Preserving & recording
our local heritage
The Official Site of The Burscough Heritage Group
ABOUT THE GROUP
Burscough Heritage Group is a not for profit, charitable organisation, run by volunteers for the benefit of the community. The group is dedicated to preserving and recording the unique history of Burscough Village and the canal.
We plan and organize an annual Heritage Week during which around 300 local school children visit us to enjoy interactive talks and role play to learn about the significant historic importance of Burscough and the surrounding area. The children are also given the opportunity for "hands on”experience of traditional crafts.
At the weekend our exhibitions and talks are opened for the public to experience and enjoy.
Our History Group arrange regular talks on a variety of subjects of local interest. The group also visit community groups to give talks and presentations that are tailored specifically to those groups.
Web site updated 21.11.17.
Establishing a permanent display for a growing collection of heritage items is one of the aims of the group.
We are always looking for anything of historical local interest. If you have any items, photographs or a story
to tell about life in and round Burscough please get in touch with us.
Any original photos or documents will be returned, Other items can be photographed and recorded.
You can come to us or we will be happy to come to you.
A brief report on our last history meeting held on the 13th of November 2017.
“Fifty Years of the West Lancashire Light Railway, The Burscough Heritage group’s November 2017 history meeting.
An entertaining and interesting evening with Mike Spall the Chairman of the West Lancashire Light Railway.
Mike showed and told us the history of the light railway that runs around part of the former clay pit on the old Alty’s brickyard site in Hesketh Bank.
It all started just over 50 years ago in 1967 when 6 school boy mates had the idea of wanting to run a railway. One of them had family connections with the Alty family who ran the brick works in Hesketh Bank, alongside the former West Lancashire standard gauge railway that ran from Southport to Preston and was closed in 1964.
Alty’s had been using a narrow gauge railway for transporting clay around the brickworks so the lads had some track to start playing which they did with presumably the thought it would just be a lads idea that would come to not a lot...but they are still there.
The Burscough connection comes from the 1st locomotive they bought, a diesel for £25 from the Burscough Brick and Tile Works that had shut in 1967.
The first steam engine arrived from the Dinorwic slate mines in Wales following an auction of redundant slate quarry tackle. They bought the “Irish Mail”, well parts of it, it came without a boiler! It took a good few years to restore it to working order, which included having to buy another engine from the quarry, called “Alice”, at least they got a boiler with this one and in 1980 Irish Mail was brought back into steam.
All the while they were building up expertise in engineering, track laying, building workshops and sheds.
The collection of locomotives and rolling stock grew from various sources, more brick works, sewage works and Pilkington’s, the St Helens glass makers who at one time used 2ft gauge temporary railways around the Bickerstaffe area for transporting dug sand to the road transport to take it to the factory.
As time has gone on they have acquired engines form lots of other countries in the world, some that had been used in the world wars to transport munitions and troops around the war zones.
Following restoration to working order some locomotives have been on visits back to places where they formally worked and ran, with one going back to the Somme for remembrance commemorations.
There are plans to extend the railway around the former clay pit while still having fun welcoming the public to come and ride the trains, which helps to fund the railway, with specially events such as the Santa specials being very popular.
All run by volunteers and the original six lads are still great friends.
A great evening with some great pictures and local connections, a big thank you to Mike and his projector operator. The event was organised by Heritage Group member Phil Benzie.”
The evening was held at The Blue Mallard on Burscough Wharf.
Colin Wareing BHG Communications officer. 16.11.17
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