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St Helens & Prescot Edition

Feb/Mar 2014

Photo by David Sudworth

All Aboard! – At The Transport Museum

Past Times Of Prescot’s Watch Makers Jack’s Tracks Visits Garswood

Local. Valued. Trusted.

Times Are A-Changin’

In this issue

Anyone keeping abreast of current affairs knows that hot topics tend to be cyclical. Immigration is one matter which has ebbed and flowed in the court of public discourse over the years. This month, we touch on the issue slightly in our look at Prescot’s proud heritage of watch making, an industry which is said to have been introduced to the area by French immigrants fleeing persecution.

5 16 24 26 28 30 32 36 40 42

Whatever your view on immigration, it’s hard to argue that this particular industry didn’t have a positive effect on the area at the time, bringing jobs and prosperity, not to mention a rich legacy. Another matter that gets raised regularly is public transport, which again has a long and proud heritage in this area. To get a good snapshot of this, we headed down to the fascinating North West Museum of Road Transport in St Helens. As I ambled around the fine buses on display, I swear I heard Reg Varney’s lecherous cackling in the distance. Both articles were interesting to research as they show how things have changed over the years. Immigration has continued, bringing different skills and opportunities, as well as concerns. Public transport is now a lot greener than it used to be, but is it more punctual? Answers on a postcard please… Celebrating the past is important and indeed enjoyable, but we shouldn’t fall into the trap of living in it. Even what is now ‘the past’ was deemed as ‘progress’ at one time. It’s up to us as individuals to strive forward and make our own legacy. Who knows, maybe one day people will look back at us and our innovations with the same degrees of misty-eyed affection?

Class From The Past – St Matthew’s Past Times – Prescot’s Watch Makers Recipe – Syrup, Fruit & Nut Cookies Planning Ahead North West Museum Of Transport Puzzle Page Jack’s Tracks Test Drive Home Services Useful Numbers Next issue - March

Advertising deadline - Friday 14 February Published - Thursday 6 March Publisher: Local Life 247 Ltd, Unit 8, Hewitt Business Park, Winstanley Road, Orrell, Wigan WN5 7XB T 01744 649 722

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Editorial: David Sudworth Sales: Julie Carroll Design & Production: Peter Bretherton Accounts & Distribution: Sally Boon

Local Life is published every month. The magazine will be distributed into the following edition areas on an alternate monthly basis. The St Helens and Prescot edition is delivered to over 12,500 private homes and businesses in Rainhill, Eccleston, Prescot, Eccleston Park, Windle, Prescot Road and parts of Nutgrove and Sutton Heath. Copies are also available to pick up free from Tesco Extra Stores in Peasley Cross and Prescot. The St Helens and Ashton edition is delivered to over 12,500 private home and businesses in Rainford, Billinge, Newton-le-Willows, Garswood, Crank, Kings Moss and parts of Ashton and Moss Bank. Copies are also available to pick up free from Tesco Stores in Haydock and Earlestown. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher or its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or other cause. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced without the prior written consent of Local Life 247 Ltd.

Local Life Media



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Entrants are being sought for the St Helens 10k Run which takes place on Sunday, March 9. Starting and finishing at Saints’ stadium, Langtree Park, on McManus Drive, it covers 6.21miles and starts at 9.30am.

Cheeky comedy Calendar Girls, directed by John Duffy, is Rainhill Garrick Society’s latest production. It charts the story of a Women’s Institute whose members strip off to raise money for a cancer charity. They were prompted by the death of John Baker, who was married to one of the WI group members, Angela (Miss February).

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Give Blood They’re out for your blood again! The NHS Blood and Transplant team is encouraging local folk to attend a blood donation session at Rainhill Village Hall, at Dane Court, on Tuesday, February 18. There will be two sessions, from 1.30pm-3pm and from 4.30pm-7pm, and all are welcome. To book an appointment, visit or call 0300 1232323.

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Performances are on Thursday, February 13, Friday February 14 and Saturday, February 15, at Rainhill Village Hall, on Dane Court. Doors open at 7pm and the curtain goes up at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 for adults and £5 for concessions. Call 01744 813429 to book or pay on the door. All proceeds will go to a cancer charity.

First Class! Want to treat the kiddies to an afternoon of fun? Then here’s a date for your diaries – Postman Pat will be at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park soon. The TV favourite, along with his cat Jess, will be at the Longview Drive venue in Huyton on Sunday, March 9. There will be two performances, at 1pm and 3.30pm. Tickets are £12 (adults), £10 (children) and £40 (family). They can be purchased on 0151 443 220 or 0844 5610622.

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Class from the Past - St Matthew’s Primary School, Thatto Heath

This picture was kindly sent in by Local Life reader Brian Renshall, who appears on this class photo from 1947 of the old St Matthew’s Primary School in Thatto Health.

Middle row from left: Margaret Stokes, Pauline Asson, Maureen Reid, Marlene Robison, Eunice Roberts and Joan Barker.

Brian writes: “The teacher is Miss Painter and the class was unusual in that it had two sets of non-identical twins. The school has since been demolished.”

Front row from left: Sammy Owen, George Hesketh, Freddie Roberts, Terry Tabern, Roy and Ronnie Sumner, Bernard Eccleston and Arthur Johnson.

Pictured back row from left are: Geoff Lake, Peter Smith, Brian Renshall, Barbara Lowe, Irene and Gwen Thompson and Trevor Jones.

If you have a class photograph you’d like to share please email with as much information as possible.

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Different Strokes Brush up on your artistic skills each Thursday morning at Jim Macklin Art Club. Held from 10am-noon at Prescot Church on Church Street, the sessions focus on watercolour painting and sketching. New members would be made most welcome. Call Janet on 0151 420 3415 for further details.


