Local History

Whether indoors in winter or outdoors in summer, Local History events are always a treat!

Scout & Guide HQ (unless stated otherwise)
1st Tuesday of the month for Indoor Meetings; details below for Outdoor Meetings during the summer months
2.15pm for Indoor Meetings; details below for Outdoor Meetings during the summer months
  • Leader: Margaret Gibbon - 01695 573511

We look forward to seeing you at 2pm for tea/coffee and biscuits; presentations start at 2:15pm. All members are welcome.

Outdoor Visit, Tuesday 4th June 2024

Visit to the Fylde Coast

All members welcome!

Includes visit to Lytham Hall, Lytham Windmill, the Old Boathouse and St Annes.

Cost – £39 includes lunch at Lytham Hall. Or £27 if bringing your own picnic. Coach departs Long Lane, near the Scout and Guide HQ at 10:45am, returning approx. 6:30pm

Please discuss access to venues, book and pay with Margaret at Horizons (but not on 9th May thanks!)


All u3a members are welcome to any of indoor meetings/outdoor visits. Places are limited on outdoor visits and access/safety issues may need to be discussed. Please book outdoor visits at the end of Local History meetings or at Horizons.

See below for Group Posts for some past examples of indoor meetings and outdoor visits.

Last Updated on June 19, 2024

Indoor Meetings Winter & Spring 2024

Tuesday 6th February 2024, Ormskirk’s Famous and Infamous!

Dot Broady will tell us about some of the people in our local history.

Tuesday 5th March 2024, Southport – An Artist’s View.

Ever since Southport developed as a seaside resort it has attracted the attention of artists, from local painters such as Edwin Beattie to more well known artists for example L.S. Lowry and Laurence Isherwood. Stephen Whittle’s talk explores the changing perspective of Southport over the last 200 years as seen through the artists eyes.

Tuesday 2nd April 2024, The Great British Seaside.

Continuing the seaside theme, Andy Luscombe will talk about the tradition of writing and sending postcards. Seaside venues were a popular place to see postcards for sale and holidaymakers often sent “Wish You Were Here” postcards to family and friends. Our afternoon continues with a film “The Great British Seaside”.

Last Updated on May 26, 2024

Indoor Meetings Winter and Spring 2023

Tuesday 7th February 2023

A Brief History of Entertainment

A ‘cheer up’ on a Winter Afternoon with the help of Mervyn Saunders.


Tuesday 7th March 2023

The Architecture of Alfred Waterhouse

Born in Liverpool 1830, Alfred Waterhouse went on to study architecture and was particularly associated with the Victorian Gothic Revival Style. He designed many of our well known buildings such as the Great Western Hotel in Liverpool, Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London. Sean Jinks also told us more about the architecture of Alfred Waterhouse.


Tuesday 4th April 2023

Ormskirk in Days Gone By

Images of Ormskirk presentation by Chris Bentley and how Gingerbread plays a big part in our local heritage with one of Ormskirk’s Gingerbread Ladies.

Tuesday 3rd October 2023, Cotton Town Chronicles.

We will have a folk song presentation by Barbara and Peter Snape. Key moments of Lancashire’s social history provide the context for the songs and each song tells the story of grease, grit and grime, mills, mines and machinery, poverty, struggle, love, humility and the ability to look on the bright side of life when coal and cotton was king.

Tuesday 7th November 2023, The Defender Returns – Spitfire BM597.

Supermarine Spitfire BM597 saw wartime service with 315 and 317 Polish Squadrons operating from RAF Woodvale. Post war, Spitfire BM597 spent time at various RAF Stations and was used as the master mould for the replica spitfires for the 1969 film ‘Battle of Britain’. Today, BM597 is flown by Dave Harey, our speaker. We will hear more of the history and local connections of this aircraft.

Tuesday 5th December 2023, Time to Revisit the Tudors.

..in the Grand Banqueting Room of our Tudor Manor (S&G HQ).

Led by the ‘Lord of Misrule’ with a visit from ‘Lady’ Sheila of Speke Hall, we will mix facts with fun!

Last Updated on April 28, 2023

Outdoor Visit – May 2023

The British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland will be the first ‘outdoor visit’ of the year for our Local History Group. (All u3a members are welcome to sign up for this trip.)

At this museum, we can learn about the history of commercial vehicles in the home town of truck and bus making. It is an indoor museum with over 50 well maintained vehicles on display, from an 1895 horse drawn steam fire appliance to the Popemobile.


Last Updated on May 22, 2024

Indoor Visits Autumn and Winter 2022

Tuesday 4th October

Lancashire Comedians 

Dr Tom Preston joins us to talk about the evolution of local comedy by referencing some of the styles of Lancashire comedians of the past.

