Maghull Labour councillors work with former Moss Side employees to get historic military hospital on the map

Former Moss Side Hospital nurse Ross Ferguson with Maghull Labour councillor Patrick McKinley and Lynn Gatherer and MP Bill Esterson.

Maghull's historic former military hospital could be well and truly back on the map if a campaign to getting a lasting memorial to the site is successful.

Maghull Labour councillors, Lynn Gatherer and Patrick McKinley, are working together with former Moss Side and Ashworth staff on the campaign.

The group of campaigners want the hospital to be remembered as a crucial part of the town's proud history.

During World War One, the School Lane hospital was taken over by the War Office, becoming Moss Side Military Hospital where the treatment of shell-shock victims was pioneered. The condition was formally recognised at the hospital, but before that, many shell-shock victims who were traumatised by the heavy bombardments during the war were executed for desertion and cowardice.

Later on, Moss Side and nearby Park Lane Hospital were merged to form Ashworth Hospital which eventually saw the demolition of the older hospital as part of plans to build a prison on the site. Those plans were eventually dropped and Merseytravel have now confirmed the site will be the location of the new Maghull North Station.

Former Mos Side nurse, Ross Ferguson, 57, launched the campaign to get some form of permanent memorial at the historic site and he immediately got the support of Cllrs Gatherer and McKinley.

The campaign has now expanded to include not just a long term memorial, but also for the name of the new station to incorporate Moss Side, and for the roads on the new housing estate to be named after the wards.

Cllr Gatherer said: "The campaign has quickly expanded to include not just a memorial of some sort to be installed near to the entrance of the new station, but for the station to be named Maghull Moss Side and for the roads to be named after the wards.

"We approached Persimmon Homes, who are the developers who have submitted the application for the site, with the suggestion that should the estate be built, the road names are named after the wards. I am very pleased to report that they liked the idea in principal. We have now got to have some further discussions with them about what we have in mind. That proposal would then go back to Sefton Council who will make the final decision on street naming and numbering.

"I think it is a great idea. Moss Side Hospital was a major part of this community's history and this would be one way of making sure that there is a lasting tribute to the hospital, the people who worked there and the patients."

Ross Ferguson said he was delighted with the campaign's progress and he has even launched a petition calling on Merseytravel to name the new station Maghull Moss Side.

Ross said: "It is great news that the developer responded so positively to the road names suggestion. This campaign is growing and growing.

"The former Moss Side Hospital has had a major influence on worldwide medicine and psychiatry. It was hailed as the first school of clinical psychopathology in Britain and one of the first institutions in the world to recognise shell-shock, which is known today as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"It should also be remembered that as a one time major employer and housing provider in and around the town of Maghull, Moss Side Hospital has had a major influence in the shaping of Maghull from a one time small village into a modern town and a desirable place to live.

"That is why we feel the least that can be done to honour this groundbreaking institution is to have the new railway station named after it, and that is why we have launched the petition, which we are encouraging everyone in and around Maghull to sign."

Cllr Patrick McKinley said the campaign has gained a lot of support in the short time that it has been launched.

Cllr McKinley said: "It is a relatively short amount of time that this campaign was launched, but already there is real momentum behind it. That just shows that people here in Maghull recognise the importance of Moss Side Hospital and want to see it remembered.

"We have had positive responses to a number of enquiries that we have made in terms of achieving our three aims, but I would urge everyone to get online and sign the petition.

"It is only when a community works together on a campaign that we can get what we want. So get online today - and encourage all your friends and neighbours to do the same."

To sign the petition, go to:  http://tinyurl.com/maghullmossside