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Model Railway 2014 Rainhill Model Railway Club will be holding its Model Railway 2014 exhibition on Saturday, March 1, and Sunday, March 2, at Rainhill Village Hall, on Dane Court. Now in its 15th year, there will be layouts in all the popular scales, trade support, club shop, demonstrations and refreshments service. Organisers hope to have a free vintage bus service running on both days courtesy of The North West Museum of Road Transport, on Hall Street, St Helens, between the exhibition and the museum as an added attraction. Entry to the museum is not included and tickets can be purchased on the door. The exhibition opens 10am-5pm on Saturday and 10am4.30pm on Sunday. Admission prices TALOGUE CA(adults), 11£4 20are £3.50 (children/concessions) and £11 (family). 9




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Fuel for Thought

Free Activities

Householders from across St Helens and Knowsley are invited to join the area’s Collective Switch to see how much they could save on their energy bills. The Switch Together, Save Together scheme is organised by local charity Energy Projects Plus together with local councils. It aims to reduce people’s energy bills by using collective buying power to negotiate cheaper tariffs from energy suppliers. It’s free to join and householders will be able to see how much they would save before they decide if they want to switch suppliers. There is no obligation to switch.

Are you an aged 60-plus man who wants to exercise while making new friends? Free bowling, ‘new age’ curling, archery and darts are available at the Venue Leaf Centre on Chester Lane, St Helens, each Wednesday throughout February and possibly beyond.

Householders can join the collective switch by registering online at or by calling the local Save Energy Advice Line on freephone 0800 043 0151, where residents can also get free and impartial help and advice about saving energy at home. The registration period runs until Monday, March 10.

Wedding Fayre Sunday 23rd February 2014 12pm - 4pm

Events take place between 11am-1pm. For more information, contact Michaylo on 01744 675402 or

Rounders League The St Helens Rounders League is inviting new teams for 2014. Those aged 13-plus are invited to take part. Sessions will run from the end of April to the beginning of September. To register your interest, contact 01744 753798.

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Get In Touch!

Gang Show

Are you in a local community group? Do you want to publicise a talk, school fair or charity fundraiser? If so, get in touch with us today!

This year’s St Helens Scout Guide Gang Show takes place at the Theatre Royal, on Corporation Street, on Thursday, March 27, Friday, March 28 and Saturday, March 29. The annual variety show starts at 7.15pm and is suitable for all the family with singing, dancing and sketches.

Local Life is distributed to thousands of homes across Wigan, St Helens, Chorley and West Lancashire. Each edition is crammed with stories for local events, and your group could be appearing in our next edition. Not only that, we can also tweet about your event to our 1,600+ followers on Twitter! So how do you go about it? Simply contact our Temporary Editor David Sudworth (pictured) with the details of the event - what, where, when, why, who for, how much - and anything else you want to tell our readers. The earlier you can provide the information, the better the job we can do. David said: “Every month, we give community groups and organisations publicity in our magazines. Our readers enjoy keeping an eye out for local events so if you want to draw a crowd to your club or group’s latest gathering, you need to be in Local Life.” So don’t delay – contact David today by calling 01744 649722 or emailing him directly at editorial@

There are set to be over 110 cast members with ages ranging from six upwards from Beavers, Brownies, Cubs, Scouts, Guides and Leaders. For more details and tickets, contact Jennifer Tickle on 07742 383176.

Family History Help St Helens Townships Family History Society is hosting two talks in the next few weeks. On Thursday, February 20, Tom Preston will give a presentation on Parr Township’s Papers. And on Thursday, March 20, Gerard Halliday gives a talk on the Chapel at Whiston Workhouse. Both of these are held at St Helens Central Library, Victoria Square, at 6.45pm for a 7pm start. In addition, the group holds weekly workshops at the library each Tuesday between 3.45pm-6.45pm. All welcome and members will help you get started on your family history.

Rainhill Garrick Society presents...

Calendar Girls by Tim Firth

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TV Times ‘Memories of Early Television’ will be the featured talk Eccleston 89 Society’s meeting on Thursday, March 13. It takes place at the Lester Drive Community Centre in Eccleston at 7.45pm for 8pm. The 89 Society has been entertaining and enlightening members for more than 20 years with varied programmes of historical subjects, travelogues, music and the arts… and contrary to the name you don’t need to be 89 to join! For more information, call 01744 26813.

On The Cards Will you play your cards right with St Helens Bridge Club? Bridge evenings are held on Mondays at St Teresa’s Club, opposite the church, in Devon Street, St Helens town centre, and on Fridays at Lester Drive

Community Centre in Eccleston. Both start at 7.15pm and all are welcome. For more information, contact Bill Hogan on 01744 636527. If, however, you are a beginner you are invited to Lester Drive Community Centre on Wednesdays at 9.30am. Contact Derek Wilson on 01744 429388.

NCT Sale Expectant mums and parents in St Helens can find all the top quality baby clothes, toys and equipment they need at an upcoming National Childbirth Trust (NCT) Nearly New Sale. The local branch is holding an event on Saturday, April 26, from 11.30am-1pm at St David’s Church, Eskdale Avenue, Carr Mill. All welcome. If you are interested in selling at the Nearly New Sale, you can register by contacting Sarah on or call 0844 2436325.

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Calling all families – if you are looking for something to do, why not head down to Prescot Museum? Artist-led workshops are held on the first Saturday of every month at the Aspinall Street venue. The drop-in sessions are free and there’s no need to book. Under 8s must be accompanied by an adult.

