Kenneth Lamberton 1928-2004

At the start of our 40th year as a model railway club, we thought it would be nice to recognise the life of Ken Lamberton. Whilst not a club member, he was instrumental in providing us with our current magnificent premises. Jim has provided us with the following biography.
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Ken was a railwayman all of his life and this photograph shows him seated at the chaos of his desk in Rail House, Lord Nelson Street, Liverpool, not too long before he retired in 1993. It was Ken who was instrumental in obtaining access to the Old Station House for Southport and District Model Railway Club when it had been spotted derelict and unused by his son-in-law, Dr Jim Ford, then chairman of the club.
The building which you see today was little more than a shell, having been occupied by drug addicts whilst vacant and given psychedelic purple paint. The windows were all broken and the electricity wires and pipes had been stolen. It was only standing because the British Rail Property Board had been quoted £20,000 for taking it down literally brick-by-brick, as it lay within the loading gauge. Also none were aware of its historic significance as the last part of the Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway’s original 1847 Eastbank Street station. Following a site meeting with officers from the Property Board, the club was granted a maintaining lease, at an almost peppercorn rent. Ken’s longstanding friend, the late Sam Porter, advised the club committee gravely of the Board’s requirement for them to renew the chain link fencing bordering the rail line, but magically this was replaced a few weeks later before the documents had been signed. It was later revealed that the head PW ganger had (after a tip-off!) reported it as in a dangerous condition and in need of immediate replacement!
Ken was a man of many resources and maintained an informal carrier service between his office and Southport by which items destined for the family in Southport would appear in the PW offices by the 'Bradford' siding in Southport, so there was no requirement for waiting in for parcels in those days. He also 'arranged' for the conversion of an ex-LMS brake third coach into a special mess and engineering van for use on the inspection trips through the Mersey Tunnel, fitted with fluorescent lighting.

As often as he could, Ken would accompany the District Engineer on the latter’s perambulations about the north-western railway network by inspection saloon, acting as pooh-bah for the whole trip, which included a silver service dinner for this dignified officer, usually in a quiet siding tucked away from the main line. On one memorable occasion he arranged for his son-in-law to join him on the train, which not only visited the Bootle branch as far as the Seaforth Container terminal, but also the now-closed Mickle Trafford line, and transited the Birkenhead Docks system, perhaps the last train to make this journey.

Ken occasionally spent his weekends participating in 'bridge jobs' when a possession would start after the last train on Saturday night and the men in the team would take great pride in getting home for tea on Sunday, with ‘job done’ even though the possession was booked until Monday morning. He swore by the Liverpool crew which contained several ‘roughnecks’ but which was in Ken’s view streets ahead of the ‘Mancs’. With the Liverpool bridge crew there would be little likelihood of bus replacement on Monday morning because of an over-run, as is common today.

Sadly, Ken died in 2004 after a modest retirement, shortly after a holiday and with another one in mind. He is survived by his widow Eileen, his two daughters Fiona and Alison, and his son Anthony. The Southport and District Model Railway Club’s library is dedicated to his memory, in recognition of his part in obtaining a permanent and historically significant headquarters building for the club. which as a result flourishes to this day. He also provided the club with several historic items, including a ticket office seat and an Edmondson ticket punch.