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.

Sefton, West Lancs & Liverpool – Old railway photos in the locality – Maghull

Maghull Signal Box in 1968

I’m delighted to have the permission of Antony Graham to use his historic railway photos in my blog postings about railway matters in the locality of the heading of this posting. I hope you’ll enjoy the photos and stories surrounding them over the coming months…..

I’m starting off with a location which is very well known to me as I lived in Maghull for 33 years and was involved in the campaign to try to save the former Maghull Signal Box from demolition in 1993/4 whilst I was Mayor of the Town.

The Signal Box in 1993 – It closed in February 1994.

And here’s a write-up that Anthony published with the lead photo on his Flickr page which details the history of the Signal Box:-

‘Constructed in 1875, the box was opened in 1876, being inspected on 15th May of that year, and was a Saxby & Farmer type 7 structure with a 19 lever Saxby & Farmer 1874-pattern Rocker & Gridiron frame. A gate wheel was also provided. The box initially controlled the level crossing, a crossover and connections to a down refuge siding and up goods yard. In 1884 a ground frame was added to control an additional connection from the up main to the up goods yard, this was bolt-locked from Maghull box. On 16th November 1896 the lever frame was relocked with L&Y tappets, a new L&Y gate wheel was probably added at the same time. On 29th June 1909 a new, 28 lever, L&Y frame was installed and a second crossover was installed north of the station, for the new EMU service to turn back. A new up bay platform was added and a railmotor service, that had previously run from Aintree to Ormskirk, now started from Maghull, connecting with EMU services to and from Liverpool. In 1911 the railmotors moved to start/terminate from Town Green, when electrification reached that station, full electrified services reaching Ormskirk in 1913. It is not known if the up bay platform was used after 1911, but the connection to it was not disconnected until 13th September 1942. The ground frame and its connection to the up goods yard were removed between 1949 and 1952. The down refuge siding was disconnected on 15th December 1963 and disconnection of the up goods yard took place on 18th June 1964. On 18th June 1967 the north end crossover was also disconnected. Manned Controlled Barriers replaced the level crossing gates on 31st July 1977, the gate wheel being replaced by a barrier pedestal. The box closed on 10th February 1994. There are no surviving Saxby & Farmer type 7 signal boxes.’

And here are some inside shots of the Signal Box:-

Maghull Box Interior 1969 Signalman Frank McLoughlin

Maghull Box interior 1969

Maghull Box Interior 1976 – Relief Signalman Stan Parker

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Maghull’s lost signal box – I’ll return in future postings to other railway locations which Anthony photographed in the area. But to close, my own photo of the last track plan for Maghull Signal Box which is presently displayed within the permanent Frank Hornby Experience exhibition within Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre & Library:-

Please click on the photos to enlarge them

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.