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34 Church St Prescot, will be repaired, restored and converted as part of the Prescot HAZ

Prescot town centre selected for 3-year cultural programme

by Lisa Bennett

Prescot is one of only six places in the country selected to be part of a major cultural programme launched by Historic England. The project – entitled ‘Picturing England’s High Streets’- will see a photographer in residence commissioned to engage with local communities and organisations to create a contemporary portrait of the high street from now, until 2024. For Prescot, this project will coincide with the opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse which is currently under construction in the town.

‘Picturing England’s High Streets’ is part of the Cultural Programme within £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) initiative, of which Prescot is part.

Cllr Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Economic Development commented:

“It’s another great boost for Prescot to be chosen to take part in this exciting project. The next three years and beyond will be so important for the town.

“Alongside the opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse, we also hope to see many more businesses and visitors coming into the town. To be able to visually capture some of these major moments will be wonderful and to be able to have a visual record of our high street, for current and future generations, is fantastic.”

The national photography project is being delivered by Photoworks in partnership with photography organisations nationally, with Liverpool based charity Open Eye Gallery Gallery delivering with local partners in Prescot.

Sarah Fisher, Director, Open Eye Gallery said:

“We are delighted that communities in Prescot will be able to draw upon the expertise of a photographer over the next 3 years to create images that are meaningful to them. Local people are the heart of England’s high streets and their voice is essential in a project that represents such an iconic town with a rich heritage and vibrant cultural future.”

Laura Collier, Creative Director at The Shakespeare North Playhouse added:

“We are so excited to be partnering with Open Eye Gallery as we build up to the opening of Shakespeare North Playhouse in 2022, and explore further our position as one of Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones. This is a significant moment in time for Prescot’s cultural evolution, and this project is the perfect way to bring communities together to explore self-expression through the art of photography.”

Prescot High Street Hertiage Action Zone

Prescot was selected as one of the 68 high streets to benefit from the High Street Heritage Action Zone project in 2020.

In Prescot, the £3.1 million heritage-led regeneration programme will see major investment from the Council and Historic England into a number of key projects. This includes the repair, restoration and conversion of Prescot’s first cinema – including its surviving auditorium from 1912 – and the transformation of a Grade II Listed townhouse (formerly Prescot Museum) into a ‘makerspace’ for new and small businesses in creative, arts and digital sectors. In addition the funding will be used to provide grants to restore other historic buildings, transform disused land in the town centre and engage with the local community in the run up to Knowsley’s year as the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture in 2022.

Photographers interested in the project should visit the Photoworks website.