St Helens Council has pointed to research which claims over £6 billion of food is thrown away each year, while the amount of ready-made bought sandwiches tops £6.5 billion. Cllr Seve Gomez Aspron, Cabinet Member for Environment and Neighbourhoods, said: “You don’t need any special tools for free-lunching, just a few washed-out plastic tubs and a creative streak. Often left over fresh food can be a really healthy option and saves you money as well.” For more information, visit http://england.

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Coffey Time Prescot Historic Society members will be given a talk on ‘Railways Around Prescot’ by St Helens Star columnist Chris Coffey at their next meeting on Thursday, February 27. It takes place in the Parish Church Hall, Church Street, Prescot, at 7.30pm. Cost is £1.50 for nonmembers, while annual membership is £10.

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Winter Packs St Helens Council and Age UK will be distributing more than 5,000 ‘Winter Survival Packs’ across the area over the next few weeks. The aim is to help vulnerable residents keep warm and well during the winter months. The packs contain a calendar, emergency blanket, thermal mug, torch and more. The packs are free - and available to all those in need by calling the St Helens Cold Weather Advice Line on Freephone 08000 355 878.


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• Friday, February 21 - Eccleston Library, Broadway

Celebration Time To celebrate National Libraries Day, staff at Rainhill Library are holding a storytelling session on Thursday, February 13, from 3.30pm-4.30pm. For more information call the View Road facility on 01744 677822.




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All Aboard! David Sudworth gets a ticket to ride to the St Helens-based North West Museum of Road Transport

When Geoff Sandford wrote a letter to his local newspaper in 1968, little did he know how it would help shape the next 46 years of his life. A former St Helens firefighter and Rainford/Billinge beat bobby, Geoff has always been fascinated with trolley buses. Around 10 years earlier, the old buses had been taken out of service in St Helens with many of them sent to Bradford for active service. Geoff was keen to see whether others shared his enthusiasm so he wrote to the paper asking for like-minded people to get in touch. They did and soon afterwards the St Helens Trolleybus and Transport Society was born. To Geoff, who now lives in Orrell, Wigan, it was the start of a journey which continues to this day in the shape of the North West Museum of Road Transport. Based at the old St Helens Corporation bus and transport depot in Hall Street, which dates back to 1899, it houses an impressive array of vintage vehicles which all have an interesting and varied history. Showing me around the various exhibits, it is clear Geoff, 67, is still as passionate today as he was back in 1968: “It’s been a huge part of my life. I grew up in Spray Street and on Saturday afternoons I’d spend some of my pocket money riding on the trolley buses. They were noisy, dirty and not so environmentally friendly but to me there was something magical about them. “I’d always had an interest in transport though. My dad was a Cockney so to see their trolley bus system was something else. Everything there seemed so much bigger and it was just amazing.” Around 1971, the group bought one of the original St Helens trolley buses back from Bradford Council for £180 (around £2,000 in today’s prices) and set about restoring it. But the lack of a permanent home proved a difficulty for the fledgling group until 1986 when they persuaded St Helens Council to allow them to use the


old transport depot, which had closed two years earlier. By this time, the society had joined forces with others in the area to create the North West Transport Museum Society which was eventually incorporated as the North West Museum of Transport Limited. The vehicles were moved to St Helens in the spring of 1986, and the museum opened to the public on a regular basis for the first time in 1991. As the name suggests, the museum houses more than just buses, but also Fire Brigade vehicles, Morris Minors and even a vintage ice cream cart. However, Geoff explained the museum now needs new blood to ensure it continues going from strength to strength in the future: “It costs us around £30,000 a year to keep the museum open. We have private owners who pay us rent to have their buses on display here, and we have school visits, so we are just about covering the costs. However, we noticed the amount of school visits dipped last year so we’d like to get that back up. “We need new members and volunteers who can actively help us ensure we continue offering a good facility for the people of the area.”

The ‘Love’ Bus! Most modern-day superstars wouldn’t be seen dead on public transport – but David Thrower’s 1950 London bus played host to music and film royalty in the 1960s. The Beatles boarded it while filming A Hard Day’s Night at Twickenham Film Studios in 1964. It was also used in the hit 1967 film To Sir, With Love starring Sidney Poitier. It is now housed at the museum in St Helens.

The museum is open at weekends from noon to 4pm but it can also open by arrangement on weekdays for school parties, local community groups, cubs, brownies, beavers and guides/scouts for private visits. Anyone interested should contact Geoff on the details below.

David told Local Life: “When it was taken out of service in 1962, it was bought by a judge’s son who lived near Twickenham Film Studios so they used it in some of the movies they were making at the time. Unfortunately, the scene from A Hard Day’s Night ended up on the cutting room floor. “I bought it in 1987 and have been working on it over the years to restore it.”

The next themed event is on Sunday, March 16, when the museum holds a Heritage Bus Day between 10am4pm where visitors can sample free rides on several classic buses. On Saturday, April 19, there is an Easter Egg Hunt from noon-4pm. Entry is £3.50 for adults, concessions £3, children £2.50 and a family ticket for is £10. Children under 5 go free. For more information, visit, call 01744 451681 or email


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Crafty Idea Do you enjoy painting, drawing or general crafts? St James Art Group meets every Tuesday at 7pm in St James Church hall, St James Road, Rainhill. For more information contact Peter Roberts on 0151 923 1161 or 07807 355604.

Canal Talks

And on Thursday, April 24, there’s a talk on ‘The Eastern Manchester Ship Canal on Victorian Glass Slides’ by Glen Atkinson, also at the Friends’ Meeting House. All talks begin at 7.30pm. For more information, contact secretary Peter Keen on 01744 884000 or email

Sinfonietta Event

The Sankey Canal Restoration Society’s latest programme of talks has been announced. On Thursday, February 27, Graham Dodd gives a presentation on the Shropshire Union Canal at St Patrick’s Parish Centre, Marian Avenue, off Common Road, Earlestown.

