VIDEO: Fond memories of the mechanical elephant

Memories came flooding back for those who attended the re-opening of a former mill in Halton at the weekend.

Around 250 people joined Rajah the mechanical elephant in officially opening the new low carbon workspace – The Green Elephant – at the former Luneside Engineering Works on Saturday.

Rajah the mechanical elephant

Rajah the mechanical elephant

Rajah, who was constructed at Halton Mill around 1950 when it housed Luneside Engineering, carried children on his back, just as he and his fellow mechanical elephants did on British seaside promenades for many years.

Linda Smalley, from Morecambe, said: “I remember the sensation very well but when I talked about it nobody believed me, so it is lovely to see a mechanical elephant with children on it.”

Rajah, who now belongs to the Crosby Lions, walked through a ribbon made of paper elephants to open the refurbished mill which is providing office, workshop, studio and hot desk space to small enterprises and individuals.

Eric Smith, whose father Frank Smith designed the Luneside mechanical elephant, also turned up to see his father’s handiwork, and Stephen Fawcett, who worked there in the 1980s alongside his father, was reunited with about a dozen of his former workmates.

Alison Cahn, a film maker and director of Green Elephant, which is managing Halton Mill, said: “We want it to be a working community not just a place you come to work, to embody the kind of enthusiasm which produced the elephants.

“We already have a range of tenants including web designers and developers, engineers, a computer support service, campaigning organisations, artists and crafts people, even a magician and a children’s theatre.

“Many of them have been taking part in the opening today, so it feels that both the pride and community is already being created.”