Maghull’s Moss Side and the Great War Remembered at The Atkinson Southport

As a follow up to my preceding posting about how Maghull’s world famous former Moss Side Hospital is being recognised at the new Maghull North Station here are some details of a project and research concerning the hospital which is now on public display at Southport’s lovely Atkinson Museum and Gallery.

History board about Moss Side Hospital on the platform of the new Maghull North Station

Here’s a link to information about project and when you can visit the gallery:-

www.theatkinson.co.uk/events/moss-side-great-war-remembered/?utm_source=Master&utm_campaign=6a60a4baf1-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0115a12ae9-6a60a4baf1-50600365&ct=t()&mc_cid=6a60a4baf1&mc_eid=73304c39fd

Extract from Atkinson web page – Local volunteers have been unearthing fascinating stories relating to Moss Side Military Hospital in Maghull. The hospital pioneered treatment for soldiers with shell shock during the First World War & treated over 3,600 patients between opening in December 1914 and 1919. Moss Side became renowned in the developing field of psychological medicine, with clinical staff at the time were described as “the brilliant band of workers who made Maghull the centre for the study of abnormal psychology”.

The Atkinson Southport photographed in November 2015 – Photographer unknown

With thanks to Keith Page for the lead to this posting

PS. On an unrelated matter if you are a Maghullian or anyone else for that matter and visit The Atkinson look out for their large display of Hornby related Toys and models. Other than the Frank Hornby Experience within Meadows Leisure Centre The Atkinson display is probably the most extensive you can find in the Liverpool City Region

Maghull – Moss Side Hospital/Shell Shock/Public Artwork

Readers of this blog site will recall how disappointed I was when the railway powers that be refused to acknowledge (in the name of the new Maghull North Station) the part the former Moss Side Hospital had played in the treatment of Shell Shock during and after WW1. Indeed, that disappointment was felt across a large number of campaigners as we wanted the station named ‘Maghull Moss Side’ because it sits on the site of the former hospital as does the new Poppy Fields housing estate.

View of platforms at Maghull North Station

My blog posting of December 2015 refers:- tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/12/07/maghull-name-new-station-maghull-moss-side/

We may have lost that particular battle but things have moved on in a far more positive way since and users of the new station will probably have seen the display boards that have been erected on the station’s platforms detailing the history we all wanted recognised. Here’s a photo of one of the boards:-

Now Maghull Town Council has stepped in and is to provide a piece of public artwork for display at the station. Details of the artwork can be found, via the link below, to the planning application documents recently submitted to Sefton Council (look at the Design & Access Statement):-

pa.sefton.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=PF34SBNWH4600

Local history is important in any community but in Maghull, which is world famous for 3 things, it is vital that the past is not forgotten. And the 3 things? This issue of course because of the pioneering medical work into trauma, the fact that Maghull had one of the first ever epileptic colonies (The Maghull Homes) and finally because it was the home of world famous toy maker Frank Hornby of Meccano, Dinky Toys and Hornby Model Railways fame. Who’d have thought that a town, which many think is just a post 2nd World War suburb of Liverpool, had such a history!

With thanks to Nigel for the lead to this posting.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Time capsule buried at new North station & ‘shell shock’ research recognition

The following is from a Merseytravel staff briefing:-

‘Following on from the official station opening last month, a special event took place at Maghull North on Wednesday which saw local schoolchildren burying a 50-year time capsule. With support from Merseytravel, Sefton Council and Merseyrail, the pupils from St Thomas C of E Primary School in Lydiate have been busy planning the capsule over the last couple of months – items added included LFC/EFC match programmes, an unused mobile phone, popular books and a film which they created.

As well as the capsule being buried, a series of storyboards were unveiled on both platforms reflecting the fascinating history of Moss Side Hospital, which was located on the land on which the station now resides, and how it became a leading institution at the forefront of research into mental health and PTSD during and after the First World War.’

