Author Looking for Prescot Photos, History, Memories

By on Monday, April 29, 2013

prescot_book_how_i_became_chalk_boyA Prescot man hopes locals will share their memories of growing up in the town as part of his research for a new book.

Philip Battle’s How I Became Chalk Boy is a memoir – what Phil calls an “autobiographical sketch” – of his Prescot childhood, between 1957 and 1972.

As a lad, Phil lived at 105 Kemble Street with his grandmother, Eleanor Rigby – the woman he believes may have been the real inspiration behind the classic Beatles song of the same name.

To help him paint a picture of Prescot life in the fifties, sixties and seventies, Phil has asked for Prescotians to contribute in any way they can, whether through stories, archive documents, newspaper cuttings or photographs.

In particular, he’s looking for information on the following subjects:

  • History of 105 Kemble Street, Prescot
    • The Lyon family, local traders who owned it from at least 1901
    • James Whitfield and family, who traded there from 1911 until at least 1924
    • Dr Swami, who had a doctor’s surgery there from 1940 to 1972
  • Bond Street, Kemble Street and the Bath Springs pub in the 1960s
  • BI gates on Kemble Street, 1960s
  • Prescot Church of England Primary School (Houghton Street/Beaconsfield)
  • The new Prescot Church of England Primary School on Bryer Road
  • Whiston Secondary Modern School, especially 1970 to 1975
  • Pigeon fancying and racing in Prescot, 1950s and 1960s
  • Pub brawls, fights and drunkenness in Prescot, 1950s and 1960s
  • Rainhill Hospital and mental illness in the 1960s
  • Gypsy camps around Dragon lane, Whiston, in the 1920s and 1930s
  • Sugden’s Scrap Metal Yard, High Street, Prescot, 1960s
  • Travelling Fairground, St Helens Road, Prescot, 1960s
  • Prescot coal merchants, 1960s
  • Bonfire nights, 1960s

You can contact Philip Battle by email to urbancanvas(at)live(dot)co(dot)uk. All contributions will be credited, and Phil hopes to publish his book by spring 2014 or sooner.

Prescot Online’s Facebook Page is also a great place for sharing memories, photos and other information about the history of Prescot, and there have been several great discussions relating to Phil’s book already.

Photo: Provisional cover for How I Became Chalk Boy:
The True Moving Story of the Little Boy Who Grew up
with Eleanor Rigby
, by Philip Battle


  1. ernest stockley

    Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    hi just like to say great photo of prescot i was born in houghton street 1946 whent to school bottom of street remember party in street for the queen you could take four jam jars to sugdens for 1 penny me and a few mates used to play in the old town hall in market place like what you are doing and i do remember a family called battle but i dont no why good look

    • Clive Middleton

      Monday, April 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      I used to live in Beaconsfield Street, nice to hear memories from Ernest Stockley, played in the old town hall many times I do have a photo some where of the Coronation party in Beaconsfield Street.

  2. David Williams

    Monday, May 20, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I remember the Battle family especially Billy who died in tragic circumstances, he was a lovely guy and was our Milkman. Good luck with your book.

    • Philip Battle

      Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      Hi David….I’ve only just seen your reply. I’d really like to talk to you about Billy, I’m writing a chapter on him; perhaps you could help me? My email is

      Look forward to hearing from you.

      Best Wishes

  3. Ian Thorogood

    Monday, May 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Good luck to Phil on this one. I went to primary school with him at the old Beaconsfield St site and the new Bryer Rd one and have still got a lovely old school photo of our class circa 1969. A lot of memories came flooding back when I saw what kind of subjects he’s interested in. Hector Stanley’s was the best shop in town for a “bag of rubbish”. That was my Dad’s term for a bag of mixed sweets to the value of 6d. You could get four blackjacks for a penny so it wasn’t at all bad!

    • Philip Battle

      Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Hi Ian, good to hear from you. I’ve only just seen your post, so I do apologise. I remember you well. Curly blonde locks as I recall; hope life is treating you well.

      Best Wishes


  4. Jo

    Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 11:03 am

    My dad grew up in Prescot and went to Whiston secondary modern, during the 40s/50s, though! He grew up on a farm in Prescot and shared many stories of childhood. How’s your book going?

  5. Janice manley

    Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    Hi remember a lad called john battle used to teach him at higherside 1990s. Grew up in whiston and lived in prescot drinking in bath springs etc. Can anyone remember the name of the factory in whiston at bottom of halsnead avenue near the colliery railway in the 1960s way before Bishops drive was built. I remember the works hooter. Was it BP? And what did they do there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *