Tony McCalmont-Woods RIP

Tony was a Conservative councillor in the Maghull area of Sefton Borough in the 1980’s and 1990’s. If memory serves he represented Park Ward for a number of years until the late 1980’s when a political power shift took place in the Maghull & Lydiate area and the Lib Dems came to the fore.

Tony was also a member of Maghull Town Council which is where I came to know him following my election to that Council in a by-election in 1985. Again, if memory serves, I think he continued to be a member of the Town Council until the late 1990’s.

My memories of him are of a chap who always wore a business suit and tie as was quite usual for gentlemen of his and my Dad’s generation. Indeed, my Dad (George Robertson) and Tony knew each other well as both were members of the former Conservative Club in Maghull – It became Kensington House Sports & Leisure Club.

In Town Council meetings Tony was always very business-like in his approach to matters and I, as a fresh faced young Liberal, looked upon him as a big beast in local politics. I was once told that Tony was expected to rise through the Conservative ranks on Sefton Council but this did not happen because of the change of political wind in Maghull & Lydiate towards the SDP/Liberal Alliance and then the Lib Dems.

I recall a conversation with him at some civic event when I asked him about his serious approach to pretty much all Council business and he laughed out loud taking me by surprise as a different side to his stern character surfaced. It wasn’t long after this that some new play equipment was being ordered by the Council and Tony was very keen that it should be galvanised to make it longer lasting. It then became a bit of regular political banter as some wag would add on to something Tony had said along the lines of ‘and get it galvanised’.

Tony also had his very own political opponent in the guise of Cllr. Audrey Beattie as every now and then they would have a reasonably ‘good natured’ set to over some matter or other much to the amusement of other members of the Town Council.

During my very last conversation with well known local journalist Jim Sharpe, a few weeks before he died a couple of months ago, he asked me whether I’d heard anything of Tony in recent times as he understood him to be quite unwell.

I did not serve on Sefton Council with Tony as he had left that Council before I was elected to it in 1999 I might add.

The last time I saw Tony was a few years back in Morrisons Maghull shop. We had a chat about the old days and he commented on how the political rug had been pulled from under his party’s feet by the Lib Dems and that Labour had now done the same to the Libs in Maghull. How true that comment was.

I was not close to Tony but I hope my recollections and memories of him, if only at the margins, illustrate the man, the politician and the local councillor.

Frank Hornby – Maghull’s most famous resident

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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