Three new vibrant pieces of public art have been installed in Prescot to provide a warm and inspiring welcome to the town. The eye-catching installations are positioned on roundabouts at key gateway positions leading into and out of the town.
The artwork is part of the wider connectivity strategy for the town which saw bespoke inner gateway signs installed late 2020 and a family of new wayfinding signage installed across the town centre in early 2021.
This comprehensive wayfinding scheme is being implemented ahead of the opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse in 2022, when thousands of new visitors are expected to visit the town every year. It is a key part of the council’s overall ambition to transform the town centre, making it an even more attractive and welcoming place for local residents and visitors.
The artwork is funded by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through the Local Growth Fund. Local Growth Funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.
Artist Martin Herron designed the artwork following extensive consultation with the local community. Two local primary schools have been involved, along with residents of The Watch Factory and a number of local community organisations. Discussions and presentations were held in public venues and community groups at Byer Road Community Centre, drop-ins at Prescot Library and public meetings in town centre cafes, pubs and restaurants during 2019.
“The Prescotians are great people and this has been one of my favourite projects for community involvement. I met so many fantastic folk of all ages and abilities, from school children and young people to the older generation, to share thoughts and ideas as to what the artworks could be.
It was great to have a blank canvas and the community had so many ideas and it was the main themes around the town’s rich heritage that were developed to create the final concepts.
I’ve worked in many places and communities to develop artworks that become part of that town, village and city. The warm welcome that I received when I came to Prescot and the way people got involved and shaped their artworks will stay with me forever. Such pride, such ambition and such optimism for the regeneration of their town. As well as feeding into the design of the artworks themselves, people spoke about wanting them to be bigger to have a really positive impact at the important gateways to Prescot.”
There were key themes that emerged from the consultation, particularly Prescot’s rich industrial heritage, a strong sense of community and history.
Key aspects centre around Prescot’s industrial and craftmanship past, including watch and clock making, tool making, local coal mining, pottery, and the well-known British Insulated Wire Company / British Insulated Callander’s Cables (BICC) to name but a few.
And of course, Shakespeare and the crafting of stories plays a strong role from Edward Lear and his time at Knowsley Hall, to the Earls of Derby’s connections to Shakespeare which sets the scene for the new Shakespeare North Playhouse being built in the town today.
Colour is used extensively throughout the works, influenced by the wiring and the colours of the protective coatings used both historically and in the modern day. These colours are echoed throughout each gateway site. The aim of all the artworks is to welcome, to celebrate, to illustrate and to inspire.
The final artworks will reflect the heritage, the stories and importance of Prescot on the world stage.
Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development said: This is just another fantastic milestone in the regeneration of Prescot town centre and its readiness to welcome visitors from across the world. I’d like to thank everyone who took time to share their thoughts and ideas for these installations through community workshops and drop-ins. They should feel enormous pride that they have helped to create something which will stand in this town for many, many years to come.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“I was first elected on a pledge to leave no area behind and I’m really proud of everything we’ve done to help get Prescot on the up again. Between the £10m we’ve invested in Shakespeare North and £8m into upgrades in and around the station, we are already seeing real progress.
“2022 promises to be a really exciting year for Prescot and our wider region with the opening of the Shakespeare North theatre and Knowsley’s turn as Borough of Culture. I’m sure there’ll be people coming from all over to visit so it’s fantastic to see these art works going up to give them an eye-catching welcome!”
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said:
“It’s great news that, with the help of £587,000 Local Growth Fund investment, three new pieces of public art have been installed in Prescot.
“This unique and inspiring art work will help to transform the town centre, making it an even more attractive and welcoming place to live and visit.”
Where can you see the artworks?
At the Liverpool Road / M57 roundabout the artwork will set the stage to announce a vibrant and creative Prescot to visitors. It will include a watch design based on work produced at The Watch Factory.
At the A57 Liverpool Rd / M57/ Kings Drive roundabout a larger than life cable will protrude from the ground, the explosion of colour displaying a dramatic welcome to Prescot and the start – or end of – an exciting trip to Prescot.
At the A58/ St Helens Road roundabout there will be a stack of colourful cable reels representing the cultural and industrial heritage of Prescot.
For more images of the artworks view our Flickr Gallery online