Southport – When Patrick the fastest bowler in the world bounced into town

Sunny Southport’s Cricket Ground

My love of cricket will be known to people who drop into the blog-site and that one of my Nottinghamshire cricketing heroes is the legendary fast bowler Harold Larwood – we both originate from the same district of Notts, Kirkby-In-Ashfield. But being a Notts lad exiled on Merseyside my cricket watching has been Lancashire based via catching County Championship matches at Aigburth (Liverpool) and Birkdale (Southport) for many a year.

The other day, You Tube, suggested a video to me about Patrick Patterson, probably the fastest bowler of modern day cricket. I watched said video (linked below) which has more than a tinge of sadness about it as seemingly Patrick can’t really remember much about his playing days.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpT5TPUmeCQ&t=220s

And what’s all this got to do with Southport? Well Patrick played for Lancashire from 1984 to 1990 and from checking the LCCC website archives I identified that he played at Southport’s Trafalgar Road ground in August 1984 against Northants and in July 1987 against Warwickshire. I was at one of those matches, I may have been at both, but my memory is hazy as to whether I was there in 1984 & 1987. Chances are that I was there with my old chum Chris Reilly and probably other Bootle Inland Revenue colleagues as many of the male members of staff would often take a day off to watch the cricket when Lancs were playing locally.

But what my memory is very clear about is the bowling of Patrick at the ground on the occasion I saw him. I recall that he started his run-up outside the playing area i.e. beyond the boundary rope within the crowd. He bowled incredibly fast and with Trafalgar Road being a smallish ground when he bowled a bouncer which evaded batsman and keeper it could and easily did make the boundary for 4 byes/wides!

On a sunny day there’s nothing quite like watching County Championship Cricket at Trafalgar Road and it is a matter of some sadness and frustration that Lancashire seem reluctant to make it an annual fixture of recent seasons. Here’s a link to the matches that have been played at the ground, the last one being 2018:-

cricketarchive.com/Lancashire/Grounds/751_f.html

Note:- Click on the photos to enlarge them. Neither were taken when Patrick Paterson was playing I might add.

Southport & its Vulcan Vehicles – Liverpool on Wheels Exhibition

My 2nd posting about the excellent Liverpool on Wheels exhibition, curated by Sharon Brown, at the Museum of Liverpool concerns Vulcan vehicles. Here are the photo’s I took at the exhibition relevant to the company:-

Below there’s a link to a Wikipedia page giving more information about Vulcan vehicles:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcan_(motor_vehicles)

As an aside I’ve always felt that the car should actually be permanently on display in its home town of Southport.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Southport – In the era of the trams

I picked up this postcard at Wirral Transport Museum recently and having tracked the same photo down in the book ‘Southport in the age of the tram’ by James Dean & Cedric Greenwood I can say that the authors say this of it:-

Company cars 16 and 11 pass on Lord Street at the junction with Eastbank Street Square about 1907-08. The book credits the photo to the Geoff Price Collection. They go on to say that the neo-Elizabethan timbered building on the right is Lomas’s (later Cannell’s) a high-class fashion store which opened in 1905

Click on the photo/postcard to enlarge it.

Southport – Labour throw in the General Election towel

The Sunday Times has the story – see extract below:-

So much for Labour’s ‘surge’ in Southport. Apparently, according to the Sunday Times, it’s going so badly for Labour in Southport that they’re pulling the plug. No longer one of Labour’s NW target seats.

Please click on the newspaper extract to enlarge it for reading.

How Preston’s transport plan could benefit Southport & the Ormskirk Merseyrail Northern Line

The graphic above*, which you will need to click on to enlarge for reading, is an extract from the recently published Preston City Transport Plan. It’s an important document because it discusses much needed transport, in this case rail, improvements to the south and west of Preston.

If you look closely the document is promoting the re-connection of the Burscough North Curve so that trains can once again travel between Preston and Southport. This is what the curves looked like when they were in place in the 1960’s:-

The Burscough Curves are in West Lancashire. This historic shot of them is from when they were in place, in 1960’s.

OPSTA, the Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travelers Association has been promoting the re-connection of the Burscough Curves since the 1980’s and they have been the driving force behind improving the Ormskirk – Preston Line and the reopening of Midge Hall Station. But it’s been an uphill struggle with Lancashire County Council (the Transport Authority) seeming being at best lukewarm about the line the present train operator (Northern) struggling to deliver the present basic service reliably.

Ormskirk’s Station where Merseyrail and Northern trains meet.

Another way forward is for Merseyrail to run trains all the way from Liverpool Central to Preston via the removal of the buffer stops at Ormskirk and other signaling/track improvements. To me this has always been the most sensible solution to bring the Ormskirk – Preston Line up to its true potential, together of course with the introduction of Southport – Preston trains. The fact that some of Merseyrail’s soon to arrive Class 777 Stadler rolling stock will now have battery operation facility (this had been in doubt previously) then them operating on the line without the need for expensive electrification equipment opens up real opportunities.

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Graphic Notes:-
* ‘P’ is Preston – Numbers 2, 3 & 6 are points along the Ormskirk – Preston Railway Line – 2 is the proposed new Coote Lane Station – 3 being the proposed reopening of Midge Hall Station and 6 is where the connecting Burscough Curves are situated i.e. where the Ormsirk – Preston and Southport – Wigan lines cross each other.

Nodding Donkeys – The Pacer, a bus on railway wheels, is still sadly with us

A Pacer at Preston Station

I came across the You Tube video (see link below) pretty much by chance even though it’s on a matter I have blogged about a number of times before i.e. the infamous ‘Nodding Donkeys’ of the railway world made from bus bodies and freight van trucks. However Southport rail campaigner Eric Woodcock is on the video explaining in straight forward terms how the much derided Pacer trains came about. It’s an interesting watch……

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucA5xIgjZBc

Inside a down at heel Pacer on the Ormskirk Preston Line

My good friend and former MP for Southport John Pugh campaigned to rid us of these terrible trains and here’s a link back to his work on the matter:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/02/07/pacers-are-thankfully-on-their-last-legs-or-is-that-wheels/