Readers of this blog site will recall how disappointed I was when the railway powers that be refused to acknowledge (in the name of the new Maghull North Station) the part the former Moss Side Hospital had played in the treatment of Shell Shock during and after WW1. Indeed, that disappointment was felt across a large number of campaigners as we wanted the station named ‘Maghull Moss Side’ because it sits on the site of the former hospital as does the new Poppy Fields housing estate.
View of platforms at Maghull North Station
My blog posting of December 2015 refers:- tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/12/07/maghull-name-new-station-maghull-moss-side/
We may have lost that particular battle but things have moved on in a far more positive way since and users of the new station will probably have seen the display boards that have been erected on the station’s platforms detailing the history we all wanted recognised. Here’s a photo of one of the boards:-
Now Maghull Town Council has stepped in and is to provide a piece of public artwork for display at the station. Details of the artwork can be found, via the link below, to the planning application documents recently submitted to Sefton Council (look at the Design & Access Statement):-
Local history is important in any community but in Maghull, which is world famous for 3 things, it is vital that the past is not forgotten. And the 3 things? This issue of course because of the pioneering medical work into trauma, the fact that Maghull had one of the first ever epileptic colonies (The Maghull Homes) and finally because it was the home of world famous toy maker Frank Hornby of Meccano, Dinky Toys and Hornby Model Railways fame. Who’d have thought that a town, which many think is just a post 2nd World War suburb of Liverpool, had such a history!
With thanks to Nigel for the lead to this posting.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
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:-
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.
Seen in the Frank Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre, Maghull, Liverpool, UK. The display cases belong to the Maghull based charity the Frank Hornby Trust. This model was made by Jim Gamble of Nottingham, a world expert on Meccano. Frank Hornby lived in Maghull most of his adult life and is the Town’s most famous resident.
If you are thinking of visiting Meadows Leisure Centre to look at the Hornby items on display please phone the Centre first as the room is multi-use and could well be inaccessible. Best to check first on when it will be open to the public.
The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
Legend has it, especially in Maghull and particularly in the mind of Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French that the buildings at Maghull Station were Frank Hornby’s inspiration for his model buildings.
The fact is that Frank Hornby lived yards away from Maghull Station at the Hollies on Station Road for many years and then later in life a little further away at Quarry Brook which is now the sixth form building of Maricourt RC High School. He would have used Maghull Station regularly so could easily have spent time studying the buildings as he awaited his trains.
So is the legend true? Here is a photo of the rather dilapidated Station Master’s house, taken just a couple of weeks ago. Do Hornby Railways fans think there is a link between Maghull Station’s buildings and Franks models?
The photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
We had a Frank Hornby Trust meeting last week and Jim Gamble came up to Maghull from Nottingham for it. Jim wrote the definitive book about Frank Hornby some years ago and I managed to track down a second hand copy not so long ago.
Whilst we were waiting for the meeting to start in Meadows Leisure Centre a library assistant came up to me and asked whether I, as a local councillor, would have my photo taken reading a book so that the library could use it to promote its work. I said fine, add me to your rouges gallery. The next issue was what should I be reading? The assistant suggested a book about Frank Hornby and popped off to get one.
What did she bring back but Jim Gamble’s book! And what she didn’t know was that the author was actually in her library! So I said why don’t we have the author in the photo as well? A stunned look came back when I pointed Jim out and asked him to join me.
So the library got its photo but one with a famous author as well as a minor local politician and it is all the better for that I think.
And now for a real Boys Toys moment! Here is a shot of Frank Hornby Trust Chairman, Les French, looking all excited at a new Meccano set he has been presented with. One of out trustees restores old Hornby items and makes them as like new as possible. Les is certainly pleased with this one, indeed he looks wide eyed just like a kid on Christmas morning!
The photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-