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Constant as the Northern Star

 

Photo Album

Formby Point, Sefton, Merseyside

Can you imagine a warm sunny day, a fresh sea breeze, the sound of distant waves. A walk through the woods, a living sculpture. A blue sky with wisps. Spring flowers just coming out. There where lapwings, a kestrel, rabbits pointing their ears, ducks with their broods...... 

This was Formby point.

Click images to get the bigger picture

"The common place-name ending -by is from the Scandinavian byr meaning "homestead", "settlement" or "village". The village of Formby was originally spelt Fornebei and means "village belonging to Forni". At that time Forni was a well-known Norse family name. He could have been the leader of the invading expedition which took possession of this coast."

Source

Formby Red Squirrels

>>>>> Video <<<<<

Decline of the Red Squirrell

"Although not thought to be under any threat worldwide, the red squirrel has nevertheless drastically reduced in number in the United Kingdom; especially after the grey squirrels were introduced from North America in the 1870s. Fewer than 140,000 individuals are thought to be left in 2013. The population decrease in Britain is often ascribed to the introduction of the eastern grey squirrel from North America, but the loss and fragmentation of its native woodland habitat has also played a role."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_squirrel

Comments

Just came across this site by chance and enjoyed reading everybodys memories, especially Mookies. I'm sure this is Michael who lived just down the road from me. I lived in the house opposite Mrs Hale's (and still do!). Our road used to be unadopted, just a track, and outside Mookies house used to be a huge puddle which, we as kids, always used to play in, especially in the winter when it froze over and made a great slide. Mrs Hale used to wear a long fur coat in the winter and come out of her house with a bucket of cinders to throw in the potholes. Her house had a stables attached and I believe that in her younger days she used to teach the local genteel ladies to ride horses side-saddle. A bit further past Mookies house, near the coal yard used to be 'Coal Harry' Mawdsleys cottage. The coal used to be delivered to the yard by steam trains (the branch line off the main line was not electrified) and the train drivers used to let us kids ride on the footplate into the yard. Our days were spent in the fields behind Mrs Hales cottage or the fields on the other side of the railway line, climbing trees (there was one large tree we called 7 planets - I'm not sure why, it might have been that you were supposed to be able to see 7 planets from the top). On the way to the beach you went past Cockburns pig farm (next to where the pond is now, if my memory is correct). Another favourite pastime was hunting for spent bullets on the old rifle ranges. Happy innocent days. Wilko.
Thought you might be interested that the Formby Civic Society now have most of their archive photographs on Flickr.
 
These can be found at
 
 
Regards
 
Tony Bonney
Formby Civic Society

Note : This collection of photos published by Formby Civic Society covers what seems to be all the different times, places and events of Formby. It is well worth a visit. If you are interested in the history of Formby you'll like this. Y2U

came to formby on my scooter in 1971 when i was 16, fell in love with the place then, I'm originally from fazakerley but now live here. Formby is truly a magical place. Eric.
Great memories of Formby Point in the 60s walking along the beach with a transistor radio listening to the small faces, I have always wondered what the shipwrecks were you could see further out, the one that looked like two ships close in was in fact the Ionic star that had broke in two. The view from the shore looks strange now with the mast of the Pegu missing, the Ellan Vannin is in deep water and not visible. There is some excellent info and pictures on the Southport shipwrecks website that answered all the questions for me after all these years. Anon
i live in formby, and it seems you really have all the good points to make. 5/5 Anon
FORMBY RULES WOOOOO X X X X LOL -yea formby is great and fun hehe ..Ishbel

 

 

how do I send an email to you. I've lots of memories of just-post war Formby. Mike

If you have a story, photos, and anything else about Formby please email here. Photos can be sent by attachment to the email. Cheers.

Hi all Does any one know anything about an old house demolished some 30 years ago. It was a very large detached manor house type in it's own grounds. It was situated directly off Kirklake Rd. St Luke's end, directly opposite what used to be a large horse paddock. Now also developed and ironically called the Paddock (I think). Used to play in and on the house as a kid. It was big and white and of course was reputed amongst us kids to be haunted (weren't they all) LOL. Hamo

Great place to visit though it is hard work in the sand with child buggies Sue

Formby point what a great place I've grown up there and owned my caravan since i was about 6 years old. Just reading this is bringing back memories for me and i can't wait to go there again just imagining the light breeze and the green trees and playing out on a hot day in the sand dunes and in the lush green magical forests i love it there so glad i came across this website to share my memories with others :D  Anon
I would just like to mention that my dad and mum took me to Formby all my life, it was such a lovely place, and my dad who died in 2007, spent all his childhood there with his parents. I love it when the tide is in. Gill

