Christiana Hartley, Red Rum and other legendary Sefton figures are being celebrated with a series of comic strip boards which will be installed early this year. 

The artwork will be one of the legacies of the 2020 Sefton Borough Of Culture programme. 

The series of comic strip boards is currently being finalised, telling stories aligned to the Sefton Stories vote which was held at the start of last year. 

The vote saw world famous inventor Frank Hornby steam ahead, reinvent himself and engineer top spot. The former Maghull resident topped the list of 10 stories synonymous with Sefton, by claiming 28% of the total vote.

Frank Hornby (1863-1936) was a visionary in toy development and manufacture who was responsible for the invention and production of three of the most popular lines of toys based on engineering principles in the 20th century: Meccano, Hornby Model Railways and Dinky Toys. 

He founded the British toy company Meccano Ltd in 1908.

Southport social and welfare rights activist and women’s rights pioneer, Christiana Hartley (1872–1948), came second in the poll with 20% of all votes cast, and will also be celebrated with a comic strip board. 

In 1921–22, she was elected the first woman Mayor of Southport, causing what has been described as ‘trepidation’ among the male councillors. She made the welfare of children and young people her special focus and was known as the ‘Children’s Mayor’.

In 1928 she proposed the construction of a fully equipped maternity hospital in Southport, which led to the construction of the Christiana Hartley Maternity Hospital which was opened in May 1932 on Curzon Road, where it remained until 1999. In 1940, she endowed a nurses’ home in Southport. 

Third in the poll was Seaforth-both comedian, radio DJ and TV presenter Kenny Everett (1944–1995), who received 9% of the vote. 

After spells on pirate radio and Radio Luxembourg in the mid-1960s, he was one of the first DJs to join BBC’s newly-created BBC Radio 1 in 1967. It was here he developed his trademark voices and surreal characters which he later adapted for television and his famous Kenny Everett Show. 

Other comic boards will celebrate: 

Astronomer Isaac Roberts (1829 –1904), from Maghull, who was a pioneer in photography  of nebulae.

Southport racehorse Red Rum, who won the Grand National three times. 

The final comic strip board will be dedicated to The Bootle Blitz, when Nazi bombs fell on the town during World War Two. 

 Words of Wisdom


This project commenced with schoolchildren across the borough interviewing older people on life lessons, or “words of wisdom”. Many were fed into the Illuminos Show, but the work continued through lockdown as a “pen pal” project, supported by a programme of acts of kindness for older citizens. The Windmills Foundation is collating the outcomes of this project and proposes to publish their book, titled “Words of Wisdom”, by early 2021. 

Time capsule

The Sefton Time Capsule was planted in Derby Park in Bootle, with a blossom tree to mark the spot, linked to the park’s 125th anniversary. The community event and handover ceremony envisaged originally was not scheduled during 2020, but the planting and placing of the capsule were still completed.

The Borough of Culture (BoC) title is awarded by the Liverpool City Region’s Combined Authority to one of its six local authorities (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) on a rotating, annual basis.

Sefton had the prestigious honour for 2020 and staged a series of eye-catching events such as Constellations, A Nightingale’s Song and LEGO Brick Wonders, as well as staging a series of online events for people to enjoy during lockdown including Comedy Bingo via Zoom and the Origami Red Squirrel Project. 

Follow Sefton’s Borough of Culture on Facebook and Sefton Borough of Culture on Twitter.

Do you have any stories for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at:


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