Prescot THI Blog

Prescot Old Buildings Day and recent Appointments

As promised- it’s a quick-fire return to the blog with more news!

While the previous blog had a ‘building’ theme-, this update has more of a ‘skills’ theme covering Prescot Old Buildings Day and our recent new appointments at THI HQ.

Historic Environment Internship

Back in late January I announced via this very blog that we were advertising for our second-ever Historic Environment Intern to work with us on a paid one-year contract to help deliver the THI and the Borough’s Historic Environment Strategy.

Just like when we advertised the same post in 2014, this year we had a good number of applicants and the quality of the field was such that we had a much longer shortlist for interview this time.

By the end of the interviews we were in a bit of a quandary: we had two outstanding candidates from completely different backgrounds who both clearly stood to benefit from the work experience with us plus the completion of a Masters in Building Conservation funded by the post. We couldn’t pick one over the other.

Happily we are in a situation where we are committed to hiring and training four interns over four years – it doesn’t matter if two or more are in the same year or if it is just one a year. With our main funder’s agreement (the HLF) we have appointed two interns who are raring to go in August 2015 when they complete their current studies.

And what of our first intern Chris? He is just a few short weeks off finishing his lectures at UCLAN (the University of Central Lancashire), leaving the not inconsiderable task of writing and submitting his dissertation (I don’t envy you there Chris!). He is well on with drafting his second Conservation Area Appraisal for us and is now the office authority on Knowsley Village as a result. His work on a local list for the Borough and the groundwork for a Heritage at Risk survey continues.

And here’s the man himself: our Chris moonlighting as a poster boy for UCLAN’s prospectus for next year.

THI Skills and Community Co-ordinator

Such has been my lot recently that I haven’t even had the chance to tweet yet alone blog about the other post we recently advertised. This postholder is to deliver what are called the ‘complementary initiatives’ of the THI: community outreach and engagement; delivering training, apprenticeships, traineeships and work placements.

This post requires an entirely different set of skills and knowledge to what I have – I’m more of a ‘buildings’ person rather than a ‘people’ person, but I have done what I can over the last couple of years as an ‘enthusiastic amateur’ who doesn’t speak training-ese, putting on training events and outreach activity in and around the bread and butter work on the buildings and public realm sides (and the never-ending cycle of budgets and project management).

The new co-ordinator will take the community and employment strands of the THI to a new level and really boost the work that is going on in Prescot. It will also allow me to focus more on what I was brought in to do: deliver the buildings and public realm strands of the THI. The Co-ordinator will remain in post during the remaining three years of the THI and we will be working closely together.

Prescot Old Buildings Day: 7th March 2015

The principles of slate lapping and even coursing put into practice… (photo courtesy of the SPAB)

Many thanks to everyone who put information about this event on the web, in social media, in their premises or in their shop windows. It was the THI’s first ever ‘big’ stand-alone event that was open to all. We brought in the SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) for ‘Prescot Old Buildings Day’ at Prescot Town Hall.

How are ‘special’ or decorative bricks rubbed into shape and how long does it take? Ask the craftspeople! (photo courtesy of the SPAB)

The SPAB brought craftspeople: a joiner, a lime plasterer, a slate roofer, and a bricklayer in addition to their own experts. The craftspeople exhibited their work and skills with the opportunity for visitors to have a go themselves. The SPAB’s experts were on hand to give people advice on how to look after their old buildings and they also ran two talks (up in the Council Chamber) and a lime slaking demonstration.

The lime slaking demo being dlivered by James and Lucy from the SPAB. The goggles and gloves were needed – the chemical reaction of adding water to quicklime is hot and can be violent… (photo courtesy of the SPAB)

We had a really good turnout on the day, and for me the surest sign of the event’s quality was the amount of time people spent with us once they were at the Town Hall. It was a mix of local residents and building owners, built environment professionals and SPAB members who were pleased that there was an event on in the Northwest. The talks and slaking demo were both well attended with spontaneous rounds of applause at the end of each (a great compliment – thanks everyone!).

Lucy from the SPAB delivering one of the day’s talks to a packed Council Chamber.

In all I was really pleased with how the day went – I only heard positive feedback from visitors and there was a lot of interest in what we are doing in Prescot with the THI. I also managed to limit myself to buying just two books from the SPAB bookstall!

We need information… information… One small corner of the SPAB bookstall.

I’ll be handing over organising events like this to the incoming Skills and Community Co-ordinator, but I hope we’ll be working with the SPAB again, they did a super job.

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Get involved

Help shape the heritage initiative by taking part in consultations, or celebrate Prescot's history at events taking place throughout the project. Schools and colleges can also get hands-on with the past through activities and workshops for groups.

Heritage skills training

Historic buildings need people with the right knowledge to look after them. The THI will give people in and entering the local construction industry the opportunity to gain new skills and experience.

The THI will also help people find out more about careers in heritage.

Get in touch

Keep up-to-date by following us on twitter or find out more at 'Space to Create', the THI information centre on Eccleston Street.

You can also contact Owen Barton, THI Officer, by phone on 0151 443 2757 or by emailing owen.barton@knowsley.gov.uk.


Apply for grants

Owners of certain buildings in the Prescot Conservation Area can apply for grants to repair, restore and re-use their property.

Eligible properties are marked in red and orange.

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

Conservation area appraisals

The conservation area appraisal (PDF) is a detailed assessment of Prescot's most historic areas.

The appraisal appendices (PDF) contain more detailed information and the management plan (PDF) outlines how the area will be managed.

Heritage Lottery Funded

© Knowsley Council 2013