Work has started on restoring and repairing a 19th century building as part of the £3.2 million Prescot Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).
Number 19 Eccleston Street – occupied by Andrew Louis Estate Agents – is to be repaired from top to bottom with its Victorian shop front restored and reinstated.
Heloise Wood, of Atelier MB Architects who is overseeing the project, said: “We found a small surviving section of the Victorian shop front that had been boarded over. We have used this as a guide to restoring the rest of the shop front in a traditional way.”
The work is scheduled to be completed in January 2016, so that the shop is ready for the now-traditional New Year rush of eager house hunters. Louis Anastasiou, Managing Director of Andrew Louis Estate Agents said: “We are a local firm who have been based in Prescot for many years.
“We are excited to see our building, which has a long history behind it, restored to its former glory.”
Coun Mike Murphy, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development said: “The Prescot THI is regenerating the town centre building by building. Each project is a stepping stone to our goal of making the town centre more attractive to shoppers, businesses and investors.”
Prescot was one of England’s main and oldest watch-making towns. For a large part of the 19th century the building was the home of Joseph Preston and Sons, watch movement and chronometer makers.
The family’s final apprentice, Harry Pybus, was the last watchmaker in Prescot when he retired in the 1930s.
He had used the workshop behind no.19 all of his working life. The workshop was demolished in the 1950s.
The firm carrying out the works is Quadriga Contracts Ltd, who specialise in working on historic buildings and sites.
Richard Granton of Quadriga said: “We are really pleased to be working on our first Prescot THI building. The restoration work here and on other buildings should give the town centre a real lift.”
The work at 19 Eccleston Street will be immediately followed by repair and restoration schemes at 54 Eccleston Street (Help the Aged) and 56 Eccleston Street (Max Speilman) in the New Year.
Work is also scheduled for buildings on Leyland Street.
The Prescot Townscape Heritage Initiative is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has contributed a grant of £1.85 million, Knowsley Council and other partners.