
I suppose the sad part of the story is in many ways the most relevant, how the company went into decline over a long period of time. I certainly get the impression that it’s last 20 years were, with the benefit of hindsight, leading to just one outcome – closure. Indeed, when I got my Meccano set around 1966 the end of it being a Hornby family-controlled company had already happened (in 1964) and it was being run by Lines Brothers prior to Airfix taking over in 1971 with the end coming just 8 years later.
Despite the end being so sad the book is in fact a very good read indeed.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
This is the last of my postings regarding the quite excellent new exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool which is presently inaccessible due to our health crisis of course.
Anything to do with Hornby and the products of his Binns Road factory interest me as a Trustee of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust so of course the section of the Liverpool on Wheels exhibition was always going to draw me to it. Here are my photos:-
Like the Museum of Liverpool the Frank Hornby Experience exhibition (within Meadows Leisure Centre) in his home town of Maghull is also presently closed but hopefully both will be accessible when we come out the other side of this dreadful health crisis. I’m guessing that the period the Liverpool on Wheels exhibition will be open could be extended? It’s presently due to close on 1st November………
My congratulations to Sharon Brown (Curator of Land Transport at NML) and her colleagues for an excellent exhibition.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
My good friend Les French (Chairman of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust) has a story that goes along the lines of Hornby used the buildings at Maghull Station as the basis for his tinplate model buildings. And you know Les could well be right as we know that Frank lived literally yards away* from Maghull Station and that he used the train regularly if not daily.
So bearing that in mind the slow decline of the old Station Master’s house in Melling Lane adjacent to the level crossing over recent years has been very unfortunate. Here’s how it looked in 2006:-
This shot of the former Station Master’s House was taken in June 2006.
But whilst this historic local building looked to be down and out it has survived to be given a new lease of life and it looks like this today:-
It’s nice to see it being given a second chance even in a modernised form.
* Hornby lived firstly at ‘The Hollies’ on Station Road and then latter at ‘Quarry Brook’ in Hall Lane (still close to the station). Both still stand ‘The Hollies’ as a private house and ‘Quarry Brook’ as the 6th Form Block of Maricourt RC High School.
Hornby’s first house ‘The Hollies’ is in this postcard photo.