Preston Stuff

You may see a lot of shots of the City of Preston on this blog. That’s because I live there. But did you know that Preston has a facinating history? You may know some of these more well known facts about Preston –

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Although not the first motorway under construction, the M6 at Preston was the first ever stretch of motorway in the UK. It opened in 1958.

Moor Park created 1833 is the first park in the country to which the right of public access was granted. It was also one of the first entierly public parks in the country.

Charles Dickens’ Hard Times is said to be based on his experiences in Preston during the mill lockouts of the 1800s. He stayed at the Bull & Royal hotel on Church Street.

Butch Cassidy’s father came from Preston.

A fast food virtually unique to Preston is parched peas (know variously as black, maple or carlin peas).

Preston North End were a founder member of the English football league in 1888 and they were the first football team to complete the FA cup and League championship double in 1889. Preston was (and is) known as the ‘home of footbal’.

 Built in 1968 Preston has the second largest bus staion in Europe. However the building was widley considered to be too big, in the wrong location and difficult for the public to access. It is due to be demolished to make way for a new shopping centre and housing complex.

In 1964 Ray Allen opened the UK’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken store on Fishergate, Preston. Ray met Colonel Harland Sanders in 1963, securing the famous American fast food rights for his Secret Recipe fried chicken for the UK.

Richard Arkwright, born in Preston in 1732, was for 30 years a barber and wig maker. Although he (and John Kaye) perfected the spinning machinery in a house at Stonygate, Preston, his first mill was built in Derbyshire (after initial experiments in Nottingham).

St Walburge’s Church in Preston, at just over 300 fet, is the tallest church in England that is not a cathedral.

 In 1816 Preston became the first place to be lit by gas light outside London.

 But did you know this trivia?

Preston’s street gas lighting in 1816 lit Church Street, Fishergate and Friargate. The pipes were made from old musket screwed end to end.

The Black Horse Pub at 66 Friargate is the only pub in England to have entrances on 3 different streets. It also has an unusual tiled curved bar counter, one of only 14 such bars in the country.

Preston had one of the first migrant Asian settlements in the UK.

 Preston’s Richard Arkwright is also said to be the father of the factory system.

 Donald Campbell’s speedboat Bluebird K7 was constructed at Salmesbury Engineering Ltd, near Preston. They normally built buses. Campbell broke speed records in July 1964 with Bluebird but died on Coniston Water in 1967.

The operational centre for of the Football League is based in Preston.

Preston had one of the first American-style supermarkets in the UK. The GEM store opened off New Hall Lane in 1964.

The KFC in Preston was the first quick service restaurant in the UK opening before other fast food outlets such as McDonald. A Wimpey hamburger shop was right next door – although it was not treated as fast food establishment at the time.

The English Electric Lightning F1A, the first British combat aeroplane with supersonic performance, was partly built in Preston by English Electric Aviation Ltd.

Askews Library Services based in Preston supply a good proportion of the UK’s public, school, college and commercial libraries. They also supply over 100 countries worldwide. Over seventy five thousand books a week arrive and are re-distributed from their headquarters on North Road. Founded 130 years ago they are one of the longest-established companies of its type,

Established in Preston in 1906 CCA Stationery used to be the market leader in Personalised Wedding, Christmas and Social Stationery in The UK.

In 2000 a Muslim family in Preston launched a service to call the two million faithful in the UK to prayer on their mobile phones. The Times reported “Rather than the traditional approach, where a muezzin climbs to the top of a mosque’s minaret and calls Muslims to prayer five times a day, the signal will go out as a national beep from Preston,” the report said.

Preston museum is said to house the largest collection of perfume bottles in the country.

In 2006 the Royal Preston Hospital was the first to introduce the “Inter-Faith Gown,” a hospital garment modelled on the Muslim burka. It was the brainchild of Karen Jacob, the linen services manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It allows female Muslim patients to cover themselves completely in line with their religious beliefs.

