At Last! A Heritage Centre opens in Formby - The Attic
Formby has never had its own Museum , though maybe that is not surprising. It is a small community and for much of its history it was fairly cut off from other parts of its surrounding area by the Moss and the poor, sandy tracks that passed for roads in the past. The village was awoken from its slumbers in the mid-19th century with the opening if two railway stations on the newly built line between Liverpool and Southport.
The Formby Society was formed in 1953 and since then there have been hopes that a site could be found for the history of the community to be displayed for locals and visitors alike. There used to be space for some items in Formby Library until it was renovated, and that space was lost. Until this year, that is! Local group ‘Imagine Formby’ had been coming up with lively and colourful ideas about how the Chapel Lane shopping Area in particular could be given some new ideas, a touch of artistic imagination and ideas to excite all members of the local population whilst raising the profile of the ‘Village’ in a time of social and commercial change. They approached the Formby Civic Society with the idea of using the second floor of Woodwards Wine Bar as a Heritage Centre, open to all to view.
So now we have ‘Formby Heritage Centre’ on Chapel Lane. It has taken over a year of hard work and real determination to agree common goals so that a public opening could be possible by late October this year. It was not easy, but there was a huge amount of good will and a real determination to produce somewhere to benefit the community. It is now a lovely space and ready for the next step of agreeing when it can be open for public viewing and how that will be done.
Nor is it simply a museum-space – it doubles as a venue for local arts and literary groups as ‘The Attic’. This was a really striking idea – to provide a calm but colourful yet comfortable space for such a wide range of interests for Formby people and their friends. It could not be better for them.
It will also be a venue for local heritage groups for talks and local walks. Together, all this provides a shot-in-the-arm for local community groups who want to develop new ideas and alsolearn about the heritage and history of the Formby community. Further, it has the benefit of a stair lift to take those in need of help to the second floor as well as a toilet and an area to prepare tea and coffee.
As it happens, it could not have been sited in a better place! Back in the 1960s and after, what is today Woodwards was then known as the ‘Quality Shop’ and provided a mecca in sweetsand the like. It had been opened by excellent local artist Eric Gerrard, whose son Steve is today well-known in the community for his songwriting and singing here.
Have you ever heard his song of "The story of the ‘Pegu’ and Formby’s own tale of Whisky Galore? Look it up on YouTube! In the photograph of the shop, we can see Steve and a close friend who lived over the road.
The Attic is meant to be opened to the public on the day of the Formby Christmas Lights Switch On which is Thursday 23rd November (Details HERE)