What fascinating reading about The Star of Hope. I ride past this on my horse many times and had often wished I knew more about it. Thank you for this information. GG

this site was very helpful for my Geography project Anon

I spent all my childhood holidays at freshfield caravan site with my sisters, grandparents johnny and marion and mum and dad len and maureen from early 1960's. What a truly wonderful magical life it was -so innocent and back to nature with the sand dunes, clean beach and pine forests. Have been back since but was sad to see caravan site and many dunes washed away with new site in place and very commercialised. Thank God for dreams and memories. Freshfield- wonderful

Hi went to Formby last year as promised. I am hooked - what a gorgeous place. Spent the day on the beach with a picnic and messing in the sand dunes, then on to visit the red squirrel sanctuary, which is a large wooded area with lots of little hills for the kids to explore - saw loads of red squirrels - you can even buy nuts there and feed them. what a magical place - will definitely visit again this year. The only down side was silly irresponsible people who leave smashed bottles/glass in the sand dunes - to all you responsible people out there if you come across any - don't leave it remove it or a child could get hurt whilst playing!! Lynne (I took some gorgeous pics last year but cant find the folder i put them in on my PC!!)

Hi I live in Manchester and although have never been am visiting Formby tomorrow, my daughter aged 4 has just been with school and my sister's family all go to Formby - can't wait - will try and take some more pics and post them. lynne

I was born in Formby next to the coal yard. The houses have gone now except the one which the builders yard use, I think as there office. I used to play and camp in the fields were now houses are built. Mrs hales used to live in the old cottage next to the main road, we as kids thought she was a witch. The shore was a place we lived on all the school hols. The remains of the old lifeboat shed was still there. There was also a shop were you could get crisps pop etc, that has long since gone. There was a haunted house near the church were my grandma is buried. Formby point is just a point, a marker on the beach in the dunes to be more precise, not a place to shop or a village. I have some fantastic memories of the beach as it was 50 years ago. MOOKIE

Formby Point - a collection of own and others' thoughts and feelings.

Some write "Formby Point! What a flood of memories".  Those memories certainly contain smells and the softness of the sand;  the sound of all those various birds and the rustle of the bushes. 
The excitement of crossing the golf course as the green keeper didn't like that.

The memories of "pop" and Lucozade and sand-filled egg sandwiches which grated and polished with every bite. The memory of the ever so long journey to the nearest "chippy" but the special taste that those chips had after such efforts - not to mention the fish and the mushy peas.

The memories of helping others - be it through traffic controlling or looking after others on the beach as a St John Ambulance cadet. Not only the broken glass occasioned cuts but also treading on  the star grass at the wrong angle. Memories of the evacuation away from the war endangered Bootle to the beautiful sands of Formby.

Memories of growing up at Formby under the sweet smell or warm pines and the heat of hot summer sand on bare feet. Delivering newspapers to caravans and campers in tents, some of whom stayed for a whole summer.

Riding in the front basket of the delivery bicycle through the pine-tree woods - that is, until its front wheel sunk in the fine sands. Watching the asparagus in the hidden enclosure grow.  It wasn't a very fat asparagus but an extremely tasty variety. Combing and roaming the beach and the dunes and, as young boys,  hiding and peeping when kissing lovers were discovered - young boys just do that.

Searching for dinosaur footprints which the specialists are only finding today. Searching for the wrecks of  The Star of Hope and the Ellan Vannin as well as remains of the Isle of Man postal plane that came down on Freshfield Beach. The memory of going with a friend to the dunes to pick up a piece of corrugated iron for a den roof.

Even in howling gales and pouring rain there is something special about Formby Point.  Something that is only found in the North West. Something that the wind-bent trees and bushes remind me of some wild, dark and bewitched novel that only springs to life with the winds and rain. Something that reminds me of the loneliness of a bicycle journey at 10 in the evening from Preston to Southport against a strong south west wind.   

There really is something very special about Formby Point and it is not the diamond ring down in the squirrels' den  - What is it then?

