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.

Maghull – Come and enjoy the fruits of volunteers labours

The Fruit Meadows next to Meadows Leisure Centre & Library on Maghull’s KGV Park are well er fruiting and residents are welcome to come pick.

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This publicly accessible Fruit Meadow was planted by Maghull in Bloom volunteers with help from the National Lottery. There are edible berries and currants of many kinds plus rhubarb, cherries etc.

Just take a look:-

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Maghull – Old Library and Youth Centre are demolished

In some way it is always sad to see a bit of local history disappear even though the buildings in both cases were both relatively modern. None the less many local residents will have fond memories of them both.

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

The Library has been out of use since 2010 when the new Maghull Library opened within Meadows Leisure Centre on KGV Park. The reason it moved was that the old building was expensive to heat and both the heating and electrical systems were in need of renewal at great cost. But there is another back story to the move as well.

When the Leisure Centre was being designed the NHS was seemingly keen to include a GP surgery within it and space was duly allocated. It was an innovative idea whereby patients needing exercise therapy after illness or operations etc. could immediately be referred to a team of specialist exercise staff within the same building. Sefton Council was keen on the idea too but sadly the NHS pulled out and we never knew why really. What a lost opportunity and even more so now with the local GP capacity crisis that Maghull and district is suffering from – see numerous recent Champion newspaper articles.

But one lost opportunity turned into another real opportunity because the space was reallocated to Maghull Library which, as noted above, needed a lot of money needing to be spent on it.

I was the Sefton Councillor in charge of the Meadows Leisure Centre project at the time so you could say I am to blame for the Library being moved. And I acknowledge it was an issue of some controversy at the time as the old site suited some folk. The good news is that the numbers of people using the new Maghull Library went up so we must have got something right.

I will write up about the loss of Stafford Moreton Youth Centre in a separate posting.