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Formby Civic Society and the first Blue Plaque

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

You may well have heard of the Formby Civic Society yet not know what it does or who it is for. It is for anyone living in or connected to Formby as a way of safeguarding our heritage and playing a part in giving Formby people a say over proposed changes that may have a negative impact on our community. Change and movement forward is clearly important, but not every proposal is in the best interests of our town and it should be the right change for the right reasons.

The ‘Formby Society’ was founded in 1953 with the aim of:

•Fostering Formby’s identity; •Safeguarding our amenities; •Developing cultural activities; •Encouraging local studies.

More recently, we became ‘Formby Civic Society’ and affiliated with Civic Voice.

We provide talks throughout the year, a Summer Programme and newsletters. All events are open to non-members for just £2; full membership is £10 per year.

In helping guard Formby’s ‘unique identity’, we monitor local Planning Applications and make representations when necessary. Our services as Heritage Providers are available to local schools and other bodies. We have built up a valuable history library with a pictorial collection, digitally scanned, of cottages, farms, houses and lanes; this includes the Sibley Collection. We also research local subjects such as the Formby Lifeboat Station (the first in Britain), and are working on the ‘Home Front’ in Formby during the First World War. We assisted the National Trust in creating the Asparagus Heritage Trail and helping develop several Ravenmeols Local Nature Reserve Heritage Trails.

We provide exhibitions and have published several local history books, such as ‘Formby, Then and Now’. Duke Street Library holds the ‘Formby Tapestry’, a visual record of Formby’s history from the Vikings to the 20th Century.


Recently, we placed the first Blue Plaque on a Formby building.

The heritage plaque celebrates the life of Thomas Fresh, who gave Freshfield it’s name. This will be Formby's first plaque and is attached to the house that Thomas Fresh lived in at 95 Freshfield Road. The plaque hopefully will be the first of many.

Thomas Fresh was the Public Health Pioneer 1803 to 1861.

Thomas Fresh, now recognised on the one hand as one of Liverpool’s mid-19th Century Environmental health heros, and on the other hand rightly regarded as the founder of Freshfield, insofar as he was responsible for the construction of a station, (named after him) but also the consequent significant improvement of agriculture here, by virtue of the provision of a valuable source of fertiliser.


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