An afternoon talk and recital – The Horn with Cliff Jones – takes place on Thursday, February 20, at 2pm in the United Reformed Church, King Street, St Helens. The performance is part of St Helens Sinfonietta’s programme for 2014. Entry is £6 on the door, £5 for ‘Friends’ and £3 for under 16s. All welcome.

The Eddie Stobart Story by Sheila Dale is the talk scheduled for Thursday, March 27, at the Friends’ Meeting House, Church Road, in St Helens town centre.

To join the Friends of St Helens Sinfonietta, or to become a patron, contact Colin Horlick on 01744 883794 or email

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Volunteer Drive A group set up to save Whiston Library from closure is looking for community support. Our Whiston Library (OWL) is set to take over the running of the library as of this April with the support of Hugh Baird College in Bootle. A public meeting was held last month and now the drive for volunteers has started. Campaign coordinator David Kernick said: “We need not only ideas from local people, but their support as volunteers too. We want to keep all the traditional elements of a public library, but we want to think outside the box, too. For instance, do people want want a café, DVD rentals, a youth drop-in or space for performances and social gatherings? “If you have experience and skills in IT, public relations, business planning, fundraising or management, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll need people of all ages and with all kinds of abilities for this project.” For further details, contact David on 07835 090 752.

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Scheme Extended Libraries in St Helens are to extend their ‘food for fines’ scheme after bosses claimed income actually increased during a trial period. In November and December, library users whose books were overdue were able to ‘pay’ their fines with food donations for the St Helens Food Bank. The council’s library team knocked £1 off every fine for each item donated. But the scheme generated so much interest that many library users visited their local branches to pay off fines with cash, and make food donations as well. Now the scheme is to be extended for a few more months. For more information go to www.sthelens.foodbank.

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tel: 01942 274844 21

Reclaim Your Being able to look out at your garden on a Sunday morning whilst you relax with the papers and a cup of tea is one of life’s pleasures, but at this time of year, your conservatory lets you down by hosting temperatures more suitable for penguins than us human beings! We all bought into the home improvement revolution, seeing a conservatory as a costeffective way of adding space and value to a home. Sadly though, research shows that in the UK, a conservatory is unlikely to provide more than two hours of comfortable temperatures per day, which usually happen when we’re all out at work. Conservatories overheat in summer and they resemble a see-through fridge in winter. Our hard-earned cash has been invested into conservatories which, for many of us, have become, quite literally, white elephants. But now, with the help of long-established local company Freedom Conservatory Roof Conversions, you can re-claim your dream conservatory and the sunshine lifestyle to go with it. With their innovative celling modifications, they can make your conservatory up to 95% warmer in winter and up to 75% cooler in summer. Not only that, but you’ll even save money on those ever-rising energy bills!


The conversion work transforms the internal appearance of your after conservatory roof and you’ll be left with a clean, crisp new plastered and painted ceiling with modern spot lighting inside instead of an ugly plastic roof. Customers can even opt to have a slated roof built on top of their old roof, so that the external view of the conservatory is transformed too! The owner of Freedom Conservatory Roof Conversions, Paul Stubbs, says “The conversion process takes around five days and there will be minimal disruption to your home. In addition to the roof conversion, there are all sorts of extra options available; we can convert your conservatory into a cinema room, or even an

Well done Freedom for the best idea I have seen since double glazing! I now have a 7 metre lounge with Freedom doing a full makeover and that new ceiling looks amazing in the conservatory, especially with the new lighting system that was fitted. Thanks - Mr Dale from Winstanley 22


No Permiss Planning ion Requ ired Buildin g Approve Regulation d Constr uction

10 Year insurance-backed guarantee extra bedroom. We will manage the process from start to finish, using skilled tradesmen to ensure that you’re absolutely delighted with the results”. So when you’re writing out your New Year’s resolutions, make sure the pledge at the very top of the list is to convert your conservatory roof in 2014, so that you can get use of your conservatory 365 days a year. For more details of the conversion process, call Freedom Conservatory Roof Solutions on 01942 465000 or call Paul’s mobile 07761 966 024.

Alternatively, you can view Freedom’s conversion work at the Hot Tub Outlet, at Unit 1 - JGB Investment Park, Stephens Way, Goose Green, Wigan WN3 6PG.

no deposit required prior to completion of work

Showroom: Hot Tub Outlet, Unit 1 - JGB Investment Park, Stephens Way, Goose Green, Wigan, WN3 6PG

Call 01942 465 000 | 07761 966 024


Recipe of the month

Syrup, fruit and nut cookies Ingredients • 340g self raising flour • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda • 200g soft margarine • 200g Demerara sugar • 200g golden syrup • 50g sultanas • 50g chopped nuts • 50g chopped cherries

Equipment Flat tray covered with baking parchment

Oven Gas Mark 4-5, 190c

Method Place margarine, syrup and sugar in a bowl and mix together. Pour in the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly to form a dough Place the dough in the fridge for an hour, for best results place in fridge overnight. When cold divide into 20 balls and press them lightly onto the baking tray. Place in the oven for 10 to 15mins until golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack.