GOSS Graphic Systems in Preston used to be the most advanced and productive press manufacturing plant in the UK. During the Second World War it is said that they undertook several secret contracts for the war effort including printing plans and maps onto cotton material to be used by soldiers (and spies) during the war.

The first Buckingham Bingo Club was opened at Preston in the 1970s. Buckingham Bingo is now the north of England’s largest independent bingo club operator with 10 clubs and over 2.5 million attendances per year.

Frank Woolworth opened one of his first Woolworth stores in Preston. He also opened others at the same time in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull. They were modelled on his American five and ten cent stores. 

The first Matalan store, founded by John Hargreaves, opened in Preston in 1985. The company now employs more than 14,200 people.

William Lambert, a printer in Preston is said to have produced the first marbled effect paper in the UK in around 1679.

Actor Leonard Rossiter, who played Rigsby in Rising Damp and Reginald Perrin began his stage career in Preston at the Hippodrome.

Preston hosted the snooker UK Championships for over 20 years.

Lawrence Hunt opened the first of the Spar ‘8 till late’ franchise shops in Leyland near Preston in November 1981. The shop was chosen because it the only one of his six stores to have a licence at the time.

The Harris Museum in Preston is considered to be the best example of Greek revival architecture in the country after the British Museum.

American founding father Benjamin Franklin lived for a while at a house on the site of Café Nero on Frigate, in 1771. He lodged with a Mrs Beche and her son eventually married Franklin’s daughter in 1775. It is said he performed his famous kite/lighting experiment near Preston.

Sharrocks Fresh Produce Limited based in Preston is one of the largest independent suppliers of fresh produce in the North of England. They also have one of the largest fruit & vegetable processing plants in the country.

The George Formby’s film Turned out nice again was filmed in Preston. Some of the workers at nearby Horrocks mill were extras in the film.

Some scenes for the BBC One cop show Life on Mars were filmed in Preston.

The Preston based restaurant ‘Bistro French’ featured in the Guinness Book of Records as having the widest selection of wines and spirits in the country.

Beacon Fell, near Preston was one of the first country parks in the UK. It was also the first area in the UK to be awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protect Areas award.

ASDA opened one of its first standalone George fashion store on Preston’s Fishergate in 2004 (since closed).

The Ribble Estuary near Preston supports the highest populations of wigeon, sanderling and ringed plover in the UK.

Preston based ADI Group is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of LED TV screens. They installed UK football’s first LED screens at Villa Park in 1997. They have installed screens at sports grounds, shopping centres and music festivals such as Creamfields, T in The Park and for the Last Night of the Proms. They also help produce television programs for Everton and Manchester United Football clubs.

Preston is the home of the biggest selling county magazines Lancashire Life and Cheshire Life.

The Courtaulds Factory at the Red Scar works, Preston was the world’s largest manufacturer of the man made fabric called rayon.

The headquarters for both the Lancashire Fire Brigade and the Lancashire Ambulance Service are in Preston.

In the 1890’s,Padre George Smith from the famous battle of Rorke’s Drift (Zulu) moved to Preston and later lived at Sumner’s Hotel in Fulwood, in the town.  He retired here and died on 27 November 1918. After a military ceremony, he was buried in Preston Cemetery on New Hall Lane.  Lt. Col. Chard also involved in the battle lived in Preston for a while.

Matthew Brown, founder of Brown’s Brewery is buried in Preston cemetery.

An average of 340,000 water birds over-winter on the Ribble Estuary near Preston making it one of the most important wetland sites in the UK.

Preston Parish Church was the first church in the world to be lit by gas. The gas lights were installed in 1816. However, two years later Trustees Of the Gas Company threatened to cut off the gas as they had not paid their bills.

Preston has the longest continuous row of the old style (K6) red kiosks in the country. They were designed by Giles Gilbert Scott who also designed Preston’s Cenotaph.

