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St Mary's Church, Prescot.jpg
St Mary's Church, Prescot
Prescot is located in Merseyside
Location within Merseyside
Population11,184 (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceSJ4692
Civil parish
  • Prescot
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townPRESCOT
Postcode districtL34/L35
Dialling code0151
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
53°25′43″N 02°48′23″W / 53.42861°N 2.80639°W / 53.42861; -2.80639Coordinates: 53°25′43″N 02°48′23″W / 53.42861°N 2.80639°W / 53.42861; -2.80639

Prescot is a town and civil parish within the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in Merseyside, England. Within the boundaries of the historic county of Lancashire, it lies about eight miles (13 km) to the east of Liverpool city centre. At the 2001 Census, the civil parish population was 11,184 (5,265 males, 5,919 females).[1] The population of the larger Prescot East and West wards at the 2011 census totalled 14,139.[2][3] Prescot marks the beginning of the A58 road which runs through to Wetherby, near Leeds in West Yorkshire. The town is served by Prescot railway station and Eccleston Park railway station in neighbouring Eccleston.


Prescot's name is believed to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon prēost "priest" + cot "cot", meaning a cottage or small house owned or inhabited by a priest, a "priest-cottage". (ME prest, preste, priest, OE prēost, LL presbyter, Gk πρεσβύτερος presbýteros "elder, priest").[4]

In the 14th century, William Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre, obtained a charter for the holding of a three-day market and moveable fair at Prescot, to begin on the Wednesday following Corpus Christi.[5]

In 1593, the English political philosopher Gerrard Winstanley's parents, Edward and Isabell Winstanley, originally from Wigan, were married in Prescot.

From the mid-1590s to 1609, Prescot was home to the Prescot Playhouse, a purpose-built Shakespearean theatre, probably located on Eccleston Street.[6] In the sixteenth century it was a small town of about 400 inhabitants, and not much bigger by the late seventeenth century.[7]

During the 18th and 19th centuries it was at the centre of the watch and clock making industry. This ended with the failure of the Lancashire Watch Company in 1910. In later years the BICC company was the primary industrial employer in the town. BICC ceased operations in Prescot in the early 1990s before the site was demolished and later cleared. The land remained desolate until the year 2000 when it was then regenerated into what is now known as Cables Retail Park, the name of which is a reference to the BICC and the history of the site on which it was built.[8]


Prescot has historically lain within the historic county of Lancashire. The town was contained in the Prescot Urban District in the administrative county of Lancashire from 1894. When the administrative counties were abolished in 1974 the district became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in the metropolitan county of Merseyside. It is currently served by Prescot Town Council.


The centre of Prescot has seven churches. Dominating the skyline is the 17th-century Prescot Parish Church of St Mary's is the only Grade I listed building in the borough of Knowsley. Tucked away behind St Mary's is the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Joseph designed by Joseph Aloysius Hansom inventor of the Hansom Cab. Prescot Methodist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009, but the building has since been converted into apartments. The congregation continues to exist, however, meeting in the adjacent church hall, known as Prescot Methodist Centre which has now been converted into a church. Also in the town are a Salvation Army church, an Elim Pentecostal church (Prescot Community Church), a Plymouth Brethren Gospel Hall and the Zion Independent Methodist Church. Outside the centre, in the Portico area of the town is the Catholic Our Lady Help of Christians Church.

Places of worship shut down or moved over the past 20 years include the United Reformed church, the Kingdom Hall (Jehovah's Witnesses) and an independent charismatic church called simply Prescot Christian Fellowship.

Tourism, leisure and places of interest[edit]

Prescot Museum houses a permanent exhibition about the history of clock- and watch-making in the town, and several temporary exhibitions per year. The Georgian building is now also home to Knowsley Council's Arts and Events Service.

On the edge of the town is the famous estate of Lord Derby, which includes Knowsley Safari Park.

In recent years, a number of cultural and arts events have been established in the town, including the annual 10-day Prescot Festival of Music and the Arts and an annual Elizabethan Fayre.

The Shakespeare North Trust promotes William Shakespeare's historic connection with the town, a subject being researched at Liverpool's John Moores University. Inspired by the historic Prescot Playhouse, the Trust has built the Shakespeare North complex in Prescot, including a Shakespearean playhouse and an educational centre.[9] In April 2016, Knowsley Council granted planning permission for the new playhouse.[10] Construction work on the new The Shakespeare North Playhouse was completed in late 2022.

Stone Street,(53°25′45″N 2°48′17″W / 53.42917°N 2.80472°W / 53.42917; -2.80472) running between High Street and Eccleston Street, is just 26 inches wide at its southern end and is one of the narrowest streets in Britain.


The area's local football team Prescot Cables currently play in the Northern Premier League Division One at Valerie Park. Prescot & Odyssey Cricket Club is located near Knowsley Safari Park.

Historic estates[edit]

The estate of Parr[11] was within the ancient ecclesiastical parish of Prescot in modern-day Parr, St Helens. This was the original seat of the Parr family, of which Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of King Henry VIII, was a member.

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 2001 Census: Prescot, Office for National Statistics, archived from the original on 29 June 2011, retrieved 26 May 2008
  2. ^ "Prescot East Ward population 2011". Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Prescot West Ward population 2011". Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  4. ^ Prescot Origins and History, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, retrieved 29 December 2005
  5. ^ Edward Baines, William Robert Whatton, Brooke Herford, James Croston, The history of the county palatine and duchy of Lancaster, vol. 5 (J. Heywood, 1893), p. 2
  6. ^ Graham, Elspeth; Tyler, Rosemary (2011). ""So Unbridled & Badde an Handfull of England": The Social and Cultural Ecology of the Elizabethan Playhouse in Prescot". In Benbough-Jackson, Mike; Davies, Sam (eds.). Merseyside: Culture and Place. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 109–139. ISBN 1-4438-2964-1.
  7. ^ Steel, Thomas (2002). Prescot Churchwardens' Accounts. Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire. pp. xii. ISBN 0 902593 48 X.
  8. ^ BICC was Prescot, Prescot was BICC, archived from the original on 21 July 2006, retrieved 9 June 2006
  9. ^ a b c Paton, Maureen (26 March 2007), "Shakespeare's Globe goes North", The Daily Telegraph, London, retrieved 26 April 2016
  10. ^ Snow, Georgia (22 April 2016). "£19m Merseyside Shakespeare theatre gets green light". The Stage. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  11. ^ G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, n.s., Vol.IX, p. 669
  12. ^ biographic detail at
  13. ^ Crockfords Clerical Directory for 1931 OUP (1931) p1059

External links[edit]