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Sunday 9th September 2012

‘Formby-by-the-Sea, rediscovered’

A day to remember – an ambitious Victorian attempt to create a new resort “to rival Southport”,  to consider the reasons for its failure and the probable consequences if it had succeeded. The venue is the site of Valley House, Alexandra Road , Formby. (Instructions to be provided).

The central feature of the day will be a photographic display illustrating the 19th century attempt to create an ambitious new seaside resort and the subsequent history of the site. Although the company succeeded in creating a pleasant residential complex close to Formby Station on the Liverpool- Southport railway line; here on the coast overlooking Liverpool Bay, despite obtaining an Act of Parliament for a new railway loop-line, construction of a complete two-tier promenade,  the laying out of several roads and construction of resort-style properties,  with input by the already wealthy Vestey brothers,  the attempt failed.

Subsequently many of the roomy properties built were taken over by charitable institutions and used for the benefit of poor children from Liverpool, Manchester, Salford and Bootle to provide seaside holidays during the period 1910-1940. During WW2 the area became important for the defence of Merseyside. Finally the area has become a secluded and almost forgotten part of the Sefton Natural Coast having also fought off an attempt to convert it to a Golf Course.

A photographic display will tell the story of the area, and its philanthropic and environmental  legacy. There will be several guided walks during the day. These will include (by kind permission of its owners), a look at a listed (Grade 2), late 19thC ‘Cottage’, a rare example of the work of Arthur Mackmurdo, a highly regarded member of the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement.

There will also be an archaeological dig to examine the still intact remains of the lower ‘deck’ of the promenade now completely buried by blown sand.

This event is being organised in conjunction with Sefton Coast Partnership, and for the proposed archaeological excavation the staff of Liverpool World Museum.

For Booking arrangements:

Please contact - Hon. Secretary;

Dr Reginald Yorke, Briardale, 3 Wicks Lane, Formby, L37 3JE

Tel: (01704) 872187 Email: