Missing tribute to Frank Hornby reinstated

Frank Hornby plaque was handed over to the Railway Heritage Trust
After an extended absence, a historical plaque commemorating the birthplace of the mastermind behind the beloved Hornby railways has been located and reinstalled at Liverpool Lime Street station.

Frank Hornby, businessman, engineer, and politician, reshaped the toy industry by incorporating engineering principles into his inventions. His ingenuity resulted in the creation of three of the most successful toy brands in the 20th century: Meccano, Dinky cars, and Hornby Model Railways.

Hornby was born on May 15, 1863, at 77 Copperas Hill, which later had to be cleared to accommodate the expansion of the neighbouring Liverpool Lime Street station.

In 1994, a plaque was installed on the station concourse to commemorate the original location where the site once stood. However, during the renovations of the station in 1999, the tribute was removed and inexplicably disappeared from the premises of Lime Street.

The remarkable rediscovery came about when the Railway Heritage Trust reached out to the Hornby Railway Collectors’ Association (HRCA) in search of photographs capturing the original plaque. The intention was to recreate a replica.

The HRCA published a short article in their newsletter about the search, and by chance one of its readers contacted them saying he could do better than a photo – and in fact, he was in possession of the real thing.

Tim Hedley-Jones, director of the Railway Heritage Trust, said: “We fully expected the original plaque to be long lost, so it was beyond all our hopes to find the real thing when we set about researching about how we were going to reproduce it.

“When we contacted the new owner he told us he had purchased the plaque at an auction a decade ago unaware that it had been removed from the station without permission. Thankfully he’s delighted to see the plaque returned to the station, which is a great outcome for everyone”

Frank Hornby plaque unveiled at Liverpool Limestreet Station

The commemorative plaque marking the birthplace of famous toy inventor Frank Hornby was unveiled again, having been previously lost.

The original plaque has been returned to its rightful place in the station and was unveiled at 10:30am Friday 23rd June by Network Rail Chair Lord Peter Hendy, with Tim Hedley-Jones from the Railway Heritage Trust and members of the HRCA and Network Rail teams also present.

  • Photos credit Network Rail.
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