The usual four months have passed since my last blog and a lot has happened.
Prescot’s Woolly Wonderers:
The beginning of year saw our second Knitting and Crochet group brave the cold and dark nights to attend Monday evenings at Vee’s Place. Our skilled and friendly volunteers have offered support for ongoing personal projects and have also talked about doing a group project for all to participate in for charity. The Monday nights have proven to be very successful, with calls frequently received with enquiries about times and price.
The Knitting and Crochet group is a free drop in session that encourages people to develop or learn new skills and runs out of Vee’s Place, on Kemble Street in Prescot every Monday from 6 – 8pm. The age group runs from six to eighty four and tea, coffee and biscuits keep people sustained whilst knitting, nattering and hooking.
Heritage in the World of Careers:
In February, Quadriga delivered a professional lecture to a class of second year HNC and Tech App students, detailing the career path of their foreman – who started off as an apprentice and the steps taken in the world of construction and heritage.
In March, Owen Barton THI Officer), Dan Longman (our THI Intern) and myself as skills co-ordinator delivered career development presentations to final year Sociology, Criminology and History students at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). The aim of the session was to educate students on the variety of roles, responsibilities, transferable skills and possible gateways into the world of heritage. I imagine our student audience would have very fixed views on subject specific employment routes. Our objective was to demonstrate the importance and currency of the transferable skills developed whilst at University.
Regrettably, our planned free training day for ‘Tendering for THI’, which was to be delivered by Alan Gardner who is a Chartered Building Surveyor accredited in conservation and a SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) Lethaby Scholar, had to be cancelled due to illness. The aim of the training is to equip local contractors and sub-contractors with the skills and knowledge to submit competitive portfolios to tender for THI work, in the hope of increasing the pool of local tradesman for local jobs.
A new date has now been set as the 9th of June and will be held in the Deanes House, Prescot. If you would like further information on this or book a place, please contact me on 07773 575 856.
The heavy rains in December and January scuppered our Prescot Potters plans and led to major renovations to Stadt Moers Environment Centre, delaying the workshop to the end of May. The session will consist of a historical walking tour and a practical pottery session and if interested in participating in the workshop, please contact me by phone 07773 575 856 or e-mail Lyndsey-jane.Kevan@knowsley.gov.uk
On Site Work Experience:
A good news story has come from our Fusion 21 Apprentice Daniel who has been working on site with Quadriga on THI buildings 19, 54 and 56 Eccleston Street. Through Daniel’s excellent, conscientious and determined work ethic he has secured employment with Quadriga, and will consequently have the opportunity of further developing his construction skills in the world of heritage buildings.
Conversations are also in hand with regards to the recruitment of an apprentice for the public realm work currently on-sote in Atherton Street with Calico, a shared apprenticeship scheme. This new relationship and increased momentum of THI building outputs means that we are in a much better position to supply work experience for apprentices in the future.
Liverpool John Moores University work placements:
The Building Stories project started last year, having been approached by LJMU English Lecturer Elspeth Graham with the proposal of the THI facilitating work placements for students. The concept of Building Stories was developed, supported and built upon through Elspeth, myself, THI Officer – Owen Barton and a retired LJMU History Lecturer John Herson, discussing the potential options and potential obstacles English students may encounter studying the historical significance of buildings. The conclusion of such collaboration was for the students to focus their attention on the owners of a number of THI properties between the years 1840 – 1911 and the trade and family life of Prescotians mid 1800’s to the late 1900’s. This would then give enough ‘creative fodder’ to produce artistic stories and presentations on such subjects.
In the pursuit of this, from January a twelve week schedule of work was produced which enabled the students to access research material both documented and colloquial through visits to the Heritage Hub , Prescot Museum, and Kirkby Ark,
an extremely well preserved watch making studio as well as sessions on how to collate census and trade directory information from John Herson and how to glean historical facts/age from architectural features from our THI Officer Owen Barton.
The THI also facilitated a community open day at the Heritage Hub,
where members of the local and wider community shared their precious memories, stories and photos of Prescots past with the students.
