Prescot is undergoing an unbelievable renaissance, meet the people behind the new high street
William Shakespeare said ‘All the world’s a stage’ and Prescot is gearing up to have its name in lights.
Prescot is a social town, the type of place where people stop to say hello and the butchers, opticians and newsagents have a smile and joke. While the high street lost its sparkle to the bright lights of the Cables Retail Park some time ago, the leafy, cobbled roads have attracted brand new entrepreneurs with Prescot’s regeneration in their sights.
In 2020, Prescot will become the northern hot spot for drama, theatre and arts education and the Shakespeare North Playhouse is just the start of a social revolution. Creating a 350 seater theatre, education studio, coffee shop and office space at Prospero Place, the site of a former Elizabethan theatre, Shakespeare North Playhouse will help bring back a buzz to Prescot town centre.
Sparking a catalyst for regeneration, there’s a buzz surrounding the Shakespeare North Playhouse site. Market Place, a disused piece of land just off the high street will house the brand new community hub, run by MATE Productions husband and wife team, Gaynor and Francesco La Rocca. This £500,000 development will offer local people the chance to enjoy film nights, open air theatre, comedy and an on-site café.
Nina Halliwell is a local resident and business owner in Prescot. Having started her cake business at the Prescot indoor market, Nina saw an opportunity to launch the Albion Bakehouse, a coffee shop and cake emporium that gave locals a place to meet and relax. Very quickly Nina was at capacity on a daily basis and discovered an expansion opportunity, just over the back wall!
Down in Albion, Atherton Street opened for business towards the end of 2018. The former watch makers storage warehouse has enjoyed a stunning make over, retaining lots of original features, including a huge floor standing safe! Nina is now able to offer customers breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea in bright, modern and comfortable surroundings.
Another local business woman making waves in the town is Carmel Donohue. Mum of two, Carmel is a luxury florist and has set up her studio in the shadow of not one, but two of Prescot’s stunning churches. Naming her enterprise after her daughters, Poppy Belle Florals specialises in flowers walls and installations that can be hired for occasions as well as fresh cut flowers and bouquets.
Excited about what the future holds for the area, Carmel said: “Come 2020 Prescot will be thriving, for ages it’s needed something. I don’t think the people of Prescot truly realise what’s about to happen.”
Prescot’s Ecclestone Street received a high-profile boost in the form of Pinion, the latest restaurant opening from award winning chef, Gary Usher. Taking its name from the town’s watch making heritage, Pinion was crowdfunded to the tune of £50,000 in just 24 hours and has added a touch of class to Ecclestone Street. The bistro offers everything from coffee, winter warming lunch dishes ( the fish and chips looks divine) to fine wines, perfect for date night.
Building on the community pride and social aspect of Prescot town centre, the former Red Lion pub on the corner of Market Place is unrecognisable as a team of former servicemen, trades people and their families has relaunched the venue as The Kingsmen. Serving up a fresh, modern menu of street food (now also available on Just Eat) The Kingsmen has retained it’s gastropub feel with an upmarket food offering that people can’t get enough of.
The next business to open it’s doors on Prescot’s high street is Urbano Chiringuito, a Balearic bar and charcuterie. Owners Claire Wilson and Peter Stewart hail from just down the road in Huyton and influenced by their trips to Ibiza, have transformed the Old Wool Shop into a modern bar and eatery. Claire said: “We want people to come in and feel like it’s a bit of an escape.
“Prescot is going to be bustling. Hopefully there will be all tables and chairs along Ecclestone Street, a bit more cosmopolitan than what are used to around here. That’s what we’re aiming for.”
Showing their commitment to their local roots, Claire and Peter held a public consultation on the signage for the bar. The Old Wool Shop has long been a fixture on the Prescot High Street and after much deliberation, the decision to retain original features as opposed to the sign, won.
Prescot is expected to welcome an additional 100,00 visitors annually when the Shakespeare North Playhouse opens in 2020, and with a busy registry office, thriving football club, and now a rejuvenated high street, it’s time for this town to take centre stage.