As it is Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Anniversary year we will begin with the wit of Her Majesty, Duke of Lancaster.

Tuesday 1st November 

Coal Mining in Lancashire

There were many coal mines in our area, the borough of Wigan for example in 1863 had 48 collieries operating, employing thousands of men, women and children. Mining historian Alan Davies will tell us more about the history of coal mining.

Tuesday 6th December

Christmas in Victorian Lancashire

We begin with some of the Christmas traditions associated with Victorian times. Kate Hurst will continue with her illustrated presentation about Victorian Lancashire at Christmas time.

£3.50 includes sherry (or a non-alcoholic drink), shortbread and a raffle ticket.

Please book for the December meeting with Margaret at the Local History meetings or at Horizons.

Last Updated on February 6, 2023

Outdoor Visits Summer 2022

Our outdoor visits began Saturday 30 April Milford Junction.

Where? Clue: be careful to avoid getting grit in your eye. We were going for a brief encounter at Carnforth Heritage Centre. Part of the film Brief Encounter was filmed at Carnforth Station, named Milford Junction in the film.

The visit included lunch – sandwiches, cake and tea/coffee in the film set Refreshment Room.

A screening of the film `Brief Encounter` was optional.

Saturday 11th June

Tour and Tales Around the Ribble Valley.

As we travelled around the lovely Ribble countryside most of which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we will listen to the history, legends and stories that shape the area. From views of Pendle Hill to the Forest of Bowland, through historic villages to Dunsop Bridge, declared by Ordnance Survey as the official centre of Britain. We stopped at one, two, three or more (!) of the ancient Inns, some dating back to the 18th century, all had an interesting ghostly history. Lunch was included.

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

Ribble Valley trip

In Summer 2022, the Local History group made another trip to the beautiful Forest of Bowland and Ribble Valley areas of Lancashire.

Here are some photos: click on any photo to see the slide show.

Last Updated on September 10, 2022

Indoor Meetings 2022

Indoor Meetings 2022

No meeting in January.


Steve Halliwell

Tuesday 1 February 2022

As it was the first day of the Lunar New Year (also called the Chinese New Year), we had fortune cookies, followed by Steve Halliwell talking about his work as a local history detective.




Tuesday 1 March 2022

Have you walked around Liverpool and wondered who created the many splendid bronze statues of people from our history?

There are monuments too that commemorate people from the past.

We were visited by Tom Murphy, one of the leading sculptors and painters of recent times, who is responsible for creations including The Hillsborough Monument Memorial and The Liverpool Pals Memorial. He  told us about his work.


Tuesday 5th April 2022

Jean Gidman visited us to give an illustrated talk about Richard III and the Stanley Family and the extensive research she has done.


Last Updated on April 12, 2022

Indoor Meetings 2021

Tuesday 5th October 2021 – Census and Sensibility

Stephen Bennett presented a light hearted look at local history census returns 1841-1911

Tuesday 2nd November  The Co-Operative Retail Business

The co-operative selling began in Lancashire, perhaps some members remember their family ‘divi’ number.

Stephen Caunce talked about the history of the people’s own shop.

Tuesday 7th December 2 15 p.m.Hq.  Trouble at t’Mill Again!

Ecy thump! the workers have gone to the ‘Village Square’ to celebrate Lancashire Day.

A taste of Lancashire food, a toast to Lancashire, and Sid Calderbank entertained us with Lancashire tales, dialect and songs.

Indoor Meetings 2019-2020

Tuesday 1 October 2019 – Historic Graffiti

Love it or loathe it, graffiti is not a modern day phenomenon. You may be surprised where some historic graffiti has been written, and what it says, some of it in Latin. Dr. Colin Penny’s illustrated presentation of graffiti from our past will enlighten us.

Tuesday 5 November 2019 – Lancashire’s Home Front in W.W.2 plus a commemoration of D.Day.

Professor Penny Summerfield joins us with her research in an illustrated presentation about life on the home front during W.W.2. Our afternoon continues with a film recording of an emotive and dignified trip to France with a small number of D.Day veterans. The veterans share memories of the largest amphibious invasion in world history when some 160,000 Allied troops landed on the Normandy coast, 6th June 1944.

Tuesday 3 December 2019 – A Winters Day

Our seasonal meeting with Local Historian Alan Crosby.

Tuesday 4 February 2020 – Trains, Cranes and Dinky Vehicles plus the Waltzer and Sweet Treats

Les French from the Hornby Trust joins us to to talk about local man Frank Hornby’s humble beginings to his skills simplifying engineering for children.