The results of their work was presented on the 6th of April in Vee’s Place and consisted of factual data of who lived where and when, between 1840 – 1911 in what was the White Horse Inn, 9 Market Place and 19, 21 and 23 Eccleston Street and creative stories and summaries based on the trade, families and historical significance of Prescot.
The THI, Friends of Prescot Church and Cemetery (FOPCC) and the Environment and Sustainability service from KMBC have been working with students from St Helens College Horticulture department for a number of months. Thus far the students have done a number of analyses of the church yard, produced plans for the design of the flower beds and planned the various plants, taking into consideration the historical flora of the Tudor period. All of which has now been approved by all parties: THI, FOPCC, Environment and Sustainability service and Rev’d. Canon John Andrew Taylor, and work will commence later this month.
It’s a very exciting time for FOPCC, having achieved the Green Flag Award, and having won Tesco’s and Groundwork ‘Bags of help Initiative’ early this year. The money from the initiative will go towards their continued and tireless efforts to develop and maintain the Cemetery by purchasing information lecterns, housing historical facts and notes of interest. The memorial garden will not only compliment their Green Flag status, it will help secure work placements (in turn work ethic and employability skills) for Horticulture students, encourage an appreciation of the historical significance of the grounds whilst importantly acknowledging those buried without name.
Family and Community Education (FACE):
I will be taking note of expressions of interest for taster sessions in Local History, Family History and Photography in the Heritage Hub later this month with the hope of running the sessions in June/July. The intention thereafter is to follow this up (depending on interest) with an 8 week course and then who knows, perhaps an accredited course, which will run for an academic year.
Hilarious Histories – A Pottered Prescot.
The THI commissioned MATE Productions to deliver Hilarious Histories – A Pottered Prescot, last year for Explore your Archive week in November.
The success of this was recognised by Prescot School, formerly known as Knowsley Park Centre for Learning, who have joined forces with the THI and MATE Productions in the quest of delivering an adapted performance as part of their rebranding opening ceremony.
What if in the Future…
A final year student (Jake Liken) from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts contacted me in January with the request of delivering a community performance about Prescot, having chased up an email I had made mid-2015. Jake’s remit was to engage with a community and develop a performance in which they would be willing to learn, help in the creation and perform. Jake and I made contact with St Marys and St Pauls School, the Performance Arts Department in Knowsley Community College, FOPCC, Friends of Eaton Street, Whiston Interest in Cultural Heritage, LJMU students who were researching Prescot as part of the Building Stories project and Huyton URC Church Choir. This engagement led to props being made,
information being gathered – factual and colloquial, and roles in the play being filled.
The results of this led to the production of ‘What if in the Future…’, which was a community promenade performance about an inventor who developed an amazing ‘Clockwork Cotton’, which allowed the audience to travel through different worlds and time zones exploring Prescot’s past. The performance was held in the walled garden of the Vicarage and over 200 people engaged.
The afternoon was a wonderful success and was celebrated afterwards with music, singing, dancing and a delicious buffet.
The Heritage Hub has helped with a number of public enquiries about family members, buildings, street names and so on and has also opened its door to community open days, community art consultation and research from LJMU students and drama productions in the community.
Until we are able to generate further interest in volunteering at the Heritage Hub it remains to be staffed only by myself and my colleague Owen who uses the building of a Wednesday. With this in mind, the opening days at the Heritage Hub, Eccleston Street, Prescot are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9 – 4:00pm, with Prescot Historic Society attending every Thursday 10 – 1pm. Please note, if the shutters are down it means that I am attending meetings elsewhere or on the rare occasion training but can be contacted on the number below. If you are interested in volunteering at the Heritage Hub please contact me on 07773 575 856 or Lyndsey-Jane.Kevan@knowsley.gov.uk
I have had what feels like a quiet few months but am aware that the coming months are jam packed with engaging activities.
My attendance at community network, friends of…, events sub groups and heritage, leisure and culture meetings prove to be extremely beneficial to me and stakeholders. They allow for smoother and clearer information sharing, innovation and the provision of collaborative support.
I am extremely hopeful about the next few months in further embedding the knowledge of the THI, heritage skills and the exciting events planned.