Prescot THI Blog

THI Partnership Board: Latest Outline Grant Approvals

At its July meeting, the Prescot THI Partnership Board gave the go-ahead for four building repair and restoration projects to proceed as full grant applications. The total cost of the four projects is over £200,000. These latest approvals mean that nearly £750,000 worth of building grants have been allocated for works to 12 buildings. The total works to these buildings (if we include the owners’ contributions) is now over the £1 million mark.

The four buildings are 19 Eccleston Street, 54 Eccleston Street, 56 Eccleston Street and 9 Market Place. These buildings are respectively occupied by Andrew Louis estate agent’s, Age UK, Max Speilman Photos and Whitehouse estate agent’s. The buildings have all been identified by the Heritage Lottery Fund as Priority Buildings within the THI. The approved outline projects are expected to go through the full grant application process, obtain all necessary planning approvals and start on site in 2015.

19 Eccleston Street

19 Eccleston Street

While the existing building looks as though it dates from the mid-nineteenth century, with the gabled front being upated in the 1860s or 1870s, there is scope for the building to perhaps have timber framing like the back half of the attached 21-23 Eccleston Street. The building of course stands within one of the burgage plots that make up the historic core of Prescot.

It is known that from the 1840s it was the home of the Preston family who built a large two storey watch-making workshop behind the house shortly after 1848. This workshop remained in watch-making use right up until the 1930s (in later years by Harry Pybus), but it was demolished in the 1950s. It is not clear when the ground floor of no.19 was made into a shop. There is scope for historic shopfront details to survivie behind the later boxing in of the cornice and behind the rollershutter box.

The approved outline grant scheme is to repair the exterior of the building, including the roof, chimneys and rainwater goods. The external roller shutters would be removed and replaced by internal ones, and the shopfront will be restored to a more traditional appearance in timber. If there are any historic shopfront detials hidden away behind more recent additions, these should be retained and repaired. The historic (Victorian) bargeboard detail to the top of the gable will also be reinstated. Thebuilding is already in full use so no conversion works are proposed.

54 and 56 Eccleston Street

52-56 Eccleston Street

These were purpose-built as lock-up shops in the 1870s, right next to the then-newly created Aspinall Street. In terms of the building’s architecture and materials, the influence of the railway station opening in Prescot in the 1860s is evident: the building’s identical-looking factory made red and buff bricks and identical brick ‘specials’ to the eaves were more than likely brought into Prescot by rail.

A big part of the grant scheme for both buildings is to remove the external roller shutters and modern shopfronts and to reinstate traditional shopfronts. Luckily, the Prescot Historical Society has a photo that can’t have been taken more than 30 years after 54-56 Eccleston Street were built. This photo (below) shows quite a lot of the orignial shopfront detilas quite clearly. This will be invaluable in getting these shopfronts (and the buildings) to their former character. The other aspects of the grant schemes are to generally repair the properties, reinstating a sash window to the front of no.54, replacing the rainwater goods (and getting rid of that giant buddliea!) and clean any marked brickwork. No. 56 has a slightly bigger upper floor than no.54 and this is presently vacant. The THI grants can support the conversion of this vacant space into a studio flat.

54-56 Eccleston Street in around 1900. Note how the shopfrotns had a common fascia, cornice and pilaster detail, though the windows, doors and stallrisers were deisnged to suit the particular type of shop within. Photo used with the kind permission of the Prescot Historical Society

9 Market Place

9 Market Place

Like 19 Eccleston Street, 9 Market Place stands in one of the medieval burgage plots. The front of the existing building is rendered and is Regency ni character, putting its date to the early nineteenth centry. But who knows? Maybe there is an eighteenth century building hidden behind the render? To the rear of the building is an even older single storey workshop that is reputed to date from the seveneteenth century. This outbuilding may or may not have been used for watch making, but it is more likely that it was used as a small smithy or forge and it is known that later on it was used as a tool-making workshop. This use tallies conveniently with the use of the ground floor of 9 Market Place as an ironmonger’s / hardware store from the 1880s right up until the 1970s / 80s. It may well be that 9 Makret Place went from being a fashionable reasonably high status house in the early nineteenth century to a shop with a dwelling above. A lot of the late nineteenth century shopfront survives.

9 Market Place arond 1900. Note the blacony in front of the first floor windows and the decorative moulded hoods over the first floor windows. Photo used with the kind permission of the Prescot Historical Society.

The approved scheme is to repair the building, and to reinstate features and details to the shopfront that are missing. The most dramatic changes proposed are to the upper floors. Old photos hald by the Prescot Historical Society show that the buildnig used to look much more ornate with a cast iron balcony in front of the first floor windows and moulded stone hoods over these same windows. Just below eaves level there were once capital details (like you would find at the top of a column or pilaster) that made it look as though the top of the wall was supported by giant pilasters. 9 Market Place must have been one of the best examples of a Regency house outside of Liverpool when it was built or remodelled to have all of these architectural details. Putting back the missing details would make this Grade II Listed Building even more handsome.

5th THI Partnership Board Meeting

In my rush to get ready for yesterday’s Partnership Board meeting, I neglected to tell you what happened at the previous meeting. There was an outline grant approval for works to two buildings: 7 and 9 Leyland Street. The HLF has agreed to fund a much smaller project than initiailly anticipated for these buildings. It will focus on giving the two buildings a more traditional looking, unified shopfront. There are no traditional shopfronts at all on Leyland Street because all of the shops and businsses occupy what were built as houses in 1908. These two shopfronts will be used as a template for the rest of the street if we can keep the momentum of the THI going beyond 2018 and carry on the work of using Prescot’s heritage to lead its regeneration.

7-9 Leyland Street

Anything Else?

While I’m on the subject the THI building projects, the THI scheme to restore and repair 29-31 Eccleston Street (Millicans Opticians) and to convert the vacnt upper floors to four flats was recently given planning permission. Two other THI projects: 21 Eccleston Street and 13-15 Atherton Street have planning applications that are currently being considered.

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Read the guide to applying for grants (PDF) and eligibility criteria (PDF) documents for detailed information about grants.

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