Tuesday 3 March 2020 – Read All About It!

Reports in our local newspapers early in the 20th Century.  Kathy Donaldson will relate some of the news from the Liverpool Mercury, The Daily Post and the Echo.

We also heard some of the news of the time reported in the Ormskirk Advertiser.

Last Updated on November 4, 2021

2019 Local History Summer Outings

Saturday 27 April 2019 – The National Memorial Arboretum

The 150 acre site located in Staffordshire is the UK’s centre of Remembrance and home to the iconic Armed Forces Memorial was the location for the first of the Summer outings. We took a land train with commentary to see some of the thought-provoking memorials and we listened to an introductory talk about the Arboretum. The opportunity was taken by some to hear another presentation entitled Shot at Dawn about soldiers who were executed by firing squad.

Departed 9.15am, Long Lane near S&G HQ.

Returned approx. 7.15pm.

Cost – Coach £18 – Land train £5.


Sunday 12 May 2019 – West Derby Courthouse and Speke Hall Liverpool

Firstly we visited the West Derby Courthouse. This stone built Courthouse is the only free standing post medieval court in Britain. Built in 1586 on the authorisation of Queen Elizabeth I it functioned until 1910.  We continued onwards to Speke Hall, a fine example of a timber framed Tudor house with an interesting history to be told by one of the guides at the Hall.

Departed 1pm, Long Lane near S&G HQ.

Returned approx. 6.15pm.

Cost – Coach £10, Speke Hall admission £10. National Trust members no charge. Please remember to bring your Trust membership card.


Saturday 22 June 2019 – A Day in Deva – now known as Chester

The Roman roads linking Chester with Lancashire may have passed through Aughton and Ormskirk, we do have a turnpike road and Roman coins have been found in the area. Our visit included a cruise along the River Dee with a sandwich, cake, fruit, tea / coffee lunch. After disembarking we carried on to see the Midsummer Parade that dates back to Tudor times. Led by a child, the City Drummer and a family of Giants, puppet animals, mythical creatures, hobby horses, musicians and more costumed participants added to the colourful parade as it made its way around the City centre. Later in the day there was the chance to walk in the footsteps of Legion XX.v.v with Titus , our very own Roman Legionary guide. A welcome stop for a meal / snack / comfort break was taken on the return journey.

Departed 9.45 am, Long Lane near S&G HQ.

Returned approx 8.45 pm.

Cost £28. Optional walk £4 extra.

More details and booking at Horizons.


Tuesday 2 July 2019 – A Tour of Liverpool’s Empire Theatre. Lunch at the Adelphi Hotel. A Tour of Liverpool’s Playhouse Theatre.

All the venues were optional but we started at The Empire where we met at 10.50 am for and 11am start. We had an interesting tour of the front of house areas from one of the Empire staff. Much reminiscing took place by members of U3A, remembering visits made there to see, amongst others, The Beatles and other 60’s icons! This was followed by a tour of the back stage areas.

We moved on to The Adelphi for 12:40pm where we had a three course meal and a much welcome sit down!.

After lunch we walked to The Playhouse. We were shown around all the public areas and taken onto the stage and into the backstage areas. An interesting time was had by all.

Last Updated on November 22, 2019

2018-2019 Local History Indoor Meetings

We returned to our indoor meetings in the S&G HQ on Tuesday 2 October. By drawing together some of the events of the Great War that we had covered and some that we had not yet presented, our October and November meetings concluded our commemoration of W.W.I.

Tuesday 2 October 2018 meeting included a film, Defeat to Victory. The film centred around the 2nd Salford Pals Battalion of the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers as they prepared for the Battle of the Somme (1916). Authentic and deeply moving, the footage revealed what it was like to go `over the top` and how British tactics changed after the appalling consequences of that first day (01.07.1916).

Tuesday 6 November we reviewed war events from 1916-18 and Daniel Tyler joined us to relate some of the crucial incidents that led to the memorable time and date 11 am 11.11.1918. The Twenty Year Armistice was the title of Daniel`s presentation.

Members shared letters, documents and other memorabilia relating to W.W.I.

Tuesday 4 December – Muck, Fylthe and Executions. It was time to revisit the Tudor era as we mixed facts and fun whilst sampling some themed food and drink. Led by the `Lord of Misrule` with special guest, one of Henry VIII`s wives. Cost was the princely sum of 3 Groats (or £3 in `modern` money).

No meeting in January.

