Building History

Number One Prescot Street was built in 1932 by L G Ekins for the Co-operative Wholesale Society (“CWS”) by the CWS Building Department.

The building is steel framed, clad with dark brown brick with horizontal joints raked out; semi-basement and entrances, concrete textured with feldspar and granite channeled to give the appearance of stone. The roof consists of green pan tiled mansard with two rows of dormers and a rectangular block on corner site.

There are five stories, two attics and a semi-basement. The main facade has thirteen bays plus an additional seven slightly projecting bays to the right. Segmental arched arcading rises from ground floor through to the fourth floor with splayed reveals of bricks set at angles to a give a dog tooth pattern; with arch heads also of this treatment.

The building has bronzed and green painted metal framed windows of three lights with green metal spandrel panels of corrugated and bead design. The main entrance on center has thirteen bays; rectangular surround with an extension basement textured cement. It has recessed angular moldings to opening with bronzed iron geometric pattern screen. Above is a bas relief rectangular plaque depicting a nude male and female; cornice of corrugated design. The entrance is approached by steps flanked by cement balustrades bronzed iron railings of geometric pattern with bronzed octagonal lanterns. The fifth floor is lighter coloured brink with blue band; continuous 3 light squares headed recessed windows with brick mullions and separated by elongated enriched brick ornamentations. There are continuous rows of cream painted 3-light dormers with corrugated lintels and separating panels; alternate panels with angular cream rainwater heads and green painted pipes forming a feature of the decoration.

There is left hand angle canted with plainer entrance; brick work at angles forms an open work pattern; angular 2-light oriels through three floors with green painted metal zig-zag patterned spandrel panels. The returns are similar to the main facade with attached concrete wall with piers and bronzed iron railings of geometric pattern. The building is an unusual example in Britain of German expressionist style. Ekins worked all his life for CWS, designing shops and warehouses all over Britain.