December 31st 2022


We have just finished a survey at the former Prescot Picture House to identify the condition of the ceiling plasters within the main auditorium space.


To allow detailed proposals to be developed for the refurbishment of the Prescot Picture House, Knowsley MBC have requested a survey to identify the condition of the ceiling plasters within the main auditorium space. This report, upon the request of the Council, sets out the results of surveys that have been undertaken over a two-week period, finishing on the 22nd of December 2022. The report identifys: -The location of the required repairs, a full schedule of emergency and permanent required plaster repairs, and an outline of the costs for these works.

A Brief History of the Auditorium

The auditorium was built in 1912 and modified with the insertion of balconies, to increase the capacity, soon after its opening. The barrel vaulted ceiling is decorated with fibrous plaster ribs ,under lightweight steel trusses, which spring off pilasters on the walls below, and is also decorated with ceiling panel moulding. This same design could also be found at the main hall within Kedleston Road training centre, in Derby, which is dated 1915,  and closer to Prescot at the following Picture Houses: Liverpool Picture House, Clayton Square, Liverpool, built in 1912; The Empress Picture House, West Derby Road, Tuebrook, dated 1915; the Tracadero, Camden Street, Liverpool centre, 1922; the Grosvenor Picture House, Stanley Road, Kirkdale, also dated 1922; and finally at the much grander Astoria, Walton Road, Walton, dated 1930.

The pilasters at the Prescot Picture house may have not extended below the balconies, but above broke through a plaster frieze band and frieze. With the blank upper arcading, below the frieze band, between the pilasters, decorated with fibrous plaster swags, where there were not window openings, and were there were windows they are surrounded by mouldings, although the lower parts were lost with the balcony removal in the early 1990’s. The beauty of the whole depended on the balconies, rich paint decoration, including bands of gold and plush furnishings.

December 31st 2022

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