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Maghull Square.JPG
Central Square, Maghull
Grid reference: SD373027
Location: 53°31’3"N, 2°56’42"W
Population: 22,225  (2001)
Post town: Liverpool
Postcode: L31
Dialling code: 0151
Local Government
Council: Sefton
Sefton Central

Maghull is a small town in Lancashire, north of the City of Liverpool and almost caught up with the conurbation of towns spread out from that city. Two South Lancashire motorways, the M57 and M58 join just south of the town, between it and Bootle, and the A59 dual carriageway from the latter's docks slices through Maghull.

Maghull had a population of 22,225 at the 2001 census. Housing in the town is almost entirely a 20th-century settlement of semi-detached and detached housing although remains of the original town do exist.

The name of Maghill is far older than the Maghull of today. It is found in the Domesday Book as Magele, but its origin is unknown. One suggestion has it derived from an ancient Celtic word magos, meaning "plain" (like the Irish Magh) and the Old English 'halh', meaning corner of the river bend. Another suggests the Old English mægðehalh meaning "Maiden's nook" or "Mayweed nook".


The original village was established at some time before the Domesday Book of 1086 which recorded Magele as consisting of fifty people and six square miles of agricultural settlement. It stood on a ridge of high ground, that can be most clearly seen at Red Lion Bridge towards the centre of the town and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal follows it on the plain and the A5147 on the brow. This ridge marks the edge of the flood plain of the River Alt, providing protection from flooding and access to this fertile pasture of the plain.

A church is known to have existed in the area in 1100 although it has been rebuilt at least once and the chapel still stands, in the churchyard of the Victorian St Andrew's and is the oldest ecclesiastical building in this part of Lancashire still in regular use for worship. In 1756 the mediæval nave of Maghull Chapel was pulled down.

It is noted that in 1568 Maghull Moss was divided between Sir Richard Molyneux of Melling and Edward Hulme of Maghull. The boundary of Maghull was, in the north, Maghull Brook and to the south, Melling Brook; the west was marked by the River Alt. At the eastern edge, however, the boundary was ill-defined on the moorland and due to the value of turf from the moss as a vital fuel this caused regular disputes between both Maghull and Melling Manors. Maghull Manor House was built in 1638 and local tradition has it that Charles II slept there during a visit to the area but by 1780 a new manor house had been built near the site of the original and it still stands in the grounds of Maghull Homes with part of the original moat. It is also recorded that by 1667 the population of Maghull had increased to 599 with 136 houses and 127 families and by 1770 initial work had begun on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal for which the first sod was cut by the Honourable Charles Lewis Morduant. The actual spot lies in a rock cutting 440 yards to the east of Halsall Hill Bridge. Soon after, the Red Lion public house was built in Maghull to serve the canal trade. It became a café and general store in the 20th century and was demolished after the Second World War. Several other canalside pubs were built over the years; for example, near Hall Lane Bridge there was the Traveller's Rest (demolished 1936) and the Horse & Jockey in Melling and in 1774 the canal had reached Maghull and provided it with its second connection to Liverpool. The arrival of the canal created new industry in the area, notably quarrying of sandstone and clay extraction. It also bolstered the local hostelry trade.

Maghull's first school was founded in 1668 in a small cottage in School Lane under the headmaster Humphries Webster, showing the town's emergence although County Rates from 1716 said of the town "Maghull doth always bear and pay a third less than either Down Holland or Lidyeat", which is the sign of a developing community yet poor. The Molyneux family (Earls of Sefton) developed the place and brought about the Alt Drainage Act in 1779 which resulted in many acres of marsh land along the river eventually becoming good agricultural land. This had led to the growth of the population to 534, with about half the employment being in trade rather than agriculture and a rise in 1815 to a population of 720 people with 71 families engaged in agriculture and 29 in trade, manufactures and handicrafts. There were 108 inhabited houses.

By the 1820s, horse racing was well established on land in Maghull.[1] Old Racecourse Farm later became the site for the Meadows Hotel; and Old Racecourse Road, off Sefton Lane, commemorates the sport. Baines' Directory of Lancashire in 1825 provided the first list of specialist male occupations in Maghull – 1 blacksmith, 1 cooper, 1 tailor, 1 land surveyor and 1 wheelwright. By 1840 the agriculture of the area had changed from animal to arable farming and the 1861 National Census the population stood at 1,222. Due to this increase in population the railway came to Maghull in 1849, with a station on the Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Railway as well as the construction of the town's first police station which was set up by Lancashire County Council in 1870 and the town got a second station in 1884, Sefton and Maghull, on the newly built Cheshire Lines Committee Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway to Southport, the line was an extension of the North Liverpool Extension Line. A large section of embankment has been destroyed to make space for Switch Island. In 1933 the large Northway (A59 road) was built with a two lane dual-carriageway, which bisects Maghull, taking travellers from Liverpool to Ormskirk off 'Liverpool Road'. The arrival of Northway triggered an increased rate of expansion in Maghull.

In 1939 the IRA blew up the swing bridge at Green Lane on the canal but the strategic significance of this has never been fully explained due to Maghull's relative insignificance. During the Second World War Maghull did not completely escape bombing – two bombs landed, one adjacent to the King George V Playing Fields (on the site of the former residential home), and one in Ormonde Drive. A house that was then 16 Park Lane (now 321, the houses were re-numbered in the late 1960s or early 1970s), Moss Side was also destroyed, it was rebuilt in the 1950s. It served as a refuge for up to 6,000 people a night from the pounding Bootle received. American and Polish army units were stationed in Maghull and it also held several camps for displaced persons. Park Lane TB sanatorium and a hospital, built to treat shell shock victims, were combined to form Ashworth Hospital and one hundred patients transferred from Rampton Secure Hospital with it remaining a secure hospital to this day, holding the likes of Ian Brady and others. In 2010 plans were announced by the Labour government that new housing was needed and Sefton East – where Maghull is located – was chosen as one of the locations for the new homes.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Maghull


Maghull is located 8 miles north-north-east of Liverpool city centre. To the north west of Maghull is Lydiate, to the east Melling; Aintree and Netherton to the south and west of Maghull is the Mersey Forest and Sefton village. Maghull is separated from the rest of the Greater Liverpool sprawl from a green belt which runs across the Switch Island motorway junction. The small brook, known as 'Whinney Brook' runs through Maghull passing the Maghull Baptist Church and under the A59 and across to the Meadows close to the town hall. This is due to the area around the Meadows pub, formerly being part of the flood plain of the River Alt, the brook moves closer to the river but due to the urbanisation of the area, it no longer reaches it.


In 1929 the Maghull Townswomen's Guild was formed for the community.

The Maghull Community Association (on Green Lane) provides the community of Maghull with live entertainment, family fun days and lots more special events such as Christmas parties, ladies nights etc. The community of Maghull can all use this facility to get together with family or friends and enjoy their time in a friendly atmosphere.


  • Newspapers
    • Liverpool Echo
    • Liverpool Daily Post
    • Aintree & Maghull Champion
    • Maghull Star

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Maghull)


  1. Mutlow, Mick (15 June 2009). "The Birth of The Grand National: The Real Story". Thoroughbred Heritage. [1]. Retrieved 8 April 2010