Events - 2014 Thursday 20th February 2pm

Talk/Recital United Reformed Church, King Street – £6

The Horn Cliff Jones

Saturday 8th March 7.30pm

Concert United Reformed Church, King Street – £12

Airs & Graces

St Helens Sinfonietta

Leader Celia Hebbron Conductor Alan Free Peter Kwater (Organ) Music by Rossini, Handel, Respighi, Dvořák and Suk

Saturday 17th May 7.30pm

Recital United Reformed Church, King Street – £10

Harp & Flute The Malandra Duo

Maxin Molin Rose (Harp) Debbie Adewale (Flute) Music by Debussy, Ravel, Bizet and Elgar


Thursday 5th June 2pm

Afternoon Recital United Reformed Church, King Street – £6


Peter Hill (Clarinet) Valerie Warr (Clarinet) Sandra Downing (Bassoon)

Saturday 29th March 8pm

Musical Evening Unison Social Club, Bishop Road – £7

Swingin’ That Music The Jazz Gentleman

Music in a Variety of Jazz Styles


Saturday 26th April 7.30pm

Recital United Reformed Church, King Street – £10

Six Strings The Irwell Sextet

Saturday 21st June 7.30pm Concert St Helens Town Hall – £12 Grand Charity Concert

A Night in Old Vienna St Helens Sinfonietta

Conductor Alan Free Music by Mozart, Schubert, and Johann Strauss. No telephone bookings for this performance – send cheque to address below* BOOK EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT

Music by Tchaikovsky and Brahms

Tickets and Booking Arrangements

To reserve tickets telephone the Ticket Secretary Lyn Wallace on 01744 600 846 or *send a cheque (payable to: St Helens Sinfonietta) and S.A.E to 61 Clarkes Crescent, St Helens WA10 5EA Tickets also available on the door - subject to availability


Planning Ahead Eccleston

Sutton Heath

Eccleston Hall, Prestbury Avenue: Substitution of UPVC window for timber framed (non opening) door at ground floor to match existing full height window at first floor level (application reference: P/2014/0048). The deadline for consultation responses is February 17.

M and D Transport, Burtonhead Road: Change of use from warehousing to commercial vehicle repair (application reference: P/2014/0036). The deadline for consultation responses is February 10.

Woodland between 32 and 48 Park Avenue: Works to assorted trees covered by a tree preservation order, and in particular, trees to the rear of 192-198 St Helens Road (application reference: P/2014/0053). The deadline for consultation responses is February 17. Land adjacent to 10 Burrows Lane: Construction of car park for four cars (application reference: P/2014/0037). The deadline for consultation responses is February 10. Valencia Barn, Valencia Grove: Conversion of barn into a residential dwelling with new window openings, demolition of existing attached cow shed replaced with single storey side extension, along with detached double garage and store (application reference: P/2014/0034). The deadline for consultation responses is February 17.

Rainhill 517 Warrington Road: Works to one beech, eucalyptus, silver birch, cherry, acer, and plum trees along with three cypress trees in a conservation area (application reference: P/2014/0039). The deadline for consultation responses is February 10. 16 Stapleton Avenue: Loft conversion incorporating hip to gable roof extension and dormer window to the rear (application reference: P/2014/0043).

Prescot Former Prysmian Cables, Hall Lane: Demolition of rod rolling mill and adjacent ancillary buildings (application reference: 14/00017/DEMCON). The deadline for consultation responses is February 10.

For more information on the Eccleston, Sutton Heath and Rainhill applications, visit For the Prescot application, visit

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Crying out Loud!

The Hear Here Project is holding a re-launch event at its new premises. The event is being held on Friday, March 7, from 10am-2.30pm at the Chain Lane Community Centre, Hinckley Road, Blackbrook. There will be a number of organisations with information stalls as well as details on the Hear Here project. All welcome.

Cemetery Friends Friends of Prescot Cemetery is looking for new members. The group organises regular clean-ups and works with Knowsley Council, the Church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin and other community organisations to improve the cemetery. Anyone interested in joining should call Jennifer on 0151 426 2767.



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Liverpool town crier Terry Stubbings will be giving an overview of his role to members of Rainhill Civic Society on Tuesday, February 4. He is addressing their monthly meeting which is held in St Ann’s Millennium Centre on View Road, starting at 7.30pm.

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Past Times…

David Sudworth discovers a French connection in Prescot’s horological past… It’s tempting to believe the debate about the pros and cons immigration is a relatively recent phenomenon. After all, most programmes on the subject tend to reference the 1960s as the starting point for this political hot potato. However, what is usually forgotten is that well before then, people of other countries have been coming to these shores and similar debates have raged at those times. Indeed, one such wave of immigration in the 1700s is believed to have handed Prescot its world-renowned reputation as a watch making centre of excellence. Granted, there aren’t many obvious signs of it today, apart perhaps from The Watch Maker pub on Eccleston Street, but in the 1700s-1800s, the town’s workmen were able to easily rival their Swiss counterparts when it came to producing timepieces of distinction. According to historians, watchmaking was introduced locally as a result of a mass migration of persecuted French Protestants known as Huguenots. The Huguenots are seen as Britain’s first asylum seekers, bringing their language with them, hence the term ‘refugee’ from the French word ‘refugie’. By and large, Huguenots tended to be artisans rather than land workers, so they brought a number of new skills and trades to the area. It’s said that watchmaking was introduced into Prescot by a Huguenot named Woolrich. Precise information on him is vague, but the skills brought by Woolrich and his fellow countrymen were easily picked up by the town’s blacksmiths. Soon, watches were being manufactured in people’s own homes rather than in large purpose built factories, and Prescot’s reputation grew. Crucially, the manufacturing quality was not only high, but local men found they could undercut pricier London and continental-made timepieces.