It could be the fact that we never discovered the Old Formby that lies beneath the dunes to this day. But no, it is the atmosphere and the smells of the place - A something very special that makes it just that.   Lee Ashley

Great website, just stumbled on it. We were evacuated to Formby in the 1940s, and this was only from Bootle! But we did live not far from the docks' and our street had a direct hit. First we were put into a house, with others, in Green lane opposite the cinema then Church Road. It was about 1945 when we were placed back in Bootle, but another road. My aunt used to live in Alderson Crescent until the, I think, 80s. Formby is a beautiful place and we still visit it today. 2006. anon

In 1971 I was a Police Cadet and often did 'traffic control' and 'parking duties' on Lifeboat Rd, during the busy summer months. It is truly a 'get away from it all' place and now, having retired, I am taking groups of people by coach to Formby Point to enjoy themselves as I did all those years ago! Big 'E'

I grew up in Formby Point - My parents owned the newsagent shop and we delivered papers to the caravans and tent people who stayed there all summer long. I remember riding in the front of his carrier bicycle as he delivered newspapers. Many happy times were spent cycling and walking through those Piney woods to the beach. I live oversees now and this evoked lots of memories. Thanks for the great pictures. Marilyn Meyers (Boyer when I lived in Formby)

Gorse at Formby Point

I had a caravan at Lifeboat Road Formby Point for many years. It is indeed a magical place. Your photos bring back many happy memories of walking through the Pinewoods, over the sandhills, along the beach. Seen three thousand year old cloven hoofed animal prints and human footprints there, to be washed away by the tides of the next couple of days. If you could go back there at a different time of the year, you could really expand your flora photos and probably add some insect and animal pics too. Thanks, and best of luck to you, Cheers , Dave E.

During the 1940's a ship went aground off Formby point does anyone know the name of the ship and where it was coming from ? Anon

The shipwreck is The Star of Hope. The Star of Hope was outward bound from Wilmington North Carolina USA with a cargo of raw cotton when she was caught in a WSW force 10 gale in the Mersey approaches. The crew of 9 abandoned ship and were taken on board the Crosby lightship. you can still see the wreck at low tide. http://www.martyngriff.co.uk Anon

This is a fascinating site of some of the wrecks on the River Mersey :-) Y2U

See photos of wrecks published by Formby Civic Society

I went to Formby Point and it was an extremely cold day as well so we had to walk through the rain which was very cold and it was funny because we was with our friends. Anon

Formby Point! What a flood of memories, we spent all our childhood summer holidays camping there. We  had such freedom. I would just take a lemonade bottle of water and disappear after breakfast not coming back until I was really hungry. When the big juicy blackberries were out that could be all day. The only boring bit was the long walk to church every Sunday morning. Relieved only by a talking and wolf-whistling parrot of some description. On Fridays me and Dad would walk up to the station and get fish and chips which we wrapped in a towel and pillow case and almost run back to keep them warm.  Thanks for surfacing my memories. Anon

Was the wreck of star of hope the wreck that had the mast sticking up till a few years ago? also there were two visible wrecks close in shore at Formby in the 1960s also one still visible at Southport does anyone know the id of these ? Anon

 

The wreck that had the mast showing until a few years ago was the ionic Star a 5,000 ton cargo liner of the blue star line. She was wrecked on the edge of red wharf bay in 1939 after losing direction, all the cargo and crew were saved. You can still see what's left of the wreck at low tide on the edge of the shipping channel. The two wrecks that were close in shore I was told were beached at Formby after being damaged during the war, you could still see the sternpost of one of the wrecks in the 1980s. Sorry I do not know the id of these. The wreck at Southport is the SS Chrysopolis, this is south of the pier, she was lost in fog in 1918 and became a total loss after becoming stuck on Spencers sand bank, during the 1960s a D u k w amphibian trip was operated taking holiday makers round the wreck which is over 2 miles off shore and still visible at low tide. Anon thanks for the great reply

Yup, I was one of the Coastguard's on duty that evening. I think the tug was the Wallasey (I am open to correction). Couldn't help wandering why this mast had stood aloft for for 50 years or more and then had to be snapped off by a Tug that had the whole Irish sea to choose from who she hit! A sort of "hole in one" if you excuse the analogy. Anon

 

Hi, an 8,000 tonne ship was also a total loss at the edge of the shipping channel at mad wharf Formby point in 1939 this was called the Pegu it lost its way due the buoy lights being switched off due to wartime restrictions, the mast of this wreck was knocked down by a tug in a gale in 1987 Anon

 

That tug was inbound but had its bridge window smashed by a massive wave, it lost engine power in the Formby Channel, started dragging its anchor and then went straight over the top of the Pegu, dismasting the wreck. The tug then grounded but was released by other tugs sent to its rescue by the Coastguard at Crosby...Anon

Pictures of Formby Point

If you have a nice photo of Formby Point attach it to this Email, tell us a little about it and we'll show it here.


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