Indeed, Moss Side Hospital was world famous and that was why local campaigners requested that the new station be called ‘Maghull Moss Side’ but their request fell on deaf ears in the railway industry. Maghull is world famous for 3 things – being the home of toy maker Frank Hornby, being the town that established one of the first ever epileptic colonies and being the place where ‘shell shock’ was first researched and treated at Moss Side Hospital. It’s great that the latter is being recognised but would it have hurt to have listened to the campaigners who wanted the station named Maghull Moss Side? An opportunity lost in my view.

Maghull – Work starts on North Station Building

Work continues apace with the construction of Merseyrail’s new Maghull North Station with the station building itself start to rise from the ground. The photo below illustrates the situation on Monday 05th February:-

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Behind the station the progress of house building on the Poppy Fields/Ashworth South site can also be clearly seen. This was the site of the former Moss Side Hospital which became world famous for its treatment of shell-shock sufferers during WW1.

Maghull – ‘Poppy Fields’ and Maghull North Station progress

I have been keeping an eye on the progress of these two adjacent developments off Maghull’s School Lane and here are are some photos of things as they were on 11th November.

Station platforms beginning to emerge

Almost completed houses on ‘Poppy Fields’, the former site of Moss Side Hospital and subsequently Ashworth South Hospital

Looking over the recently created rainwater collection pond (Sustainable Urban Drainage or SuD in drainage engineer’s speak). School Lane is behind the fence in the background.

Of course the Maghull North Station construction process has become hugely controversial with neighbouring residents in Mersey Avenue in recent weeks due to intrusive night time working, noise and flood lighting.

Merseytravel/Network Rail are promising a residents meeting we are informed in an attempt to find a way forward. There was no work taking place when the photo above was taken.

The housing development on Poppy Fields or the Moss Side Hospital/Ashworth South site (all are used to describe this site and its history) was not controversial when the wedge shaped piece of land was designated for housing in Sefton Council’s otherwise hugely controversial and recent Local Plan. But the site sits across the road (School Lane) from the most controversial of all the sites in that Local Plan – The Maghull East Urban Extension of around 1,600 houses plus a business park.

Poppy Fields in its former guise as a mental health treatment hospital site and before that, in World War 1, as a world leading center for the development of treatments for those suffering from ‘Shell Shock’ is of huge historical significance.

Maghull – Name new station ‘Maghull Moss Side’

Local chap Ross Ferguson is, together with a team of supporters, trying to push the railway powers that be to name the new and soon to be built Maghull North Station as ‘Maghull Moss Side’.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station.  Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

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I support their campaign as Moss Side Hospital is another of Maghull’s claims to world fame along with Frank Hornby and the Maghull Homes. There is a petition running on Change web site which I would urge you to support:-

www.change.org/p/jan-chaudhry-managing-director-for-merseyrail-director-of-merseyrail-customer-services-new-railway-station-for-maghull-let-s-call-it-maghull-moss-side?recruiter=295238821&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=mob-xs-share_petition-custom_msg&fb_ref=Default

Below is why the group are pushing for a change in the present project name for the new station. This is what they have to say in support of their campaign:-

We as members and former members of staff from Ashworth Hospital and the former Moss Side Hospital, would like to have the proposed new Maghull railway station named ‘Maghull Moss Side’ after the former Moss Side Hospital on who’s grounds the new station will be built. The former Moss Side Hospital has had a major influence on worldwide medicine and psychiatry, it was hailed as the first school of ‘Clinical Psychopathology’ in Britain and one of the first institutions in the world to recognise ‘Shell Shock’ (known today as ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’ or PTSD) as a medical condition. Also as a one time major employer and housing provider in and around the town of Maghull, Moss Side Hospital has had a major influence in the shaping of Maghull from a one time small village into a modern town and a desirable place to live. Therefore, we feel the least that can be done to honour this groundbreaking institution is to have the new railway station named after it.

As an aside I also think that the present Maghull Station should be renamed as Maghull Hornby when the second railway station is built.