Working conditions were, by modern standards, primitive. According to archive information at Prescot Museum, most workshops were on the first floor with large windows to let in as much daylight as possible. Heating was usually sourced from a nearby open coal fire. Working hours were usually 6am-8pm and the only days off were Sundays. However, the pay of around £100 a week in today’s money was seen as good at the time. Apprentices were taken on between the ages of 11-13 and usually served for seven years. Prior to the 1850s, goods from Prescot were dominant in the UK market. However, new innovations from Switzerland and the United States were by now starting to have a serious impact on the viability of Prescot’s traders. By 1885, the majority of the independent workshops had closed. In an apparent last gasp attempt to save Prescot’s watchmaking industry, the Lancashire Watch Company was founded in 1889. This is said to have been one of

the first English factories to combine all the different manufacturing processes under one roof to make complete watches and clocks. The headquarters were in Albany Road, with a warehouse in the so-called ‘Flat Iron’ building on Eccleston Street. Among its more stringent rules were that only unmarried women could work there. If one of them did have the fortune (or perhaps misfortune!) to get married, she would be told to leave.

Lancashire Watch Company set itself apart by using equipment which didn’t require the same high level of technical skills to use them compared to the small, independent workshops. However, while the speed of technological advance raised eyebrows in Britain, the Americans and Swiss always seemed to be one step ahead. Without the ability to innovate fast enough, the company’s valiant efforts proved in vain. In January 1911, after 22 years and an estimated 400,000 watches produced, the Lancashire Watch Company closed. There were, however, smaller concerns which kept going. Some of the company’s machinery was snapped up by Mr A.J. Huckle who subsequently founded The Prescot Watch Company in the ‘Flat Iron’ building. However, they closed in 1912 but Harry Pybus, of Highfield Place-based Joseph Preston & Sons, soldiered on with traditional techniques until his death 62 years ago. Fast forward to 2014 and there are very few obvious indications of the fame once bestowed on the area because of the toils of men and women long since deceased. However, the information is readily available

Prescot Pioneer Prescot entrepreneur John Wycherley is widely regarded as one of the foremost watchmakers of his generation. Born in 1817, John Wycherley he was an apprentice at Hewitts watchmakers in Atherton Street. However, after some years in the industry, he began to grow frustrated at the lack of innovation locally so in 1866 he decided to open his own factory in Warrington Road. Spread over three floors, it was fitted out with state-of-the-art equipment and employed around 120 people. Wycherley was not universally popular in his hometown. Indeed it’s said many of his competitors – the same people who were steadfastly refusing to innovate and would as a consequence be eventually be out of business - were hoping his venture would fail. However, his success continued and he eventually formed a partnership with T.P. Hewitt, who he started out with as an apprentice years earlier. Wycherley was married three times. His second wife, Margery Range, was the widow of watchmaker Edmund Range and the daughter of Thomas Lloyd. They married at St Mary the Virgin Church in Prescot in 1851. Like many well-to-do men of the time, Wycherley moved to Southport, where he died in September 1891. He is buried in Prescot Churchyard. thanks in no small part to the excellent Prescot Museum on Aspinall Street. Also, there’s brisk business being done in Prescot’s past on internet auction giant eBay. Earlier this year, one piece by renowned Prescot watchmaker John Wycherley, who has a street named after him just off Warrington Road, was being offered with a £2,395 price tag. Perhaps those politicians of today who are seemingly locked into a never-ending debate about immigration can learn a thing or two from Prescot’s history. Back in the 1700s there were – just as there is today - genuine fears about ‘newcomers’. But if they bring valuable skills with them, then Prescot’s experience demonstrates how communities who welcome them can be rewarded with economic gains and a far-reaching social legacy. Photo of watch © Peter Bretherton. All other images kindly supplied by Prescot Museum.


Wordsearch Sudoku

Puzzle Corner


Guess where? Photo courtesy of Rainhill Library

Answers are on page 41 of this magazine

S p r i ngt i m e


Tulip Sunshine Blossom Lamb Butterfly Chick

Tadpole Showers Daffodil Bud Hatch Nest

Cleaning Umbrella Windy Bunny Puddles Snowdrops


Find all the words associated with ’Springtime’ in the grid and the remaining letters will spell out a related phrase.


T Suns Blos La

C Tadp Show Daff

H N Clea Umbr Wi Bu Pud Snowd

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Jack’s Tracks

Garswood At just over 5 ½ miles long and typical of the gentle undulating landscapes of South Lancashire, this makes for a lovely walk at any time of the year. Listen out for the contrast in noise on this walk; the peace and quiet of Skitters Wood is soon


superseded by the mighty never-ending rumble of motorway traffic, which in turn is followed by the absolute still of the glorious countryside, before that motorway traffic returns again at the tail end of the walk.

Woodedge -Downall Green Turn off Liverpool Road at the junction with Woodedge in Ashton and park up near the Scout Hut. Walk up Woodedge and once you are opposite number 25, turn right and take the path where the public footpath sign is. Go down the steps into Skitters Wood, turn left and then turn immediate left, walking away from the stream. Walk up a slight incline, you will come across a lovely pebble mosaic (made by local children in conjunction with the Friends of Ashton group); keep to the left when you pass this mosaic. The path forks a little way ahead, take the left hand fork and carry on down that path which runs pretty much parallel to the line of houses on Woodedge. Just when you come to the point when it looks like the pathway is coming out of the woods, it plunges downhill again. When you exit the woods, you’ll reach a little T junction in the path, turn left and head upward toward the motorway bridge.

Rectory Nurseries You might be forgiven for thinking that the Rectory Nurseries was indeed just a garden centre but owner and creator Kevin Duffy is a self-taught artist and has spent the last thirty five years building his own Tudor Village in a quiet corner of North Ashton. The Tudor Village is laid out as if part of a village square and the collection of around ten houses, clock towers, statues and his very own tea room create an unusual setting.

