3 Sefton Libraries on just 3 or 2 day a week opening – 3 on 6 day opening

Maghull Library has been on a 2 day week as a consequence of Covid Lockdown for quite some time now and I’d been assuming, always a dangerous thing, that it would soon be opening up 6 days per week. However, a recent enquiry seems to indicate that increased hours/days may not presently be on Sefton Council’s agenda. Anecdotal evidence indicates, I might add, that staff shortage may be the reason for keeping it to 2-day opening.

Time to try and get to the bottom of this me thinks so I’ve approached 2 Sefton Councillors asking them both to try to find out what’s going on.

Maghull Library is within Meadows Leisure Centre and has been since the centre was opened in 2009, although sadly Sefton Council has steadily been reducing the size of this library in favour of other activities. It’s now, I guess, less than half the size it started out at just 11 years ago. Interestingly, Meadows Leisure Centre itself is now opening, according to Sefton Council’s website, at these times –

Monday to Friday 6:30am – 10.00pm
Saturday and Sunday 8:00am – 5:00pm

Whist Maghull Library only opens on a Tuesday and Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

A check on the opening hours of the other Sefton Borough libraries reveals this:-

Bootle –
Tuesday 10am-4:30pm
Wednesday 10am-4:30pm
Friday 10am-4:30pm

Crosby
Monday 10am-4:30pm
Tuesday 10am-4:30pm
Wednesday 10am-4:30pm
Thursday 10am-4:30pm
Friday 10am-4:30pm
Saturday 10am-1:30pm

Netherton –
Wednesday 10am-4:30pm
Friday 10am-4:30pm

Formby –
Monday 10am-4:30pm
Tuesday 10am-4:30pm
Wednesday 10am-4:30pm
Thursday 10am-4:30pm
Friday 10am-4:30pm
Saturday 10am-1:30pm

Southport –
Monday – 10.00am-4.00pm
Tuesday – 10.00am-4.00pm
Wednesday – 10.00am-4.00pm
Thursday – 10.00am-4.00pm
Friday – 10.00am-4.00pm
Saturday – 10.00am-2.00pm

I’m not sure what’s going on here as personally, I’d expect there to be reasonably common opening hours across all of Sefton’s libraries. Clearly, 3 libraries, (Bootle 3 days and Netherton/Maghull 2 days) are bearing the brunt of whatever problems Sefton Council are facing but I fear the short opening hours could well have further-reaching consequences. Firstly, what about vital access to IT equipment which those who are job seeking and/or on benefits use our libraries for as the cost of having broadband at home is beyond their budgets. Surely the 3 libraries in the Borough on 3 and 2 day opening only cause problems for them which if they live in Crosby, Formby or Southport they don’t face. A postcode lottery you might say?

My other concern is the viability of these 3 short-hours libraries because reducing them to just 3 or even 2-day opening is akin to reducing the number of buses on a route or trains on a railway line; you get to the point where folks just stop using them and try to find other ways around the lack of availability. In my view Sefton Council needs to get the 3 short-hours libraries back up to similar opening hours as the 3 that are already running 6 days per week and this needs to happen sooner rather than later.

As always, if I’ve got any facts wrong in this posting please let me know and I’ll try to put things right.

Maghull – Limited reopening of Frank Hornby Heritage Centre

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 – caractorgraphics@yahoo.co.uk – 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.

Dinky Toys – Do you have any in your attic or loft?

If suburban Maghull, a dormitory town of Liverpool, is famous for anything it’s the fact that world famous toy maker Frank Hornby made it his home and there’s a small Hornby Heritage Center within the Town’s Meadows Leisure Center for folks to visit. It’s open whenever Maghull Library is open, so check the current times on the web and come and visit.

The Frank Hornby Trust, who set up the Heritage Center, have been fortunate to either purchase, have donated or be loaned many items in its display (Meccano, Hornby Trains, Dinky Toys etc.) but one area of our collection that could do with expanding is Dinky Toys. Do you have any in your loft or attic which you would be prepared to donate to the Trust for display in our collection?

The bus featured in this posting has just come into our collection:-

If you can help please email me at t3robertson@gmail.com

I am by the way a Trustee of the Frank Hornby Trust.