Preston has its own nuclear factory at Springfields (just like in the Simpsons) just north of the city. The site is the UK’s main Nuclear Fuel Manufacturing facility and is one of the most advanced nuclear fuel manufacturing plants in the world. It dumps some of its waste in the local Clifton Marsh disposal site, but this is totally safe we have been told.

Preston saw the first Mormon baptisms (in the River Ribble) in the UK and boasts the oldest continuous branch of the church anywhere in the world dating back to 1837. Brigham Young preached in Preston and the city continues to attract Mormons from around the world.

The second largest Mormon temple in the world was built in Chorley, near Preston and is known as the Preston England Temple.

The Raza mosque, built in Preston in 1970, was the second such building in the UK.

Preston museum is frequently the only venue in England to host international exhibitions.

Joseph Hansom, the inventor of the Hansom cab lived in Preston for 8 years while he designed St. Walburge’s church.

Preston was the first city in the UK to offer a free video e-mailing service in street kiosks. The service allows people to send up to 30 seconds of video from any of the city’s 14 internet booths.

Thomas Livesey, a calico printer and cotton manufacturer helped establish Mosney Printing Works near Preston. In 1785 the company introduced the first cylindrical cloth printing machine in the world.

Contrary to popular belief, egg rolling is not unique to Preston. It also takes place in various other parts of the country. It has even taken place on the lawns of the White House in Washington. Neither is called ‘Pace-egg’ rolling.

BBC Radio One was a regular visitor to Preston’s Top Rank nightclub in the late 1960s and early 1970s. DJ’s Terry Wogan, Noel Edmonds, Dave Lee Travis and Emperor Rosko hosted shows featuring artists such as Marvin Gaye and the Rolling Stones.

The Top Rank nightclub in Preston was remade into Clouds discotheque. An early line-up of Manchester band the Stone Roses, featuring both Brown and guitarist John Squire, made their live debut there in 1985. The concert was a disaster and after it their manager thought they would have trouble playing anywhere in the country.

Clouds later became a nightclub called Tokyo Joes (now called Ignite + Lava). The venue regularly appeared on the TV show the Hitman and Her. Pop band Take That featured on the show in 1990.

Preston once had the largest tram factory in the UK and it is said that more trams were produced here than anywhere else in the country.

In 2003 Preston was the test-bed for the Urban Traffic Management Control, a system used to control traffic flow. The Preston prototype allowed drivers to receive up-to-date traffic information via interactive signs placed around the city. The signs relayed expected journey times, warned of any accidents and showed how many spaces remained in the City’s car parks. The new system made Lancashire one of the leading exponents of this technology in Europe.

In 2005 Preston City Council was officially named the best in the country for sports development after winning the highest score for a local authority in the prestigious Quest Award scheme.

Golfer Glenn Turner from Preston set a world record in 2007 by completing 383 18-hole courses in a year.

Trams produced in Preston went to work on Blackpool’s Golden Mile and the London Underground.

The Gold Thread Works on Avenham Road, Preston had a top secret assignment to make authentic German badges for British spies during the Second World War. Worker Tony Pickston, who retired in 1985, said: “My father told me that a small room in the factory had been used by three women to produce authentic badges for English spies going to Germany in WWII. It was top secret. These women had been working in there from 1941 to 1945 without any of the other workers knowing”. The factory closed in 1991.

The Canberra aircraft, the world’s first jet bomber, was designed in Preston. It is still in service today.

The Canberra held 26 world records for speed and altitude including the fastest crossing of the Atlantic in 1951 at 4 hours 40 minutes.

In March 2008 Preston was chosen as one of three areas in the UK to trial NHS Direct, a 24-hour nurse-led helpline. The three areas between them covered more than 1.5 million people and by the end of December 1998 had taken over 60,000 calls.

A speech given by Malcom X during his visit to the UK in 1965 is said to have spurred on the Racial Action Adjustment Society (RAAS) to lend support to the first important strike in the country of Black workers at the Courtaulds Mill in Preston.