Once you’ve crossed the bridge, you’ll follow a path that runs parallel to the M6. That path will take you past about four houses, one dating back to the early 1600’s, and eventually you’ll go up a slight incline and arrive at a secluded lay-by called Skitters Grove. Bear left at this point and 80 yards later you’ll come to Low Bank Road. Turn right and walk for 150 yards. Just before you get to another motorway bridge, cross over Low Bank Road and take the opening to the right hand side of the seven bar metal gate. Downhill you go and then uphill too; following that path that runs parallel to the M6. It’s a bit muddy in parts down this path but you can hold on to the fence at the side and skirt round the edges of the mud without too much difficulty.

Also on site is a small chapel, with an alter constructed from old railway sleepers and kitchen cabinets. The chapel is well received by visitors who light candles and donate to the collection tin that Kevin then shares out between various charities. The work is for the most part a façade-based installation; very few of the structures have an interior. The facades are constructed using reclaimed interior doors and pretty much anything Kevin can get his hands on. Rectory Nurseries is situated on Rectory Road and is open between 9.30 - 4.00pm every day.

The path bears left and you’ll soon arrive at a footbridge which takes you over the Wigan to Liverpool railway line. Once you’re over the bridge, you’ll see Mill Farm straight ahead. Follow the path uphill that takes you to the left of the farm. Once you have reached the crest of the hill you will see straight ahead in the distance a


yellow public footpath sign. You’ll go through two gates in quick succession, and then head downhill keeping to the right hand perimeter of the field. At the bottom of that field there is a wooden gate, go through and follow the little path up to Downall Green Road.

Downall Green – Newton Road Once you reach the roadside, turn left, cross the bridge and then cross over the road heading for the corner shop on the corner of Rectory Road. Turn right up Rectory Road, and head up hill. 350 yards up the road you’ll come across a real curio of a place called Rectory Nurseries (see feature). Once you get to the top of Rectory Road, follow the road round to the left, you are now on Leyland Green Road. Follow that road for a full 750 yards right out into the countryside. Once you reach the T junction, turn right into Winstanley Road and you’ll see a foot path sign on the left 30 yards on. Carefully cross the road and take this footpath. Follow the right hand perimeter of a field, which subsequently opens up and becomes the bank of a small lake. Once you reach the edge of the field, cross over a very small wooden bridge and turn left at the yellow footpath sign. Follow the path around the left hand perimeter of the field for 350 yards, going uphill most of the way. You’ll come to a 4ft high stone pillar by two trees and a very visible national grid gas pipeline sign; at this point you need to turn left and head towards the black and white chevron road sign in the distance. You will come out on Newton Road.

Newton Road - Woodedge Turn right and follow this road for 400 yards, going past Rowan Cottage and Billinge Lane Farm, and take the next public footpath sign on your left. You will go through a modern metal gate and walk down a wide track; on the right you’ll see the outskirts of Billinge. Follow the track past a 3 storey stone house, stay to the left hand side and you’ll need to veer onto a field for 20 yards before you come back on to the footpath. Once you reach the farm track just ahead, turn left, and about 50 yards further on you will follow a right hand bend. Follow this straight path for 350 yards and when you reach the end of the path by a couple of gas pipeline notices, it splits into a staggered junction. Bear left at this point and go up a bit of a bump and you’ll find yourself on another field. Follow the left hand perimeter of that field going downhill all the way. Once you reach the bottom of the slope by the trees, the path splits; turn left at this point. You’ll cross a stream into another field; turn left again and walk up the left hand perimeter of a field parallel to the stream. After 250 yards, the stream and trees bend round to the left but you need to carry on uphill over the open field. As you’re walking up the hill, you’ll see Billinge Beacon with the masts behind it, and once you’ve reached the top, take a minute to take in the wonderful views around you. Walk down the hill for 500 yards or so and you’ll come to a six bar gate. Behind that gate is Garswood Road. Cross that road and go down Station


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History Road. Carry on for 700 yards down that road, which changes into Strange Road passing Garswood Station on the way, until you go under a railway bridge. Walk on a further 250 yards and you’ll arrive at T junction. Turn right and look out for a public footpath sign about 50 yards ahead on the left hand side. Cross the road carefully, go through the metal gate on the footpath and follow the footpath around the right hand perimeter of the field. Follow that path for 550 yards, go through the metal gate, and you are now on Liverpool Road. Turn left and walk up the hill towards the motorway bridge. Cross the bridge and walk a further 375 yards; turn left into Woodedge and you are back where you started. Well done! Please ensure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear whilst walking. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the walk is accurate, neither the publisher or its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or other cause.

This area is steeped in local history. Liverpool Road in Ashton was formerly known as Dock Lane, and the picture illustrated above is of Dock Lane House. Across the road from Dock Lane House (which stood where the British Military Vehicles site now is) is Garswood Park, now the home of Ashton Golf Club. The estate was bought by Lord Gerard in the eighteenth century and during the First World War, the Hall became a Voluntary Aid Detachment hospital, run by the Matron and benefactor Lady Gerard. In World War 2 Garswood Park became Camp 50 – a prisoner of war camp for up to 800 Italian and, later on, German soldiers. Prisoners would be shipped off each morning to work at farms throughout the area. The camp closed in 1948. By the end of the war Lord Gerard, who had by then moved to Hertfordshire, sold 60 acres of Garswood Park for the sum of £5000 to Ashton Golf Club. In the early 60s the estate was cut in two by the M6 motorway, and the eastern part of the Estate eventually became schools and housing.


