Former Merseyside HSBC Bank to get a new lease of life

A former HSBC bank could soon be transformed into a restaurant with a quirky bar in the old basement vaults and flats upstairs.

The HSBC Prescot branch was at the heart of the town centre for decades and was based in two different properties on Eccleston Street.

The branch was opened by Midland Bank in September 1927 and officially closed in 2016, with the building remaining vacant ever since.

But a spokesperson for Knowsley Council confirmed there is existing planning permission for a restaurant on the ground floor, a bar in the basement vaults and flats in the upper stories.

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It was recently announced that a £3.1m heritage-led regeneration project will help "breathe new life into the historic heart" of Prescot with the repair, restoration and conversion of a number of historic buildings, focusing on the area around Market Place.

Delivered by Knowsley Council with the support of Historic England, Prescot High Street Heritage Action Zone has already traced back the origins of a number of buildings and spaces.

We took a brief look at HSBC's history in the town and what the future holds for its most recent home.

The history of HSBC in Prescot

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HSBC’s archives contain the historical records not only of HSBC, but the many of the banks which have been acquired by HSBC and its predecessor companies.

Due to the pandemic, Knowsley ARK were unable to access more information such as directories and maps. HSBC Archives also currently have limited access to the physical archive collection.

According to HSBC, the Prescot branch was opened by Midland Bank in September 1927 and the office was originally a sub-branch to the bank’s office in St Helen’s.

In 1927, the manager there was a Mr Kitchen, who had been in the bank’s service since 1889.

His salary is said to have been £795 a year and he had a team of nine working for him.

The former branch building of Prescot's HSBC, dated 1957

On January 1, 1943, Prescot was promoted to full branch status and the first branch manager was a Mr Roland Hull.

He was transferred from the Southport branch and was offered a salary of £750 to run the Prescot bank.

HSBC said the branch has always been situated on Eccleston Street, however it was based in different properties.

It was originally at No. 30a, which was known as the ‘Tudor Buildings,' – but by 1966 these premises were deemed to be too small to cope with the increased business.

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Still standing out prominently in the town centre due to its curved exterior, 30 Eccleston Street has had multiple tenants and is now home to Poco Bar & Coffee.

The Midland Bank, which would later become HSBC, moved to No. 2 Eccleston Street where the previous property is said to have been demolished and a more modern, extended office was built in its place.

During this time the Prescot branch was also operating a sub-branch at the nearby B.I.I.C. factory.

The Prescot branch closed on December 2, 2016.

It is 2 Eccleston Street that is eligible for Heritage Action Zone funding and is being converted to new uses by its current owner.

The future of the building

The former HSBC Bank on Eccleston Street in Prescot

Prescot High Street Heritage Action Zone has already traced back the origins of a number of buildings and spaces, such as the town's first cinema.

Through the Heritage Action Zone, there is an opportunity to restore and repair buildings, focusing on the area around Market Place which for centuries was the commercial heart of the town.

The new heritage-led regeneration programme will run until 2024 and work has already started.

Two early projects of the High Street Heritage Action Zone focused on the former HSBC bank and the Red Lion pub.

Since HSBC vacated, 2 Eccleston Street has been vacant, but there is existing planning permission for a restaurant on the ground floor and a bar in the basement vaults.

There are also plans for flats in the upper stories, some in the first floor and others in an upward extension.

The application was put in by Mr Kieran Malone of Market Place Developments Ltd and was approved in December 2019.

Last week, the ECHO took a look back at the Red Lion on Market Place, from its first mention in early records to its exciting future.

We also shared the fascinating memories and tales from the families who ran the pub across the generations.

Both buildings will undergo extensive external repair and restoration later this year, which will see the ground floors converted to uses that will expand Prescot town’s evening economy.

Do you have any more interesting facts about the former HSBC Bank in Prescot? Let us know in the comments section.