The Prescotian Webzine

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Local Government and Principal Features
 
PRESCOT occupies an important position on the main east lo west route through industrial Lancashire to the coast. The road from St. Helens (5 miles) to Liverpool (7i miles) passes through the town, as does the route A57 from Warrington (111 miles). London is 197 miles away. The town stands on high ground and from many parts of i! there are extensive views of the surrounding countryside.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT. Under the provisions of the Public Health Act, 1848, the Local Board for the District of Prescot was constituted in 1867, This body became the Prescot Urban District Council, under the provisions of the Local Government Act. 1894. on January 1st, 1H95. By an Order of the Lancashire County Council, the Urban District was extended in 1914 and again in 1932, under the Prescot Urban District Extension Order, to include parts of Eccleston, on the north-east boundary. Knowsley to the north-west and Whiston to the south-east. There are five wards—north, south, east, west and central, each electing three members of the council. The town has grown steadily since the commencement of the century, as shown by the following census figures: —1901, 7855: 1911, 8154; 1921, 9044; 1913, 9396: 1951, 12473. The present population is 12,900, which is distributed as follows; —

Ward Est. No. of
Houses
Population Electors
North 756 2,130 1,518
South 1,302  4,643 2,968
Central 674   1,816   1,354
East 857  2,600  1,861
East 562 1,651 1,269

the rateable value of the district has increased from 47.573 in 1932, to 165,611 in 1961, and the net product of a penny rate has grown from 1N5 in 1932, when the rate in the pound was ll/6d., to 700 in [961. when the rate was 23/2d. in the pound.

The Petty Sessions Courts meet daily at the Court House. Derby Street. The Divisional Education Executive of the Lancashire County Education Committee are housed at "Woodcroft." West Street; and the Employment Exchange is situated in Aspinal Street, Prescot.

HOUSING. Prescot, as all other parts of the country, suffers from a housing shortage, but the town has a commendable record in the provision of accommodation. Before the war the Council had acquired or erected, under the various Housing Acts, 482 houses. Since 1945 the council have erected upwards of 1,200 further houses and flats, including fifty-six old people's flats, and eight shops, whilst facilities; have been provided for churches, schools, and playing fields. The problem of slum clearance has been approached with vigour and the programme for clearing the slums should be completed in 1961. The redevelopment of cleared sites is represented by the erection of 4-storey maisonettes in Ackers Street, and maisonette development on clearance sites in Market Place and Derby Street.

CARE OF THE AGED. The needs and comforts of the aged and infirm are lo the forefront, and the local authorities, charities and voluntary organisations have contributed to meeting these needs.

The Prescot Urban District Council have erected 28 aged persons' flats in Saunders Avenue and a similar number in Grosvenor Road. The Trustees of the Oliver Lyme Charity have erected bungalows with communal facilities in St. James Road, and the Lancashire County Council are now erecting a hostel for the aged and infirm in Park Road.

The Urban Council sponsored the erection of a Pensioners' Hall in Eaton Street and now maintain the premises, and have leased it to an active Pensioners' Association. The Hall is equipped with canteen facilities, committee room and stage, and the association meets daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Billiards and other recreations arc provided for. and the association from time to time organises social and outdoor activities.

The Old People's Welfare Committee co-ordinates the activities and assistance of statutory and voluntary bodies, while the W.V.S. provides a 'Meals on Wheels' service.

PUBLIC LIBRARY. The Prescot Branch of the Lancashire County Library, opened on February 12th. l932, in Derby Street, was at first staffed by voluntary workers. The service rapidly expanded and a full-time librarian was appointed in May. 1933. In 1938 the library was moved, as a temporary measure, to rooms in a Methodist chapel in Kemble Street. The construction of a new building on a site in High Street was completed in 1961. The new premises provide an efficient and modern library service.

A new Children's Library was opened at Prescot in May, 1951, and a new library has also been opened at Rainhill. The Prescot Library, however, still serves the Whiston area where books are issued at a school on Friday evenings.

Library hours: Adult Library from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2.30 to 7 p.m. on Monday. Wednesday and Friday, from 10 p.m. to I p.m. and 2.30 to fi p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Children's Library from 10 a.m. to noon and 4 lo 6 p.m.. Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

The library offers to its users all the facilities of the County Library system, catering for students' requirements, and for such groups as the W.E.A.. Dramatic Societies and Music Societies, and welcomes readers from other library systems. The present Branch Librarian is Miss Hilda Rostock, A.L.A.

EDUCATION. Prescot has been an educational centre for at least 400 years, for its Grammar School was founded in I544 by Gilbert Lathum. Archdeacon of Man. Though there may have been a school prior to that, research has failed to throw any clear light on the subject. When the school was about fifty years old, it was threatened with removal from Prescot to the top of Eccleston Hill, but the efforts of King's College, Cambridge, and Henry, Earl of Derby, in 1592, managed to keep it in the town. Nevertheless, in the 17th century, a keen struggle went on, for the Ecclestonians were determined to get hold of some, if not all. of the endowments, and they eventually succeeded in annexing 300 of the school's capital and building their own school. However, competition did not kill the older school, which, in 1759, moved to more commodious premises in High Street. Prescot, where a site had been given by one Basil Eccleston, a descendant of the same Ecclestons who had attempted previously to remove the school.

From then until 1924 the school carried on in the building in High Street. It had its ups and downs, corresponding in some measure to the fluctuations in the watch trade of the town, but one of the most interesting periods was when two schools, a Grammar School and an Elementary School, were run side by side in the same building. This state of affairs lasted until 1911, and after that the Grammar School as such grew very rapidly and by 1914 it was ready to be moved to a modern building, but war interfered. Meanwhile, the school grew still further and just after the last war had to he housed in five different premises. The school has flourished and expanded in its new home, containing in 1950 approximately 500 pupils, many more than it was intended to hold. The school is housed in buildings of wooden construction. The Lancashire Education Committee have included in their proposals to the Ministry of Education for the inclusion in the 1962/3 Major Building Programme, new premises for one-form entry as an instalment of a four-form entry Grammar School. As part of the celebrations of the fourth centenary in 1944, and with the generous assistance of British Insulated Calender's Cables Ltd., a large sum was raised to endow leaving scholarships to the Universities. The school has excellent playing fields and recent football teams have made names for themselves in the local inter-schools competitions.

The Prescot Girls' Grammar School was opened in 1956 in Knowsley Park Lane.

Other schools in the town are:—Council School (primary hoys and girls) Maryville Road and Warringlon Road: C of E School (primary boys and girls): R,C. School, St. Helens Road; and St. Luke's R.C. School. Shaw Lane. The town is served by the Whiston Modern School. The C. F. Mott Training College for women teachers, established by the Liverpool Education Committee at the "Hazels". Prescot, covers eighty-three acres.

PUBLIC SERVICES. The industrial development of the town has been greatly facilitated by efficient public services. Water is supplied by Liverpool Corporation from Vyrnwy and Rivington Lakes, and is adequate for both industrial and domestic needs. The administrative authority for electricity is the Merseyside & North Wales Electricity Board. Gas is supplied by the North Western Gas Board.

Prescot possesses adequate shopping facilities, the main shopping centre being in Eccleston Street, High Street and St. Helens Road, and is well served by and convenient for all transport services.


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