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Pop up to Prescot and discover the town’s hidden history!

by Lisa Bennett

A special pop-up exhibition has arrived in Prescot town centre to celebrate the town’s history and the new Shakespeare North Playhouse.

The exhibition displays key events and people in Prescot’s Elizabethan past and uncovers the links between the town, the Earls of Derby and even William Shakespeare himself.

Fascinating facts and stories

The colourful and informative banners are on display across the town, presenting fascinating facts and stories from centuries ago. They are an expansion of the attractive Elizabethan timeline tracing Prescot’s theatrical past which is already on display close to The Shakespeare North Playhouse (at the junction of Church Street and Derby Street).

The banners are being hosted by local shops and venues and can be seen in The Dance Shop and Poco on Eccleston Street; Ray’s Bakery on High Street; Jessie & Co on Leyland Street; Prescot Town Hall on Warrington Road and Prescot Museum/Library inside Prescot Shopping Centre. They will be on display until Friday 24 September.

The exhibition and timeline have evolved from the research of Prescot’s Community Curators group who have pulled together intriguing and interesting facts as part of their Prescot 1597 project.

A banner on display in Prescot Museum

A banner on display in Prescot Museum

About the Community Curators

The Community Curators are a group of volunteers excited about The Shakespeare North Playhouse and with an interest in Prescot’s history. The group’s primary aim was to research and influence exhibitions in the theatre to engage visitors and theatregoers with Prescot’s heritage.

Community Curator and Town Crier Diane Williams said:

“Did you know Prescot had its own theatre built around 1596 to 1603? No, neither did we till we looked into its riveting history! We learnt there was much merriment in the popular and much-visited market town of Prescot.”

The Community Curators have enjoyed behind-the-scenes tours at Prescot Museum, Knowsley Archives and Lancashire Records Office to view important artefacts and historic documents. They also visited Knowsley Hall and met the Curator of the Derby Collection. They have carried out extensive research transcribing Prescot’s Court Leet rolls and letters, actual records from Elizabethan times giving a true picture of everyday life from petty fines to neighbourly disputes; most importantly they reference Prescot’s original Playhouse.

The group have devised all sort of activities to share Prescot’s hidden heritage, including a huge community-made embroidery to feature in The Shakespeare North Playhouse and they sent a special Christmas card to every primary school child in Knowsley (21,000 of them) from Shakespeare and the Community Curators!

Their next scheme to share Prescot’s story will be promotional beer mats filled with fun facts to go in all the town’s pubs and eateries.

Community Curator and Town Crier Mariangela Hankinson said:

“The Community Curators have stepped out of their comfort zones and undertaken new challenges, made new friends and definitely increased their knowledge. Make sure you go to see the banners and timeline and enjoy everything Prescot has to offer!”

Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council said:

“The work of the Community Curators is so interesting. They have discovered so much about Prescot’s history and to share all these facts and stories in this exhibition is wonderful. A lot of the group’s findings will be on display on The Shakespeare North Playhouse when it opens next year, so it will be in place for the thousands of visitors to the town to discover Prescot’s fascinating past.”

Find out more

Find out more about The Shakespeare North Playhouse. 

If you would like to know more about the Community Curators, email vicky.griffiths@knowsley.gov.uk