It appears I have slipped a touch on my 3 month blog entry but having had some much needed leave I can now write about the events and training we have had.
The 4th of June was this year’s Elizabethan Fayre and was an extremely successful day, with the streets and shopping centre of Prescot bustling with people, Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, art, craft and calligraphy, foods galore, costumed players and dancing Tudors, to name a few!
The Heritage Hub had just short of 100 visitors through its doors, demonstrating the art of spinning, other textile crafts and Elizabethan herbs and spices. The THI skills co-ordinator spoke to just under 70 people about the progress of the THI and activities planned for the future and the town centre had a footfall of around 2000 people throughout the day.
The 4th of June was also the start of the community consultation process for Market Place, with Placed and it was delightful to see people walking through the streets completing the treasure hunt of buildings, street names and dates and giving their feelings and opinions about what the space should be used for in the future.
Tender for THI
Tender for THI was held on the 9th of June and was aimed at local contractors and sub-contractors, with the aim of equipping them with the necessary knowledge and understanding of how to successfully tender for THI work.
The training was 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 and, in my opinion, an extremely engaging and knowledgeable tutor.
We had 8 professionals attend and the feedback received was outstanding with comments such as:
‘The highlights for me were Alan Gardner’s talks about the differences between traditional buildings and modern buildings and how the traditional materials all complement each other in different ways and the addition of modern materials can affect this negatively. The hands-on section with the traditional materials was a particular highlight.’
‘The depth of Alan Gardner’s expertise and knowledge was very impressive.’
What is important to note, this day has led to expressions of interest from a couple of professionals for future tenders on the THI project.
Pottery in the Park
On the 13th of June we had Pottery in the Park.
Participants made tiles and pots/bowls and took part in a historical walking tour of Stadt Moers.
We had eight people attend and the feedback given was a pleasure to read:
‘Fascinating and interesting’
‘Excellent introduction to Pottery and I would like to learn more about the industrial archaeology of the area’
‘Very informative, great fun and relaxing’
Given the success of the day and the amount of people that had expressed an interest in the session but unable to attend due to work commitments, we will be having another Pottery in the Park on the 18th of September.
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Prescot remembers was the THI’s contribution to the Prescot Festival line up and was held on the 18th of June.
The event was to celebrate the centenary year of the War Memorial and to acknowledge those loved and lost in the First and Second World Wars. We had representation from Prescot Pals, the Woolly Wonderers (as part of World Wide Knitting in Public Day), a couple of vintage cars from St Helens Transport Museum, Knowsley Skills Academy and their inflatable assault course, the Jones Boys, Erich Kirste a POW who settled in Knowsley spoke about his experience in Huytons POW camp during the second world war, excerpts from ‘Some Mothers Sons’ and a presentation on the War Memorial from local historian Stephen Nulty. All of this was artistically captured by More Than Minutes.
The day was a great success, especially when the sun came out in the late afternoon, which certainly helped the lolly ices I was giving out disappear. We had over 150 people, of all ages, throughout the day asking questions, reading archival material, taking part in activities, listening to the play, Q and A and seminar. It was particularly fitting that the day was finished with a moving performance of Mozart’s celebrated Requiem, performed by a ‘come & sing’ chorus of almost 100 singers from across the region, with Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral’s James Luxton conducting. The brilliantly talented Wigan Youth Brass Band delivered a stirring second half to the concert.
The Memorial Garden
As Prescot Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) Skills Co-ordinator, I contacted St Helens College Horticulture Department in July 2015 with the intention of the THI collaborating with the Environment and Sustainability Department in Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council (KMBC) and the Friends of Prescot Church and Cemetery group to provide quality work placements for students and encourage future volunteering with FOPCC.
