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130-132 Portico Lane, Eccleston Park, Prescot, Eccleston

Description: 130-132 Portico Lane, Eccleston Park, Prescot

Grade: II
Date Listed: 7 October 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1403261

OS Grid Reference: SJ4839993179
OS Grid Coordinates: 348398, 393180
Latitude/Longitude: 53.4329, -2.7781

Locality: Eccleston
County: St Helens
Country: England
Postcode: L34 2GA

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Listing Text


Cottage and attached watchmaker's workshop, c1800, now separated into two dwellings. Brick laid in an irregular English garden wall bond, slate roof, two storeys.

Reason for Listing

* Regional specialism: the building was constructed in c1800 as a watchmaker's cottage and workshop. This was a highly specialised industry for which the town of Prescot and its surrounding area were internationally important during the mid C18 to late C19
* Rarity: due to the loss or heavy alteration of other watchmakers' buildings, the building is a rare and important example of its type
* Architectural interest: the cottage is little altered externally and retains some original and early interior features. Its original dual industrial and domestic function also remains clearly readable in the building's design and fabric, with the attached two-storey workshop retaining the large and continuous multi-paned windows required to maximise light within
* Historic interest: the building is an important survival from the small-scale, domestic system associated with the clock and watchmaking industry, and in a wider context it embodies England's rich and varied industrial history, and pre-eminence on the world's industrial stage during the C18 and C19


130-132 Portico Lane is believed to have been constructed c1800 as a single residence with an attached watchmaker's workshop. The building appears to have been separated into two dwellings pre-1894, as it is depicted as two dwellings on the 1st edition 1:2500 OS map published in that year. The current owner of No.132 acquired the building approximately 12 years ago and has carried out some internal alterations, including the replacement of doors and some floors.

From the mid C18 Prescot was Britain's leading centre for clock and watch production, and one of the best in the world. This domestic industry relied on masters 'putting out' work to craftsmen who worked from workshops either attached to their home or detached in a rear yard. The workshops were generally of two storeys with a small forge (often doubling as a wash-house) to the ground floor for metalworking, and the more delicate tasks carried out in a first-floor workshop lit by large continuous windows. The vast majority of workshops were centred in Prescot town centre itself but others, such as 130-132 Portico Lane, were located in outlying areas. In the mid C19 the importation of cheap watches and clocks from Switzerland and America caused the collapse of the industry. The last workshop in Prescot is believed to have ceased operation in 1952.


Cottage and attached watchmaker's workshop, c1800, now separated into two dwellings. Brick laid in an irregular English garden wall bond, slate roof, two storeys

PLAN: the cottage is laid parallel with Portico Lane with the watchmaker's workshop set to the northern end and two later, single-storey projections set at a right-angle to the rear. No.132 Portico Lane occupies the three northern bays of the cottage (including the workshop) and is known as Ivy Cottage, whilst No.130 Portico Lane occupies a single southern bay.

EXTERIOR: Front (west) elevation: the four-bay front elevation consists of the main three-bay cottage and a single bay of the workshop. The cottage has a central ground-floor doorway (the entrance to No.132) with a brick wedge lintel, and a ledged and braced door with a glazed upper panel and a timber surround. Above the door is a modern stone with a carved inscription that reads 'WATCH MAKERS COTTAGE'. The windows to both outer bays have cambered heads and horizontal sliding sash windows; those to the left are multi-paned whilst those to the right (No.130) have replaced diamond leaded glazing. Ridge stacks exist to both ends of the roof; that to the right (southern end) has been rebuilt. The left-hand bay of the elevation is a two-storey, lean-to watchmaker's workshop with an 18-light window at first-floor level and a ridge stack above of its own. The north return of the workshop occupies the western half of the cottage's north gable end and incorporates a full-length, 36-light window to the first floor.

Rear (east) elevation: the rear elevation of No.132 is of two bays with a single-storey projection attached to the left bay and a replaced casement window to the first floor above and behind. To the ground floor of the right bay is a large replaced window with a segmental-arched head. The single-storey projection has a modern door and replaced windows to the north side. Set back to the far right of the rear elevation is the east return of the workshop, which has a 12-light window to the first floor and a doorway (door removed) to the ground floor. Attached to the north gable end in front of the workshop is a later, single-storey, lean-to outdoor toilet.

South elevation: the brickwork of the building's south gable end has been painted and a mid-late C20 porch attached to a rear, single-storey projection provides the main entrance for No.130.

INTERIOR: internally No.132 has a narrow entrance hall that leads to the rear of the house. A doorway to the right, which originally led into the southern part of the cottage (now No.130) has been blocked-up, and the dividing wall between the front and rear ground-floor rooms has been removed. Although there is no access from the entrance hallway into the front room it is likely that originally there would have been a doorway. A steep main stair with a winder at the bottom is set between the two ground-floor rooms. The stair was originally enclosed with a door at the bottom of the flight, but this has now been opened up and a modern balustrade added. Both ground-floor rooms have chimneybreasts; the front room has a modern, reproduction fire grate, whilst the rear room has a large timber fire surround, which is also a later addition. The internal doors have been replaced throughout No.132 along with the floors on the ground floor, but original floorboard floors survive to the first floor. The rear projection contains a modern kitchen. The first floor has a room each to the front and rear; that to the front has an early C19 timber fire surround with a cast-iron grate, whilst that to the rear has a chimneybreast rising from the ground floor. An opening has been knocked-through in the north gable end between both rooms and a short flight of steps inserted, in order to create access into the first floor of the adjoining workshop, which has been converted into a modern bathroom. The ground floor of the workshop is only accessible externally and contains a single room with a chimneybreast and copper incorporating probable late C19 brickwork. There is no longer any internal access between the two floors of the workshop, but originally there would probably have been a trap door and a ladder. The interior of No.130 was not inspected.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.