Preston became the first English city to offer comprehensive wire-free internet coverage (at the time it was only the third City in the world to do this).

In September 2006 Sainsbury’s Coffee shop in Deepdale, Preston was the first in the UK to go Fairtrade.

Hollywood Express, the company that supplies popcorn, Pick-n-Mix, nachos and other foodstuffs and drinks to Odeon cinemas across the UK is based in Preston.

Action Records, on Church Street, Preston is one of the UK’s largest independent record stores and has its own record label.

Stanworth Valley near Preston used to be home to a wide range of flora and fauna and recognised by local nature conservation groups as being part of one of the ten most valuable woodlands in Lancashire. It was also home to dozens of tree-dwellers during the long running No M65 campaign, the site of Britain’s longest post-war eviction. In 1995 after a year of protest the eco-warriors were evicted and work bean on the motorway.

Snooker star Steve Davis won his first major title at the 1980 Coral UK Championship in Preston.

Steve Davis’s win at the 1986 Tennents UK Championship in Preston took his career winnings past the £1 million mark for the first time, making him snookers first millionaire.

Alex Higgins was fine £12,000 and banned for 5 competitions after head-butting an official at the tournament in Preston in 1986.

Ronnie O’Sullivan won his first major snooker tournament at the Guild Hall, Preston in 1993.He was just 17 and became the youngest ever winner of the event and of any major snooker title.

Deltic ‘The King of Diesel Locomotives’ was built in Preston and entered service in 1962. The Deltic was the first train to have component replacements making it easier to service.

Pop band Atomic Kitten’s first gig was at Preston’s Guild hall in February 2002.

In 2000 Preston had the first new canal for recreation and navigation to be built in the country for over a century.

The famous ‘PP’ in the Preston coat of arms is said to variously stand for Princeps Pacis, Prince of Peace, Preston Preston or Proud Preston

The lamb in Preston’s coat of arms was originally shown as standing up – the emblem of St. Wilfrid who the church was dedicated to during the medieval period. In Tudor times the church was re-dedicated to St. John and the lamb shown as sitting down. However, this refers to the incorrect St. John. The sitting lamb is the emblem of John the Baptist (having said that the church may have been known as St John the Baptist’s as early as the thirteenth century according to some sources).

 There were once three ‘P’s in the Preston coat of arms.

 Preston once had its own zoo. Built in 1884 in what became Farringdon Park it closed just a year later.

 Farringdon Park in Preston had its own speedway track. Opened in 1929 it attracted many famous international riders. George Formby won a race there.

 The charity premiere screening of the football film Goal! was at the Vue Cinema, Preston, organised by the National Football Museum.

 Preston’s Community Gateway Association is the first housing association in the UK to equip its staff with lone worker protection devices linked to the Skyguard emergency response centre.

 The City Council was also the first local authority in England to pursue council housing stock transfer through the Community Gateway approach – a new way of involving tenants in decision-making about their homes and neighbourhoods.

 John Fishwick and Sons who operate in Preston are one of the longest continuously family owned transport companies in the UK.

 The National Football Museum in Preston is widely regarded as having the finest collection of football memorabilia in the world. Opened in June 2001 it became the largest major football museum in the world

 Radio One’s Big Weekend free music festival in Preston in 2007 had the largest tented area in Europe. The Scissor Sisters and the Kaiser Chiefs were amongst the performers.

 Oasis, The Verve and the Spice Girls amongst others have also performed at free music festivals in Preston’s parks.

 The oldest football board game in the world was made in Preston in 1884.

 Chicago Town pizzas are made in the UK by the Preston branch of Schwan’s.

 The Western Express Dance Club, established in 1989 on Labour Road, Preston is the UK’s longest running country and western club.

 In 1999 Action for Blind People launched a new hi-tech Cyber Centre in Preston – one of the first in the UK – that enables blind and partially sighted people to surf the internet.