The THI has many aims, two of which include work placements and ‘Grow Prescot’. Grow Prescot was to provide an area within Prescot that would include community engagement and encourage awareness and use of herbs and historical plants. This has been realised with the ‘Memorial Garden’ in the historical grounds of St Marys Parish Church thanks to the expertise, ideas, advice and guidance from John Taylor (Vicar, St Marys Parish Church), FOPCC volunteers, Steve Jones and his staff team (Environment and Sustainability Team KMBC), Rob Hogan (St Helens Horticulture lecture) and his students.
It was agreed that the project would work with first and second year students so as to maximise the potential of outcomes for all involved. The second year students worked on the: technical side soil analysis, measurements, design and research of historical plants and landscape design, whilst the first year students focused on the manual product, working 60 hours with the THI and KMBC Environment and Sustainability staff supervising their work experience and associated paperwork.
Although the original designs were not used, the flowers, herbs and in some cases patterns of such clusters was adopted by KMBC staff, attempting to incorporate as much of the students work as possible.
With regards to the funding of this project, the THI was able to contribute £2000 to the project and the FOPCC group secured £12,000 from Tesco’s Groundwork Bags of Help Trust for lecterns to be put throughout the area to show future plans and the history of the area.
The project has proven extremely successful with feedback from students and staff being extremely positive. So much so, there is hope and intention for this initiative to continue next year with a new cohort of students so as to continue benefitting the employability skills of students and the wellbeing of Prescots community.
Hilarious Histories – A Potted Prescot
The very talented MATE Productions were touring the feeder schools of The Prescot School in April and May delivering the production of A Potted Prescot, showcasing the delivery to over 1800 pupils.
The performance also formed part of the opening ceremony of the schools change of brand – identifying with it’s strong heritage.
The play covers the unique and vibrant history of Prescot, covering items such as the Court Leet, Watch Making, cultural and colloquial quirks, the change and development over time and of course the rich history of the school.
This collaboration was formed through the THI, MATE Productions and The ARK: Archive Resource for Knowsley, having put together a programme of activities – the performance being part of this, as part of Explore Your Archive week in November 2015. The Prescot Schools deputy head, having attended this, thought it would be a marvellous way of showcasing the history of Prescot and the Schools place amongst this to students, which of course the THI skills co-ordinator and MATE Productions embraced.
It’s been a real success and a pleasure to be a part of.
Enterprise Week at The Prescot School
As Part of Enterprise week, the THI skills co-ordinator, THI officer and a talented craftsman Wayne Hart, attended The Prescot School for the day. We delivered information to a number of students on how to move in to the world of heritage, conservation and craft based work, as well as a practical demonstration and ‘have a go’ at stone carving.
Enterprise week is aimed at giving students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. Unfortunately, not all students are able to secure work placements and so the school aims to co-ordinate a week of activities from a variety of sectors and skills to give students the opportunity to broaden their awareness and choices when it comes to employment.
The day was a great deal of fun, with everyone (including the skills co-ordinator and THI officer) enjoying the practical stone carving session – it was particularly therapeutic!
Plans for the future
The Heritage Hub will be closed from Wednesday the 27th of July to Monday the 15th of August 2016.
The Woolley Wonderers are continuing from Vee’s Place: Kemble Street, Monday evenings 6 – 8pm.
We have another free training day planned for the 19th of August: Writing Specifications for Conservation Projects, with the target audience being Conservation Officers, Architects and Building Surveyors.
On the 18th of September, we will host another Pottery in the Park. October we will be delivering three days of training on Lime, Timber and Damp and Stone, at Liverpool John Moores University – open to non-students also. We will host the very successful accredited Pre-1919 Building and Maintenance course in November from Heritage Craft Alliance with further training from SPAB in March 2017.
Lastly, from September we aim to host craft days every first Saturday of the month (in tandem with the Arts and Craft Fair) in the Heritage Hub. Keep a look out for details from the middle of August on here and in the window of the Heritage Hub.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on: 07773 575 856 or Lyndsey-Jane.Kevan@knowsley.gov.uk