Brian Morris remembers seeing the royal train in 1937
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 2nd November 2012 by Liam Physick
Brian Morris remembers watching the royal train at the Coronation of King George VI in 1937: he was able to see it at Lime Street station. In addition, he was one of the local schoolchildren who put on a display for the King and Queen (the future Queen Mother) in the playground in Wavertree (known as The Mystery): dressed in red, white and blue, they danced and paraded, and finally laid down to form the Union flag! He learned that the locomotive used to pull the royal train (the train in question was pulled by various locomotives of the LMS Coronation Class) was stored at Runcorn. In addition, Brian recalls seeing trains go past his window when he was a boy, and mentions Sefton Park railway station. It opened on 1st June 1892, following the 13th July 1891 quadrupling of the London and North Western Railway from Wavertree to Ditton Junction on the main line to destinations south of Lime Street. It closed on 2nd May 1960, shortly before the line was electrified: the booking office, used as a private business, is all that remains. However, it has been proposed either to reopen it, or establish a new one further up the line on the bridge at Penny Lane, as the population density could certainly support one. Brian also recalls how it was possible to travel by train from Edge Hill via Stanley, Spellow and Kirkdale to Exchange. Stanley station opened on 1st July 1870 on the LNWR’s Canada Dock Branch line from Edge Hill through Liverpool’s northern suburbs to the Docks: the Canada Dock line had been opened as a goods line in 1866, with passenger services initially only going as far as Tuebrook, and Stanley was opened as part of the extension of passenger trains along the entire line. Spellow station was opened in September 1882, following the extension of the line to the Bootle Branch, and was intended to serve the rapidly developing area of Walton: its building is currently used by bookmakers. By 31st May 1948, all Canada Dock stations had closed: the line continued to be used by trains travelling on the Lime Street to Southport line to and from Euston, but this service ended following the opening of the Merseyrail loop on 9th October 1977, though it remains a busy goods line, used by container, imported coal and scrap-metal trains. Kirkdale station was opened in 1848 as part of the joint line into Liverpool operated by the Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Railway and the Liverpool and Bury Railway: since 1977, it has been part of Merseyrail’s Northern Line, and is the interchange for the Ormskirk and Kirkby lines.
Interviewee: Brian Morris
Interviewee Gender: Male
Jodie: Where were you born?
Brian: Liverpool, at 2 Nicander Road, Liverpool 15 . . .
Jodie: OK . . .
Brian: In those days.
Jodie: . . . and now do you have any memories of Edge Hill station or the surrounding area that you’d like to share with us?
Brian: Well, yes, I was a very keen trainspotter, and therefore had a good knowledge of the railway trains that came past the station. I was lucky enough that my bedroom window overlooked the line at its junction with the old Sefton Park railway station, now that has been abolished, obliterated, but up to about 1960 there was a very good station there with four platforms, and it provided us with a way into town, a way out into Widnes and the ICI works, where a lot of men in the area worked at ICI’s, and, if you wanted to, you could go into Edge Hill station and take a train round into Spellow Lane and back into Exchange station at Liverpool, so you could do a round trip. Now the train went through the old stations, there were Stanley and, over West Derby Road, and into, as I say, Spellow Lane, back into Kirkdale station and down to Exchange station.
Jodie: And you were telling us before about the royal trains that you saw?
Brian: Yes, well, the royal trains came in and, I can remember, for the Coronation events of 1937, the train was on view, for inspection, at Lime Street station, and we all went through to see the lounges and the, the galley and many other things, as I say, it was a long time ago, but I, you saw it, as it came along, from the south end, and it slowed down, as it approached the Wavertree Playground, because the next day (coughs), all the little children of the local schools gave a display, in Wavertree Playground, to the King and Queen.
Jodie: Oh, wow! (Brian laughs) And were you one of those schoolchildren, yeah?
Brian: I was one of those schoolchildren. I, we (coughs), we had a situation whereby we all had, we were all dressed in red, white and the blue, and we did all our physical jerks and things and paraded and marched and did all the usual, and then, there was a signal given, and we all then went and laid down, and the red and white and blue made the Union Jack!
Jodie: Oh, wow! (both laugh)
Brian: So, I mean, that was the, the highlight of our demonstration.
Jodie: Yeah. And did you, did you see the royal trains, you were saying about you, you encountered a police officer, when you trying to go and (inaudible due to Brian talking over her)
Brian: Yes, well, I found out, sometime in my youth, probably round about that time, maybe about a year later, that the royal train retired to Runcorn where there was shunting area, and it was kept there until the royal, royalty were to go and then it came into Liverpool Lime Street, picked them up and went out again. It was purely that, I suppose, for security, they didn’t want the train stuck in Lime Street station or stuck at Edge Hill doing nothing, whereas out at Runcorn it was in the country and they could go on it easier.
Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives