Local Railway history / heritage – LYR Co. markers at Hightown. There are two Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company boundary markers in the garden at my family’s house in Hightown. The marker stones are sandstone, about 1 foot across, 3 inches deep, and two and a half feet high. These are from the original agreement with the Blundell family (the landowners, Lords of the Manor) that the railway could be constructed but that space had to be left for a bridge to be built if Hightown expanded in the future.* The road bridge is immediately north of the railway station. The houses in St. Georges Road were built in 1905 / 1906 onwards. The railway station was opened in 1848 when it was initially part of the Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway. It became part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company from 1855. These marker stones presumably date from about that time, although they may have been erected to mark the corridor to be kept free for a future road bridge when the houses were being built. The LYR itself was amalgamated with the London and North Western Railway in 1922. The road bridge was opened in 1967. I know there is at least one marker stone along the footpath from Formby to Hightown, on the stretch between the end of the Rifle Range and the bridge over the River Alt. That marks the railway line itself however rather than this rather innovative plot of land that will have been empty awaiting a bridge for anywhere between 60 and more than 100 years.
There was one other marker in Hightown, a wooden post on the opposite side of the railway bridge behind the former bank, this was rotted but still a visible LYR marker post just next to the roundabout (Kerslake Way on Alt Road side). Unfortunately it was removed when the bank was turned into a shop some years ago. What was an apart from that a wonderful conversion. Therefore in Hightown only the two markers at our house remain. These are at the side of the driveway next to the embankment of the road bridge. One is by the gate and was covered in ivy for quite a few years which chipped the sandstone quite a bit and has now been removed. The other is further back. I first made an enquiry of the County archaeologists after the summer in 2007, when strengthening work was done on the bridge’s road structure. This didn’t directly affect the marker stones but I was concerned that they may be lost if there is bridge work or work on the house later and no concern is given to the importance of these markers. Someone may just remove the stones without thinking, as happened to the wooden one.
The house is owned by my mother and the stones are on private property.
* I know this but don’t have the source. It is probably a document I saw in Crosby Library when researching local history as a teenager. My other sources on this and the WW2 related history are My Hightown 1897 – 1969 by Joe Bulman. (1st ed. 1975; 3rd ed. revised and enlarged by Andrew Lee-Hart and Matthew Tinker; Sefton Libraries, Southport, 2003); A Guide to Merseyside’s Industrial Past, Paul Rees, revised ed. Countyvise, Birkenhead, 1991 & NW Society for Industrial Archaeology and History; The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Society http://www.lyrs.org.uk/; Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancashire_and_Yorkshire_Railway;
My previous enquiries: 2008; 2010; 2011.
Merseyside Archaeological Service acknowledged. English Heritage previously replied with a link to their procedures and information. A Sefton Council officer acknowledged but I have never received any substantive information as to whether they have any relevant plans or policies in relation to the WW2 heritage or the railway markers. I put my enquiries to the planning department in the absence of knowing who was the right contact for heritage conservation issues. An Archaeological Project Officer from National Museums Liverpool also replied showing some interest (and offering to look at photographs that I took but never passed on). It may be due to the ‘Landscape Partnership Scheme’ then ongoing that some signs about the World War Two heritage have been erected in the sand dunes at Formby. Hopefully the online database by various partners, publicised on tv by Channel 4 will help increase interest and protection action.