Maghull – Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys – BBC 2 – 6.30pm – 18th January

Readers may remember all the fuss on the Maghull Community Facebook Page late last November when Michael Portillo was seen on Maghull Station. Well he was there and he was making a new episode in his long-running Great British Railway Journeys TV programme.

He was in Maghull because of it’s world famous former resident Frank Hornby and the programme to be aired next Thursday picks up on how model railways became so popular.

My dear friend Les French, who is Chairman of the Maghull based group The Frank Hornby Trust, will be seen in the programme talking with Michael Portillo.

This shot was taken whilst cleaning of the display cases was taking place in 2016.

Filming was done, at Maghull Station, at the grave of Frank Hornby in St. Andrew’s Churchyard and in the Frank Hornby Room of Meadows Leisure Centre although obviously we don’t know what will be in the edited final programme.

A great piece of model engineering

So remember 6.30pm Thursday 18th January.

Frank Hornby Trust – Spring cleaning in November!

hornby-room-29-11-16-2

I have not mentioned the Frank Hornby Trust for a while but last Tuesday the Trustees got together for their AGM and a big clean up of our display cases in the Frank Hornby Room in Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre.

Cleaning the large display case

Cleaning the large display case

It was great to see Jim Gamble (probably the worlds greatest expert on Meccano) again – he had travelled up for the day from his Nottingham home.

There are a lot of Meccano, Hornby Trains and other items on display and every one had to be carefully cleaned!

There are a lot of Meccano, Hornby Trains and other items on display and every one had to be carefully cleaned!

If you have an interest in helping to support the work of the Frank Hornby Trust please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Note:- Frank Hornby lived virtually all of his adult life in Maghull and his world famous toy empire of Meccano, Hornby Trains and Dinky Toys makes him Maghull’s most famous former resident. There is an English Heritage Blue Plaque on his first house in Station Road near Maghull Station. It was the first one erected outside of London.

You can contact the Frank Hornby Trust via its Chairman Les French:-

caractorgraphics@yahoo.co.uk

or you can get in touch with me at:-

t3robertson@gmail.com

Hornby Trains – Was the former Station Masters house at Maghull inspiration for model?

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.

rsz_former_station_masters_house_maghull_station

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:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Frank Hornby Trust – Meet the author

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.

Jim Gamble and me 20 01 15

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 by Dave Howel, also pictured. Dave 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!

Boys Toys!

The photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Emporium project about to launch in Maghull

I have posted about this project previously and it is going to launch/open for the first time on Monday.

Here are a few shots of works that were on-going over the past couple of days to ready the shop unit for action.

The outside - Graphic by Les French of course.

The outside – Graphic by Les French of Caractor Graphics.

This is s hot of the rentable bays being readied

This is a shot of the rentable bays being readied

The idea is that small start-up businesses can rent a bay within the shop unit in Maghull Square Shopping Centre to see if they can make a go of their entrepreneurial ideas. In simple terms they can road test their business model at low cost on the high street.

Let’s hope this joint private/public sectors project leads to successful retail businesses taking shape.

Emporium now there’s an odd word but entrepreneur that’s a vital one.

The dictionary definition of emporium is:- A shop, usually a large one, that offers a wide selection of goods.

I raise this because of a Maghull Town Team project that I am presently involved in where ‘Emporium’ is to be the name of a temporary shop unit, in Maghull Square. It will be there for start-up businesses to have a go, by renting one of 8 bays in the shop unit, to see if their business may be viable on the High Street for real. It is a part of the ‘Pop Up Shop’ trend that is appearing in empty shop units in shopping centres across the UK.

It is funded by the Coalition Government’s ‘Portas’ funding stream (like Maghull Community Radio that a posted about few days ago) and may well move from one empty shop unit to another as they come off and go on lease in the ‘normal’ cycle of retail units.

I Googled ‘emporium’ to see what came up and below is what did:-

The Emporium Clitheroe – Welcome to the Emporium. A truly intoxicating lifestyle experience. half coffee shop, wine bar and brassiere; half interior design superstore.

Vinyl Emporium – Liverpool, Merseyside – Books, Mags, Music & Video › Vinyl Records?

The Tattoo Emporium, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Inn Beer Emporium Reviews, Liverpool, Merseyside – Attractions …Things to do in Liverpool

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, Manchester – we want to mark a great season with a special menu.

My point? A really good project, but Emporium by name? Or is that just me? You see I am in a minority in holding a questioning view about the suitability of the name. But hey, let’s go with the flow, greater minds than mine think differently.

But this project links back to my long held view/concern for the future of those parts of the UK where dependency on public sector jobs is high and I say this despite being a creature of the public sector all my working life. What I have realised is that the well intentioned (and cost saving) move, by government after government, of public sector jobs out of the South East to the North West, North East, Scotland and Wales etc. in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s has had an unintended negative consequence. The negative is that it can lead to less entrepreneurs coming to the fore in such areas because a job in the public sector is often the obvious choice for a young person whose whole working family may well have been public sector workers.

But whether we like it or not we live in a capitalist economy, one which no matter what some politicians may say, can only be successful if in each generation there are sufficient young people with the determination to generate wealth.

The project that I am a part of has to address this vital issue. It is not just about creating jobs but about setting the scene for successful businesses to be started, to thrive and then for those businesses to employ others. It is this important cycle that has been to some degree broken in communities that have became too dependent on the public sector to provide jobs. Sefton, in my view, is in that category but with the notable exception of Southport which does have a significantly high proportion of small to medium sized business.

Whether we call it (the shop unit) an ’emporium’ or anything else the real test for it will be the flow of young people in particular who have wealth creating ideas that they want to road test within it. It’s going to be an interesting and I hope successful project.

The video below links to this project and it starts my old mate Les (Frank Hornby) French:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0tQbQDF0CY