Maghull – The 1955 opening of its County Secondary School (Ormonde Drive)

My good friend Robbie Fenton has loaned me her copy of the brochure produced for the opening ceremony of what was called at the time (June 1955) Maghull County Secondary School. She was 12 years old and participated in the ceremony as part of the school choir. Robbie has lived in Maghull and Lydiate all of her life and has been a local councillor I might add.

I’ve scanned the brochure and here it is, a document very much of its time:-

The school looks very different now as the building that was the subject of this 1955 opening ceremony was demolished recently to be replaced by a brand new one:-

Maghull High in March 2019 as construction of the new main school building was ongoing.

My thanks to Robbie for sharing the document as it’s very interesting to me personally and I’m sure those who have attended the school over the years. I was there 1969 to 1975 and am now a Governor of the school. And my favourite teacher? Jack Petty every time. He taught Geography and History in the first two years I was there and after that craft. He was an expert builder of Christmas displays and he would build one every year mainly from polystyrene in the foyer of the 1955 building. They were beautiful with motorised figures and my old school mate Pete Roberts only mentioned them to me recently. I learned a lot from Jack.

Click on the photos and documents to enlarge them

And there was my old school – Maghull’s Woodend Primary

The Liverpool Echo has an article on its website, which prompted this posting as Woodend is not amongst the schools listed – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/nostalgia/72-closed-demolished-schools-arent-17782814

The photo above was taken in April 2018 and shows the former Woodend Primary School on the right. It was, on closure, merged into Maghull High School, as it shared the same grounds, and became its 6th Form Block.

I only did my final 2 terms of primary school there when we moved into Maghull in December 1968 yet I have happy memories of that short time – Mr Hadaway the Head teacher and Mrs Hughes my form teacher. I then, almost literally, walked across the playing field into Ormonde Drive Secondary Modern School in September 1969. Woodend School opened in 1968 just months prior to my going to it

My other memories of Woodend are sad though as I was involved in helping my good friend Andrew Blackburn in a campaign to try to save it from closure. Another of the campaigners, Pam Edwards, was given the Maghull Civic Award in 2001 (see photo above) for her efforts in setting up a nursery there. Sadly the number of children attending the school was falling in the late 1990’s and Sefton Council’s Education Department had their eye on it for closure.

A significant campaign was put together by people such as Andrew and Pam to try to keep the school going. Leaflets were printed advertising the school which were distributed by the campaigners across Maghull and parts of Aintree but we just could not drum up the numbers needed to save the school. As the end came nearer children moved to other schools locally and closure became an inevitability.

What was so sad about the closure was that the school was a good one, with a great Head (Alex Blythin) and a team of very dedicated staff & teachers. It’s big disadvantage though was that it was all but hidden behind housing in Ormonde Drive and Liverpool Road South so if you were not aware of it you’d hardly be likely to stumble across it.

That it continued to have an educational use was a bit of a blessing but I’m sure there must be many Maghull residents who remember it fondly and regret its demise.

Maghull Town Council recognised the contribution the School had made to the Town when they had this photo taken and distributed to each person in it. It was taken in early 2002, the School closed in July 2002:-(

Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – My old school is changing fast

I was at Maghull High, previous names Ormonde Drive Secondary Modern & Ormonde High, from 1969 to 1975 and recall the multi-storey block which you can just about see in the background (almost covered by the tree) of the photo of the new building being constructed. That was in the days when disability was hardly a consideration – the block was built with no lift!

I also recall the old Woodend Primary School (which was on the same site) and which I attended for my last two terms of junior school (I’d moved from Rochdale) before going to the high school across the playing field. Sadly, Woodend Primary School closed some years back despite huge efforts by campaigners, with my old friend Andrew Blackburn being just one of them. Indeed, I recall us delivering leaflets in the locality trying to persuade parents to send their youngsters to the ‘hidden’ school. By hidden I mean that it could not be seen from any road as it was tucked away behind houses on Ormonde Drive and Liverpool Road South and its secluded location may well have contributed to its demise. But then in an odd twist it rose from the ashes to become the 6th Form block of Maghull High.

Teachers? I recall the head of Woodend a Mr Hadaway and a teacher Mrs Hughes. From Maghull High I recall teachers Jack Petty (what a lovely man), Ken Livesey, Annabella Cowel, Ray (Rog) Jeffreys, Miss Rimmer, Mr Grindrod (red faced and nearly always shouting I recall)…

Kids I recall? Just one from Woodend and I only recall his nick-name ‘Trolley’ – I wonder who he is? At Maghull High I recall many fellow pupils – Tony (Tad) Jarrett – died @1990, Pete Roberts, Jenny Webb, Russell (Fod) Foderingham, Andrew Beattie – died 1999, Phil Keeling (now Watterson), Keith Connor, Mike Ashley, David Johnstone, Gill Bryers, Alan Latham, Paul Gardner…………. and many others.

And all these memories came flooding back as a consequence of my stopping on a cycle ride along the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail to photo my old school being rebuilt.

Lydiate/Maghull – Their former Cheshire Lines railway stations

A close up of Lydiate Signal Box

I have blogged about the isolated former Lydiate railway station before but to recap it was not even in Lydiate Civil Parish but just over the border in Altcar Civil Parish off Carr Lane*. It closed on 7th January 1952 and all trace of it has effectively gone. Interestingly though Lydiate does have a Station Road which joins Southport Road adjacent to the Scotch Piper Pub and does eventually lead to the former station.

Lydiate Station sat on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway and the tracks were lifted after June 1960. The station site is still accessible though as it is on the Trans Pennine Trail/Cheshire Lines Path and the station site is one of the access/parking points on the footpath/cycle path. Here are a couple of signs that have been placed on the station site:-

I bet there are folks still around who can recall getting the train from Lydiate Station to Southport or indeed Liverpool. Indeed, when I moved into Sefton Lane, Maghull in 1968 an elderly couple next door would tell me of their travelling by train from the former Sefton and Maghull Station on the same line. That station has also gone now although the platforms were still there in 1968 – it’s all now part of Sefton Lane Industrial Estate. Then around 1970 I met a chap called Jack Petty who taught at Ormonde Drive Secondary Modern School (now Maghull High); he was my form teacher. He told stories of using the railway after the war to get from his Southport home to work in Maghull and how he was often the only person on the train and the station staff at Sefton & Maghull made him a brew each morning when he got off the train.

Memories…….

*Altcar Civil Parish was split as a consequence of local government reorganisation in 1974 and the part in West Lancashire is now called Great Altcar Civil Parish – The part in Sefton Borough is called Little Altcar Civil Parish and its the most southernmost part of what most folks will think of as Formby.

Maghull to Southport for school swimming lessons, you had better believe it!

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These are the old Victoria Swimming Baths on the Promenade at Southport. Like many people (who lived in and around Southport) in the late 1960’s early 1970’s I used them as they neared the end of their long service. However, I was bused there from Ormonde Dive Secondary Modern School in Maghull (it later became Ormonde High, then Maghull High and is now Maghull High Academy) each week by the School!

Talk about a long journey for just a small amount of swimming! It happened because at that time Maghull/Lydiate had no swimming pool at all. The one at Hudson Primary had closed and the one replacing it at Deyes Lane Secondary Modern School (now Deyes High Academy) was still being debated by the pre-1974 Lancashire Councils. So bussed we were all the way to Southport!