Tuesday 5 February 2019 – Medieval Manuscripts. Illuminated manuscripts are an interesting resource for understanding some aspects of medieval life, not only in castles and palaces, and they provide an insight into everyday life at the time. Brian Farrimond brought along examples of medieval manuscripts and told us more about them. As it was the first day of the Chinese New Year we began our meeting with fortune cookies and our horoscope for the year. Jasmine and green tea was available and enjoyed by all.

Tuesday 5 March – The Architecture of Lord Street, Southport and Bed and Breakfast in Southport. One of the most well-known streets in our local history is Lord Street, Southport, a fine example of a Victorian canopied boulevard. But have you ever stopped to look up at the interesting buildings? Julia Clayton’s illustrated presentation highlighted some of the architecture of Lord Street. We continued our afternoon with Jill Newsham’s presentation of some of the historic venues that have provided bed and breakfast for visitors to Southport over the years.

Tuesday 2 April – The Patients View of Health (19th century)

Author and Historian Elizabeth Roberts joined us to talk about her research including interviews with Lancashire folk and how they coped before the NHS. Members may have family remedies that they would like to share.

Last Updated on August 30, 2019

2018 Local History Summer Outings

Tuesday 1 May Imperial War Museum and a Tour of BBC Studios at Salford Quays

The coach departed from Long Lane at 12.30pm for a ‘self guided’ tour of the Imperial War Museum, followed by a guided Tour around the BBC Studios at Salford Quays. After extensive and comprehensive security checks, we were shown one of BBC Radio 6’s studios followed by the ‘Match of the Day’, ‘Blue Peter’ and ‘BBC Breakfast’ studios. Cost was £22.75.  We returned approx. 7pm.

Saturday 2 June Tour and Tales around the Ribble Valley

Our popular trip is fully booked with a waiting list. If your place is reserved please pay at Horizons and select your lunch menu. Cost: £32.

Departs 9.30 am outside S.&G. Hq. Returns approximately 6pm.

Tuesday 3 July Merseyside Maritime Museum and Afternoon Tea at 30 James Street Hotel

We were treated to two role play performances at M.M.M. Firstly, from Robert Hitchins who was at the wheel of R.M.S Titanic on that fateful night, 15 April 1912. We heard his moving account of the tragedy.

This was followed by Hope Chapin who was a passenger on R.M.S. Carpathia, the small liner that rescued the lifeboat survivors of Titanic from the freezing ocean.  We listened to ‘Hope`s’ narrative of the event.

We strolled to our next appointment, along Strand Street, to Afternoon tea at the former White Star Line Hq., Albion House, now restored as a hotel that pays tribute to its history.  We had a short tour of the hotel including one of the themed suites, followed by Afternoon Tea in the Carpathia Restaurant, overlooking Liverpool’s Historic Waterfront.

Cost £18. We met at M.M.M Albert Dock.

Last Updated on November 5, 2018

Spring 2018 Indoor Meetings

Tuesday 6 February:   Liverpool Revisited in Film and in Conversation

From a small fishing inlet to Capital of Culture in 2008, Liverpool has been home, a place of employment, a cultural and shopping venue and more, for many of our members.  All members are welcome to the meeting to discover/rediscover more about the pool that became the City of Liverpool.

Tuesday 6 March:   Poverty and the Workhouses in South-West Lancashire – 2.15pm

Vivian Mumford  joins us to present her research.

Tuesday 3 April:   It’s World Cup Football Year – Kick Off  – 2.15pm

Hear how Lancashire played a major role in the development of football and how local people have been involved in the game. Second half – `The Voice of Anfield` – stadium announcer George Sephton will talk about some of his memorable times with Liverpool Football Club.

There will be ‘Spot the Ball’ and other easy football related competitions plus pies, prizes and pots of tea and coffee.

Oyez – find out about the indoor and outdoor activities of the very popular Local History group

Last Updated on October 29, 2018

2017 Local History Summer Outings

In July 2017 Margaret Gibbon organised a coach trip to Lancaster, where we were treated to a tour by an excellent and very knowledgeable guide round Lancaster’s historic castle. As a bonus there was an extra short tour which took us into the Well Tower, the place where the Lancashire Witches were incarcerated in the 17th century. This part of the castle is not normally open to the public but Margaret must have pulled a few strings, and we were able to don hard hats and go deep down into this dark and formidable place.
This picture is of John O’Gaunt’s Gateway, otherwise known as ‘Demdyke’s Doom’. John O’Gaunt was the Duke of Lancaster, from whom the title has passed down through all reigning monarchs, so the current Duke of Lancaster is Queen Elizabeth II.
Margaret provided us all with maps of the local area so that we could pay brief visits to other notable places nearby, including the Friends Meeting House, the Storey Education Centre, the Judges lodging house (unfor­tunately no longer open the public), the museum and the very pretty almshouses and gardens. We then enjoyed excellent Sunday dinner at two local 17th century inns (neither one being big enough to hold us all) to round off our day.
Our thanks go to Margaret for all her research work and planning. It was an excellent day out.
Jane Murphy

Last Updated on June 8, 2024

2017 Indoor Meetings

18 February : Cork Jackets and Drill – tells the story, through original music, songs and narration of the 1886 Southport lifeboat disaster, which claimed the lives of almost all of the crew members of the Southport and St. Anne’s Lifeboats.

