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:- 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.


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.


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.

Maghull – It was the Frank Hornby Trust Open Day yesterday – What a day!

Wow what a day. On the back of the BBC plugging our small Frank Hornby Heritage Centre within Meadows Leisure Centre via an edition of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys (screened last Thursday) we held an open day and the world turned out to have a look at our display cases and a visiting Hornby tinplate O gauge modelrailway layout.

Here’s the model railway being set up on the previous day:-

The layout, as seen on TV with Michael Portillo wanting to take it home, was set up by a couple of good friend of the Frank Hornby Trust.

Here’s a shot of visitors (we think around 500 turned out to see the displays) enjoying the day:-

Thanks the Champion newspaper for giving our Trust such great publicity and the staff of Meadows Leisure Centre who were only too willing to assist us.

Maghull – Frank Hornby Trust Open Day

To celebrate the fact that our Maghull based Trust made prime time TV on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys programme on Thursday evening last we are holding an Open Day at Meadows Leisure Centre from 11.30am to 5pm this Sunday 21st January.

Above you can see our display case with many Hornby historical items held within it. We will also have a large Hornby tinplate O gauge model railway up and running in the Hornby Room thanks to a very good friend of the Frank Hornby Trust. It’s the same layout that was seen on the TV programme.

In the Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre

Meadows Leisure Centre is at the junction of the A59 (Northway) and Hall Lane in Maghull – access is off Hall Lane.

No charge and all are welcome to come have a look

Maghull – Hornby as seen on TV

Well the programme has finally been aired and a new star has appeared on the BBC. I refer of course to the screening tonight of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys and the guest star appearance in it by Les French, long time Maghull resident and Chairman of the Frank Hornby Trust.

Getting off the train from Liverpool

As a trustee of the Frank Hornby Trust I had been aware of the filming for the past 3 months, indeed back in October of last year I met with the BBC production team as they planned their work, taking them around the places in Maghull that Frank Hornby was associated with. Fellow trustee Les was on holiday when that first phase happened but all went well and a couple of weeks later the filming took place.

For probably less than 10 minutes on Maghull in the screened programme many hours were put in on the two visits to the Town, the first one being without Michael Portillo. I would guess 6 to 7 hours were spent in Maghull over the two visits.

It was fascinating to see how a TV programme like this is filmed and I took some photo’s during the work of the BBC team. However, they asked for any publicity about the filming to be left until after the Radio Times had run the programme in the appropriate edition. Apart from some obvious spotting of Michael Portillo on Maghull Station which led to the sightings being referenced on Facebook we kept to our undertaking not to publish anything.

So that’s how it happened and didn’t Les do well, seems that a place on the stage is meant for him. Here are some of the many photo’s I took:-

Leaving the Station

In the Hornby Room at Meadows Leisure Centre

Michael & Les playing trains

Two chaps talking about model railways

With thanks to the BBC, Merseyrail, the owners of Frank Hornby’s former house on Station Road, the staff at Meadows Leisure Centre and to Michael Portillo who is as engaging in conversation as he comfortable in his presentation role.

The second photo is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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.

Melling – That soon to be corrected M58 motorway junction by Ashworth Hospital

As I have posted about previously that weird Junction 1 on the M58 which you can only access to travel east or exit from the east is finally to be made a full junction.

I recall my old Sefton Councillor chum and former Mayor of the Borough, Cliff Mainey, banging on about the need for this work to be done at least 10 years ago. A previous posting of mine about this matter is accessible via the link below:-

Yesterday Sefton Council, who are pursuing the project on behalf of Highways England, held an information session at Meadows Leisure Centre in Maghull so I popped along to learn more about it.

I learned that the project has a cost benefit ration of around 9 to 1 i.e. for every £1 invested in the project it should return about £9 into the local economy. If memory serves this was similar to the CBR of Brooms Cross Road which was constructed recently.

I understand that Sefton Council finally took the plunge and started to lobby seriously for the project about 4 years ago.

So what seems to have been a money saving (why else would it have been left a one sided junction?) half-done job at Junction 1 is finally to be corrected. Clearly money was not saved @1980ish when the Motorway was being built as it is having to be spent now. Oh and Cliff you were right and they finally listened to you.

Click on the graphic above to enlarge it