 Preston Grasshoppers rugby club is one of the oldest clubs in the country. It was founded in 1869, two years prior to the Rugby Football Union. It was the first rugby club to be awarded the Community Rugby Active Sports Seal of Approval accreditation.

 One of the oldest family-run grocery businesses in the UK is E.H. Booth & Co. Ltd whose headquarters are in Preston. In 2006 Booths achieved second place in the list of the World’s Greatest Food Retailers.

 In 1996, Lancashire Constabularly, whose headquartes are near Preston appointed the country’s first ever female Chief Constable. The Constabularies Dog Training School is known throughout world.

 Preston was one of the first cities in the UK to have its bus network fitted with ‘Realtime’, a GPS tracking system fitted to every bus stop to provide an accurate time of the arrival of the next bus.

 New Reg, suppliers of car registration numbers are based in Preston. They are a brand leader in the industry and have sold more registrations online than any other company.

 Preston’s New Reg dedicated a London taxi to then Chelsea Football Club Manager Jose Mourinho. The taxi features the number plate ‘W1 NER’ and is one of the first in the country to carry number plates on the sides as well as front and back.

 Preston’s Caribbean Carnival, founded in 1974 is one of the oldest in the UK.

 Niccolo Paganini, the world famous violinist gave a concert in Preston in 1833. Franz Lizst also played at the Theatre Royal in Preston (roughly where the Primark store now stands).

 The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, based in Preston carries 204 battle honours, more than any other British line infantry regiment. Six are unique in the British Army and two (Canton and Fiesole) are unique in the world.

 The Regimental Museum within Fulwood Barracks, Preston houses one of the largest Infantry Regimental Collections in the UK. It also has the second oldest garrison church in the UK.

 Linen spinning did not really progress until James Kay of Preston invented ‘wet spinning’ in 1825.

The World’s oldest recorded and longest running sporting event was won by a man from Walton-le-Dale, Preston. Brian Richards won the The Ancient Scorton Silver Arrow competition to become Captain of Arrow 2005. The competition, which dates back to 1673, was first held in the village of Scorton, near Richmond.

The country’s first scouting museum is at Waddecar Scout Activity Centre near Preston. It boasts ‘probably the best IT Suite on a Scout Camp Site in the world’.

 Dick Kerr’s Ladies, the most famous early women’s football team, was founded in Preston. The team played in the first women’s international in 1920 against France. They went on to tour the USA in 1922 playing mostly men’s teams.

 Preston’s English Electric company established in 1921 built Felixstowe and Kingston flying boats. These were flight tested on the nearby Ribble Estuary. They later built the Halifax bomber and partly developed the Lightning Fighter, Britain’s first supersonic fighter.

 BAE System’s Lancashire sites (including Preston, Warton and Salmesbury) intensive development of military jet aircraft over 60 years is said to be a unique achievement for any single design centre in Europe, and possibly the world.

 Preston is the home of Gold Medal Travel – one of the UK’s largest travel companies.

 Preston’s river the Ribble has been known through the ages as the Bel, the Ripple and the Rible (with one ‘b’). The Romans called the river Belisama Fluvia. There is also a legend that states the river claims a human life every seven years.

 Preston has one of the most catholic populations in the UK. It is said that the Roman Catholic schools in Preston sometimes send their children on school trips to visit a Holy Well at Fernyhalgh, Preston.

 One of the most valuable caches of treasure found in the world was discovered near Preston on the banks of the River Ribble in 1840. The ‘Cuerdale Hoard’ is now mainly housed at the British Museum in London.

Towering over Miller Park in Preston is the former Midland Hotel (sometimes called the Park or Railway Hotel). When the London to Glasgow railway first opened it was considered a health risk to travel the full distance in one go. The hotel was built so travellers could take an overnight break.

