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.

Maghull Station – Rebuilding the Station Master’s House

After many years of decline, it looks like work has now started to rebuild Maghull Station’s Station Masters House as part of the redevelopment and house building project behind the Liverpool bound platform. Here’s a photo I took on Remembrance Day on my way into Liverpool:-

It’s said (by no lesser person than Les French Chairman of the Maghull based Frank Hornby Trust) that the railway buildings of Maghull Station were a probable inspiration for Maghull’s world-famous toy maker Frank Hornby who lived just yards away from the station and who caught the train to work there regularly. On that basis, the derelict Station Master’s house has sadly been an unfortunate stain on the Town’s character in recent years.

Here’s hoping for a more positive future for a historic railway building………

Maghull – Frank Hornby Heritage Center is back up and running

Below is a press release from Les French Chairman of the Frank Hornby Trust who manage the Frank Hornby Heritage Center in Maghull’s Meadows Library and Leisure Center:-

‘We are absolutely delighted to announce that the FRANK HORNBY HERITAGE CENTRE is now BACK OPEN FOR VISITS following the completion of the move from the ground floor of Meadows Leisure Centre to our very own dedicated space above the library.

This means that as of NOW, our Heritage Centre, which is the only one in the world solely dedicated to Frank Hornby, his life and his products, is available to everyone during Maghull Library hours.

It is totally FREE to enter during weekdays between 10am and 5pm and Saturdays between 10am and 2pm, just follow the signs from the front entrance.

We hope that we will now be able to hold more events like the open day following the BBC2 programme ‘Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo’ which gave the Heritage Centre and our Town some tremendous publicity.

Some of our trustees have managed to get the display up and running, and whilst there is still some work to do and spaces to fill, despite having more to look at that before, we have plans to further expand the displays.’

‘It is hoped to have an official opening when we are ship-shape and Bristol fashion, so keep in touch via facebook and we’ll keep you updated.

Massive thanks to Mike Woodruff, Meadows Centre Manager, and Sefton Council for the concept, care and realisation of the project which will be a massive boost to our work in commemorating the home town of the World’s Greatest Toymaker, and of course the Trustees of the Frank Hornby Charitable Trust for giving their time and expertise so freely’

‘p.s. If anyone out there has anything associated with Meccano, Hornby, Hornby Dublo or Dinky then please consider lending or giving it to us so that we can share it with everyone. We would particularly love anything that has a family or works connection, he is our most famous ever resident!’

Note:- The lead photo was used by the Champion Newspaper in its article on this matter dated 27th June 2018.

Maghull – Latest Frank Hornby Trust developments

Things continue to progress with regard to the move of the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre displays within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre and it won’t be long before you visit them whenever the library is open. Here are the latest photos:-

More news about a re-opening date for the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre when I have it.

The Frank Hornby Trust is a Maghull based voluntary organisation which seeks to celebrate the life and works of Maghull’s most famous resident – Toy Maker Frank Hornby – Known the world over for Meccano, Dinky Toys and Hornby Railways

Meadows Leisure Centre & Library – Frank Hornby Trust Displays

If you live in the Maghull area you will have seen the headlines in this week’s Aintree & Maghull Champion about the contraction of the Town’s library into a space only about one third the size of what it was when the new library was opened in 2010.

The demise, reductions and contractions of public libraries is sad in any circumstance and it is a matter I have blogged about on many occasions. However, this particular posting is more about the consequences of the major changes at Meadows Leisure Centre and Library. In particular the remodeling of the Centre/Library is having a significant impact on the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre which is based within the building.

The Heritage Centre is run by the Maghull based charitable trust – The Frank Hornby Trust – and it helps celebrate the life and works of Maghull’s most famous resident. On display in the Frank Hornby Room on the ground floor of the leisure centre has been a large museum quality display case with many Hornby related artifacts within it. Here’s a photo of it:-

There are a lot of Meccano, Hornby Trains and other items on display and every one has to be carefully cleaned now and again.

But the Franky Hornby Room is being repurposed into offices for Sefton Council so our display cases are on the move. They are moving upstairs into part of what was the 2nd floor of Maghull Library and the move starts tomorrow Saturday 21st April when Trustees will be packing up the items ready for the display cases to be moved. This means that for a period of a few weeks, whilst the works are ongoing, there will be no access to the Hornby items.

The good news however, is that when the works are complete the display cases will be accessible whenever Maghull Library is open. This is a significant improvement on the present situation because the Frank Hornby Room has always been multi-use, so access to the displays has depended on other activities in the room.

Since Michael Portillo visited the Frank Hornby Room on one of his Great British Railway Journeys the Frank Hornby Trust has had many enquiries from folk across the UK who want to see the display of Hornby items:-

In the Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre – Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV this year.

There’s much work to do over the next few weeks but the Trustees hope that following the move the displays will be back up and accessible for people to see towards the end of May this year. More publicity will follow.