Prescot THI Blog

Dan Longman, Historic Environment Intern: Blog 2

September has been a busy month and it looks set to get ever more hectic as the year progresses. Lately I have been reading up on the interesting world of architecture to assist with my understanding of the historic environment. How to Read Buildings by Carol Davidson Cragoe is a very useful little book simply written and full of images, which really helps when it comes to the technical elements of construction and design. It’s a little bit like learning a whole new language as there are literally thousands of terms to try and memorise. ‘Quoins’ (Masonry blocks at the corner of a wall to provide strength or decoration) has become a particular favourite and they are easy to spot in most towns and cities. I intend to become more adept at understanding the history of buildings, their style and techniques, over the course of the internship.

As mentioned in last month’s blog the Prescot Planning Guide is now nearing completion and once signed off should provide assistance to local businesses. The guide will include information about what building alterations will need planning permission, guidance on advertisement consent, change of use, environmental health, and a host of other considerations Prescot proprietors need to keep in mind if they wish to alter their premises. It has been enjoyable to get out and search the town centre for examples of good practice, and bad, and witness the standard of work that already exists across the neighbourhood. The guide should help enable Prescot to prosper in a sensitive way which reflects the character of the town centre and respects the historic nature of the conservation area.
The Prescot Planning Guide in progress

The Prescot Planning Guide in progress

Speaking of conservation areas, my appraisal of Cronton is being reviewed by my manager, as is the Cronton Draft Management Plan. Since August I have visited Cronton on a number of occasions to gain a thorough understanding of the locality which has helped shape my assessment. When formally adopted the Cronton Conservation Area Appraisal should aid local planners, residents and councillors if new developments are proposed in or around the area. The Draft Management Plan will operate alongside the appraisal, setting out any issues discovered during the appraisal and detail the Council’s management strategy to deal with them.

My induction at UClan for the MSc in Building Conservation and Adaptation took place last week with formal lectures set to begin tomorrow. It looks like it’s quite a small course with only about ten students on the register. This should make learning easier compared to the masses in my undergraduate days. Course leader Chris O’Flaherty is very knowledgeable and still works in practise. I am yet to meet the other tutors, but by the sounds of it I’m sure we’ll all be in safe hands. Our first outing is already scheduled for this week. On Thursday we set off for the Clitheroe Pinnacle to see how conservationists are preserving a turret from the Houses of Parliament which has stood in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle since the 1930s. I shall be sure to take plenty of pictures.
Harris Building, UCLan, where the MSc is taught
The Harris Building, UCLan, where the MSc is taught

In other news I have been making connections with industry professionals, keeping an eye on graduate schemes and other opportunities to further my potential post-internship. I am conscious that I do not have much in the way academics in my heritage background, such as Town Planning or Surveying, so I have been eagerly making connections and taking advice from those in the know.

The Prescot Townscape Heritage Initiative is an exceptional scheme and can really open doors to those who may otherwise struggle. The Msc and year of experience with Knowsley Council should put me in very good stead for 2016 and hopefully my long term career fears should settle down in the not too distant future. Besides, with the day job, the masters and some literary projects of my own, something tells me I actually won’t have much time to worry!

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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

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