The music, songs and script are by Southport based playwright Len Pentin whose work has been performed at local theatres, on BBC Radio Merseyside and at the London Fringe. The six person musical performance with its folk roots tells how the dreadfully impoverished mostly fishermen bravely gave battle one terrible storm-ridden winter night in 1886, in an attempt to save the crew of a ship in distress off Southport Sands.

At the time, the tragedy touched and deeply affected the whole of the UK but it is now sadly, largely forgotten. Cork Jackets and Drill attempts to reinstate the memory of the brave lifeboat men who risked and gave their lives that night for others.

‘And they call us part-time sailors, but we are soul-savers’

Last Updated on November 1, 2018

2016 Local History Summer Outings

In April, some of our members visited Ormskirk Magistrate’s Court for the last time. The Court closed its doors at the end of June.

3 May: After an interesting guided walk around the area known as the Ropewalks in Liverpool, the Athenaeum opened its doors to us for a tour and lunch. The Athenaeum was founded in 1797 as a library and newsroom for gentlemen. During its time it has acquired, usually from donations, an interesting collection of artefacts. We were able to see some recently discovered historical items such as an ‘1836 passport’ used as a bookmark, and the typewriter which belonged to the Liverpool born Nicholas Montserrat, who served in the Royal Navy in WW2, and who based his novel ‘The Cruel Sea‘ on his wartime experiences.

7 June: A warm welcome awaited us in June at Fulwood Barracks, Preston, home of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

7 June: We travelled on to Lancashire Record Office and heard a fascinating presentation of our local history and had the opportunity to see and handle some of our precious documents, maps and ledgers, linking us with our ancestors.

11 June: We enjoyed a Tour and Tales around the Ribble Valley on Saturday 11th June, visiting a few ancient Inns. According to the Ordnance Survey map we were in the centre of the UK when we visited Dunsop Village. Yes, we did have some rain puddles.

5 July: On our last outdoor visit we walked in the footsteps of Agnes, Kitty and James listening to some of the history of our three humble local history representatives. The photo shows us next to the statue of Kitty Wilkinson in St. George’s Hall.

Agnes Jones worked tirelessly to improve the conditions in Britain’s largest workhouse situated on Brownlow Hill, Liverpool. Kitty Wilkinson is remembered for her selfless humanitarian work especially during the cholera epidemic of 1832. James Carling was a pavement artist known as the `little chalker`.

Kitty Wilkinson’s statue in St. George’s Hall

Much appreciation to our photographers for taking and supplying the photos.

Last Updated on November 1, 2018

2015 Local History

Margaret Gibbon’s sensational Local History Group summer outings have been a testament to her enthusiasm, organisation skills and eye for historical detail.

3 May: Brief Encounter

7 June & 20 September: Houghton Tower and Canal Cruise

December: Did we step back in time at our Lancashire Day celebration?

Last Updated on June 8, 2024

Autumn Indoor Meetings and Xmas Celebration

Tuesday 4 Oct.  Boat people on the Leeds to Liverpool Canal
2016 was the bicentenary of the Leeds to Liverpool canal; the first sod was cut at Halsall in West Lancs. Nov. 1770 and the canal was completed Oct. 1816. Essential commodities such as coal and cotton were transported in barges along the canal and also essential were the hard working boat people. Bill Huyton joined us with an illustrated presentation of two local boat families.
Tuesday 1 Nov.  The Battle of the Somme
The battle began on 1st July 1916. On that first day the British Army suffered 57,470 casualties,19,240 of whom were killed – the bloodiest battle in British military history. Of the fatalities almost 2,000 were from the Lancashire Pals battalions. Military historian Richard Houghton recalled more about the Battle of the Somme.
Tuesday 6 Dec.  Christmas Traditions
All members joined us to discover/rediscover the history of the traditions and ceremonies of one of our most important festivals – Christmas. Traditional food and drink was available for £2 50 on the day.

Last Updated on November 1, 2018

2010-2014 Local History pictures






Last Updated on November 1, 2018