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History Group Report September 2015

Ravenmeols Project. Work on this project has continued now for several years during which time a great deal of forgotten information has been retrieved from the archives. We are arranging a further Heritage Open Day on Sunday, September 13th, bookings for which are now coming in. We will be walking round the two main trails, one at 10 AM and the other at 2 PM, but these trails being waymarked will be open to being explored by visitors themselves. A third trail which will be slightly longer and include Cabin Hill National Nature Reserve, will be opened later. Our base for the day will be as previously the site of ‘Valley House’ (Alexandra Road), were we will have a small display set up under cover. Please note that access to these trails will be from Lifeboat Road car park noticeboard. In accordance with HOD requirements car parking charges will be dropped for visitors for the day.

WW1 Project. We are very grateful to the tremendous amount of work put in on this project during the last year by Tony Pawson and John Phillips particularly. Their week by week summaries of news reports in the Formby Times have now reached the end of 1918.  This picks up the immediate response/effects post the war and may provide information for some useful closing comments for the written report/booklet from this project, which we must now start on. It is interesting that one of the peacetime activities to resume was hare-coursing!  The Guild of War Service requested that their work should continue, as "we dare not relax" and arrangements for reception of returning soldiers and sailors were speedily  made.

It had been complained however that “Formby took the signing of the Armistice without any celebration worthy of the occasion”.  There was not in fact a great deal of rejoicing in the district during the week, but perhaps after all the most fitting celebration was that which took place at St Peter's Church Freshfield, when the Chairman of the Urban District Council attended and invited the members of the Council, members of the committees and others to accompany him”.  There was however an enthusiastic meeting to discuss erection of a memorial to fallen Formby soldiers - suggestions included  a cottage hospital, and “a block of granite engraved  with names of the fallen”. Formby did of course finally create a rather splendid War Memorial.

Historical artefacts – Model Cottages collection. Peter Lucas who has kindly been looking after the bulk of our collection of ‘historical artefacts’, for many years, has now expressed a wish to be relieved of this responsibility. One of the most attractive and interesting items in the collection is the Reeves  collection of models of some of Formby’s old cottages and farmhouses. Fortunately the refurbished and popular Atkinson Gallery has expressed willingness to take care of this unique collection and put it on display were it can be seen by the public once again. At one time we were able to display these in our two large glass cases in Duke Street Library, but unfortunately the last of these two cases is now to be removed, to make space for reorganised library activities.

If we can agree to let them go to the Atkinson we can then look at the future of some of our other historic possessions, including a Victorian slide projector, currently stored in Medlar Lodge!

Prehistoric Footprints Booklet. Sales of this seemed to have gradually tapered off but there has been a resurgence in national interest following a review in a national archaeological Journal. Unfortunately due to the closure of Tony Higginson’s bookshop in Halsall Lane one of our main sales outlets has disappeared.

Meetings Programme. We are now finalising the meetings programme for early 2016, and this will be appearing in the next newsletter due to go out early October.

Formby’s old road connections. The Chairman has rekindled my interest in Formby’s former connections with the outside world prior to the arrival of the railway and construction of all the A565. “which in one portion alone eliminated no less than sixteen right-angle bends in a distance of three and a half miles".  Part of this old roadway system can still be traced (on foot!) and it might be interesting to do this. Please let me know if you would be interested.

Reg Yorke,

Secretary FCS History Group. 2.9.15.