Test Drive - by Tim Barnes-Clay

Fiat 500L Trekking 1.6 MultiJet 105hp The Fiat 500L Trekking combines a fashionable look with special grip gadgetry called Traction+, which helps the car handle difficult and dicey surfaces.

upright look. This is because the Italian automaker has raised the car’s suspension to enable it to drive over rough ground more effectively.

Under conditions of low or zero traction, the system detects slip, making it easy to maintain directional stability and control. The car is slow and cumbersome to begin with, but the technology certainly inspires confidence during bad driving conditions.

Features on the 500L includes a touchscreen radio with Bluetooth, six airbags, ESC (Electronic Stability Control), cruise control, leather gearknob and steering wheel, dual zone climate control, side mouldings, parking sensors, electric windows, automatic lights with rain sensors, front fog lights and rear armrest. The Fiat also has high-tech fabric seat upholstery with eco-leather inserts.

The fresh model offers the same functional and practical qualities of the standard Fiat 500L, but has a more

To be honest, all that the 500LTrekking lacks is a built in sat-nav as standard. Other than that, my flagship


test model came loaded with kit including 17” alloy wheels which were fitted with mud and snow tyres. To emphasise its outdoor disposition, the Fiat also has specific front and rear bumpers, a skid-plate and fog lights which help give it a rugged look. If you’re concerned about the wellbeing of you and your passengers then the Fiat will certainly tick your box. It’s one of the safest motors on the road today, as demonstrated by its prestigious Euro NCAP 5-star rating. In fact the 500L Trekking is the first car in the Fiat range to provide City Brake Control as standard. This system is designed to reduce the effects of low-speed collision in traffic. It’s clever stuff. Overall, the big Fiat is a robust motor and will appeal to style conscious families who need the space for five people combined with functionality and practicality. Just don’t expect awesome acceleration and certainly allow yourself lots of time to overtake. With a 0-62mph

pace of 12 seconds, life can get a little frustrating behind the sluggish, albeit inoffensive wheel of the Fiat 500L 1.6 MultiJet 105hp Trekking.


Max speed: 109 mph

0-62 mph: 12.0 secs

Combined mpg: 60.1

Engine: 1598cc 4 cylinder 16 valve diesel

Max. power (bhp): 105 at 3750 rpm

Max. torque (lb/ft): 236 at 1750 rpm

CO2: 122 g/km

Price: £19,590


Save £££s

© M93 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (DE)

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Puzzle Corner - Solutions Wordsearch Phrase “I hear the sounds of melting snow outside every night and with the first faint scent of spring, I remember life exists” John Geddes

The picture is of Ellaby Road, Rainhill


Restore your bathroyo! m to its former glor At a fraction of the price of a new bathroom



• Grubby Grout Returned to Ice White • No More Scrubbing at Mouldy Silicone • Tiles Polished to Perfection • Screens Returned to Crystal Clear • Give Your Bathroom the “Wow” Factor with a Mini-Makeover • Experts in Baths or Shower Cubicle Restoration

Useful Numbers

Call Now for Information & Your Quick Pack Quote

sponsored by Total Bathroom Restoration

Eccleston Cllr M Haw  Cllr G Pearl Cllr T Sims  Eccleston Medical Centre Eccleston Library  Eccleston Village Hall

01744 29 121 01744 678 927 0151 426 5118 01744 454 454 01744 677 576 01744 730 744

Prescot Cllr R Arnall Cllr S Arnall Cllr Smith Cllrs M & W Sommerfield Cllr Allen Cllr Whiles Aston Healthcare Aston Healthcare Knowsley Park House Medical Care Prescot Medical Centre Prescot Library

07950 200 344 07840 365 002 0151 289 8800 0151 431 0785 0151 430 7835 0151 548 4592 0151 426 6288 0151 546 3458 0151 426 5253 0151 426 5277 0151 426 6449

Rainhill Cllr De’Asha Cllr Glover  Cllr Grunewald Rainhill Library Rainhill Village Hall Rainhill Village Surgery Longton Medical Centre

01744 678 980 01744 678 947 07802 551 647 01744 677 822 0151 430 9338 0151 511 5672 0151 430 0333


01744 322 013 0800 542 9984

West Park Cllr Ayres Cllr Quinn Cllr Rimmer CBE

01744 678 985 01744 678 929 01744 678 930

Windle Cllr S Robinson  Cllr D Baines  Cllr L Glover Central Surgery, Cowley Hill Lowe House Medical Centre

01744 677 434 01744 676 109 01744 677 069 01744 627 660 01744 624 999

General Medical St Helens Hospital Whiston Hospital Minor Injuries Walk in Centre NHS Direct

01744 26 633 0151 426 1600 01744 627 400 0845 4647

General Police & Councils Merseyside Police St.Helens Council Knowsley Council

0151 709 6010 01744 676 789 0151 489 6000

Other Useful Numbers St Helens Central Library Mobile Library – St Helens Mobile Library – Knowsley Gas Leak Water Leakline Floodline Citizens Advice Bureau

01744 456 000 01744 455 413 0151 443 4363 0800 111 999 0800 330 033 08459 881 188 01744 737 866




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SHOWROOM: 95 Newton Rd, Billinge, St Helens WN5 7LB

Other window sizes available, other door styles available. All prices quoted are for white UPVc supplied & fitted including VAT. Minimum order value £1000 or 3 windows (applies to windows only)

E: Open: Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-3.30pm, Saturday 11am-4pm



Tel: 01744 893626 43

Crows Nest, Ashton Road, Billinge, WN5 7XX (Near Windy Arbour)

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Local Life - St Helens & Prescot - Feb/Mar 2014  

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