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.

Maghull – Hornby – Portillo – Watch the Maghull/Hornby edition on You Tube

Getting off the train from Liverpool

In case you missed the January screening of the BBC TV programme Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo, which visited Maghull because it was the home of world famous toy manufacturer Frank Hornby, here’s a link to it on You Tube:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHv-kkL4rqsMy apologies as the link to the video has been removed due to a copyright issue it seems.

In the Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre

Following the programme being broadcast the Frank Hornby Trust held an open day at Meadows Leisure Centre and Library in Maghull on 21st January and it was a great success with around 500 visitors on the day. The visiting Hornby tinplate ‘O’ Gauge railway layout (the same one as seen in the TV programme) was very popular with young and old.

FRANK HORNBY ROOM AT MEADOWS LEISURE CENTRE

Since then the Trust, on which Les French (as seen in the TV programme) and I are 2 of the trustees, has been getting enquiries about when our display cases are available for viewing. Presently there’s no easy answer because the Frank Hornby Room at the Leisure Centre is multi-use so it has a wide range of bookings for activities. On that basis we recommend that anyone wanting to see the display of Hornby related artifacts (Meccano, Hornby Trains, Dinky Toys etc.) contacts the Leisure Centre first to find out when viewing will be possible.

However, this situation should soon change as our display cases are to be moved within the Leisure Centre and following this they should be accessible whenever Maghull Library is open. The move is likely to take place within the next 2 to 3 months and we will ensure that when all is in place again that the opening hours/days are made well known.

THE ATKINSON – SOUTHPORT HAS A GOOD HORNBY DISPLAY

By the way The Atkinson in Southport has a decent display of Hornby items too if you are out that way. Sadly The Museum of Liverpool is far more limited in its displays of Hornby products.

Time for NHS to step up & provide state of the art facilities for Maghull & District

My media release to the Champion newspaper following yet another NHS letdown statement in the Aintree & Maghull edition of the paper dated 11th October 2017

*****

The former Lib Dem Leader of Sefton Council Tony Robertson, who now sits on Lydiate Parish Council, has stepped into the debate about a Health and Wellbeing Centre that is being proposed for the Town.

Tony says he is angry that after numerous failed attempts to upgrade local NHS facilities little if anything has changed at all. He sights the fact that when Meadows Leisure Centre was being planned it was designed to incorporate a GP practice which would have had on-site health, fitness and wellbeing facilities provided by the Leisure Centre. Sadly the NHS walked away from that opportunity and Maghull Library moved into the space the NHS could have had.

“But it does not end’ there says Tony “When Lydiate Village Centre was being planned the NHS was invited to become a partner with Lydiate Parish Council to deliver health services from the Centre. Again the NHS decided not to take up the opportunity.”

“And to put the tin lid on it the Champion has recently been asked to run an article saying that the Health and Wellbeing facility that looked like it may be coming to the Town is now only a vague possibility. This is deja vu for me because when I was given the green light a few years back from a senior Sefton Council Officer to the effect that the NHS were going to rebuild Maghull Health Centre and provide a Walk-In facility within the new building the NHS said ‘oh no we are not’ and they walked away. The Champion was asked to print a retraction back then!”

“Only recently I backed Independent Cllr. Matt Gannon in his attempt to get an NHS Walk-In facility back on track for Maghull. Matt was right to try to get this long promised but never delivered facility back in the mind of the NHS service commissioners.”

“I said at the time Sefton Council backed the opening of the Litherland Town Hall NHS Walk-In facility many years ago that I would support it on the basis that a similar facility was also subsequently provided for Sefton’s East Parishes (Maghull, Melling, Lydiate, Aintree Village & Sefton and Lunt Villages) – we are still waiting 10 years or more on!”

“Too many promises have been made, too many opportunities have been missed and my view is that those who plan for the location of NHS facilities in Sefton, be they the former Primary Care Trusts or the present Clinical Commissioning Groups, have let this part of the Borough down badly. It’s time to put that right rather than keep telling us that the answer is always NO!”

*****

My statement published by the newspaper in its edition of 7th November 2017.