Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BY: GERARD TAN (Son of Amy Lai, Kirkby 1952-54)

Kirkby is located located 10 miles north-east of Liverpool, in the metropolitan Borough of Knowsley and Merseyside County.
It was founded in circa 870 AD, settled from 1086 AD with a early population of 70 people, headed by Molyneux family. From the 16th century, the land where the college stood was fields which formed part of the lands of the Molyneux family (subsequently created the Earl of Sefton in 1771).

First railway line 1848, was built from Liverpool to Bury, passing Kirkby. East Lancashire road was built in 1935.

The college site (56 acres) was sold by the 7TH Earl of Sefton (together with other land to the north east and south west of Kirkby) to The Minister of Supply. The Minister of Supply was the minister in the British Government responsible for the Ministry of Supply, which existed to co-ordinate the supply of equipment to the British National Armed Forces during World War Two.

Royal Ordinance Factory (ROF Kirkby), a Ministry of Supply’s ammunitions factory, was built before the war in 1939 and completed in 1941. At its peak the factory employed 20,000 workers.

Kirkby Fields Hostel was built nearby to accommodate around 1,000 workers from the factory. The hostel also opened its doors to all to help alleviate the housing shortage during the war. The workers hostel occupied the same grounds of the Kirkby College.

At the end of WWII, the Board of Education established an Emergency College at Kirkby Fields Hostel, to address the shortage of teachers in the country. In 1947 the 52nd Emergency College (out of 55) opened in Kirkby. The last Emergency College course was completed in 1951.

In 2nd January 1952, the first batch of Malayan students arrived at Kirkby College. The college trained about 1500 teachers and 405 teacher trainers. In December 1962 saw the last of the Malayan students and closing of MTTC Kirkby or Kirkby College.

Kirkby Urban District was gazetted in 1949 as a new town and a Kirkby District Council created in 1957. Kirkby’s neighbouring towns: Bebington, Birkenhead, Bootle, Crosby, Fazakerly, Formby, Halewood, Heswall, Hoylake, Huyton, Maghull, rescott, Rainhill, Southport, St Helens, Wallasay, Whiston.

In 1963 the easternmost part of the site was conveyed by the Minister of Aviation to the Urban District Council of Kirkby. In 1979, the remainder of the site (approx 25 acres) was then sold by The Secretary of State for Defence to Knowsley Borough Council for £15,000.

In the mid 1990’s, the land holdings were split across three new titles, presumably to accord with the different housing developers. The south western part of the land was developed by Redrow Homes (Lancashire) Limited, the eastern part by McLean Homes North West & Cheshire Limited and the northern part by Rivermead Homes Limited

The ground where the MTTC once stood is now a residential area and populated by houses.

Kirkby’s current population is about 41,000, with peak about 52,00 in 1961.

1 comment:

KotaStar said...

Re photo of Tunku at Kirkby, the reference to Tungku Yusoff in tyhe picture is not correct as this is a group of 1955 - 1957 . Tunku Yusoff was in the 1956/1958 batch and we arrived after Tunku Abdul Rahman had visited Kirkby.