This blog has been created as an online archive of the information gathered by the St James History Group. The group meets quarterly and topics of interest include the history of St James's Church, Toxteth (1775-present) the history of Toxteth and of the City of Liverpool.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Remembrance Day Presentation 2014

This 1 minute presentation was used in the 2014 Remembrance Day Family Service, it displays some images of the men from the memorial and their names and ages.

Open Heritage Day 2013

Click here to view a powerpoint presentation given by Amanda Taylor about the WW1 Memorial from St James' Church, Toxteth.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

St James' Church, Toxteth 2014

Photos of St James's Church, Toxteth 2014. Copyright Amanda Taylor

The St James Station Train Crash

There is a story, quite well known in Liverpool, that the train station which stood opposite St James' Church was closed during WW1 after a troop train crashed there, killing many soldiers. I  have been asked by half a dozen local people if I know anything about it, once they know I have been researching St James's Church.

It sounded like an interesting (if gruesome) story so I decided to look for contemporary reports.

I quickly found that, in fact, the station was closed on 1st January 1917 as one of 8 stations closed by the Cheshire Lines Committee alongside drastic cuts to railway services brought about by the war effort of the Railway Executive.( as reported in the Liverpool Daily Post on 30/12/1916 p10)

It seems that the station was closed indefinitely and slowly fell into disrepair until all that are left now are some crumbling platforms.  You can find out more about the station and pictures of what is left of it here on the Disused Stations website.

So, where did the story of the train crash come from?

I found that there was indeed an accident at St James' Station, but it was in 1913, a year before the First World War and 4 years before the station closed.  There was also a well-known troop train crash in 1915 in Scotland involving a troop train on its way to Liverpool. This was a terrible disaster which involved 5 trains,high speed impacts and intense fires and led to the deaths of about 226 soldiers, and 246 injured (Royal Scots Regiment).

It seems possible that the 1913 crash, the troop train crash and the station closing have somehow been combined to create the urban legend of the 'St James's Troop Train Crash' even being vaguely mentioned in a local newspaper report in 2011

Click here for a pdf of a newspaper report of the 1913 crash (top left of page)
Click here for a pdf of a newspaper report of the inquiry into the crash (centre top)