Did you know that companies and councils from all over the country send their rubbish plastic to be recycled at Plastic Recovery Ltd in Preston? The Preston facility is one of the UK’s leading plastic sorting and grading sites.

The Classic Half-Marathon at Freckleton, just outside Preston is the oldest half marathon in the UK.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals which runs Royal Preston Hospitals was the first Foundation Trust in the county.

In 2001 Preston police were the first in the UK to pilot a new radio system to help in the fight against crime. The new ‘Airwave’ radios were the first step towards officers on the streets or in cars having a “virtual office” in their hand.

In 1935 Lancashire Constabulary had the first full scale VHF radio system in the world.

Alan Schofield broke the world record for the longest putt ever at 166ft 8in. The record was broken on 5 August 2000 at Fishwick Hall Golf Club, Preston. It was recognised as an official world record by the Guinness Book of Records. A plaque has been placed at the spot where the shot was taken.

Preston Council is one of the first in the Country to offer a fully transactional Internet service, that is offer fully functional e-services deliverable over the Internet.

Low income benefit Family Credit was introduced in 1988 to replace Family Income Supplement and became the first computerised benefit. It was partly based in Preston and Blackpool, although later mainly centred at its Preston offices. It was later renamed as Working Family Tax Credits (WFTC). New Tax Credits, which replaced WFTC, is also based at Preston.

Disability Working Allowance, introduced in 1992 was also a centralised benefit based in Preston.

During the First and Second World Wars Preston railway station had a free buffet service to anyone in uniform 24 hours a day. There is a comemerative plaque at the site in the station waiting room.

 During the Second World War one of UK’s three major Air Traffic Control Centres was based at Barton near Preston.

 Preston & South Ribble Trades Union Council was established in 1866 and was one of the founder members of the Trades Union Congress.

Preston once had five separate railway stations that were eventually merged to form today’s railway station.

Preston Dock Trivia

Preston has Europe’s largest single dock basin.

The dock was opened on Saturday 25th June 1892. The first ship, the SS Lady Louise, under charter to the grocers, E.H. Booth & Co. Ltd. discharged its cargo of port later on the same day.

In 1948 Preston dock was the first to introduce roll on roll off ferry traffic.

In the 1960s Preston docks held the record for the handling the largest amount of container and ferry traffic.

Just outside Preston Docks, over 400 ships, warships and liners were scrapped. The most famous was the White Star liner Adriatic, said to be sister ship of the Titanic. However the Adriatic was only 3, 800 tons compared to Titanic’s 44,000 tons. Parts of the ships’ wooden floor were reused as a dance floor in a Preston dance hall. Ships were also built here including ferry boats for the Mersey.

Until around 1980 a ferry ran from Preston to Ireland.

The Ribble Steam Railway, based at the docks boasts the largest single collection of standard-gauge industrial locomotives housed under cover in the country.

Experimental concrete ships were built in Preston. In 1918 the Merseyside firm of Hughes & Stirling launched the ‘Cretemanor’ (the name is derived from ‘concrete’). A second concrete ship was launched in 1920, but in 1923 the idea was abandoned.

Preston docks were used as a marshalling post for troops and equipment in preparation for the D-Day landings in Normandy during the Second World War.

During excavation of the original dock basin prehistoric remains dating back almost 6000 years were found. Unfortunately no proper archaeological investigation was undertaken at the time.

Temperance Trivia

Joseph Livesey, social reformer, was born near Preston on 5 March 1794. During the 1830s he began a printing business and in 1844 he started the Preston Guardian, the forerunner of the present Preston newspaper the Lancashire Evening Post.

Joseph Livesey, one of the ‘Seven Men of Preston’ signed an historic total abstinence pledge in 1833. This was seen as the foundation of the teetotal movement.

Temperance societies had existed in America before Joseph Livesey popularised the total abstinence idea in the UK.

Joseph Livesey published the first temperance newspaper, the ‘Preston Temperance Advocate’ in 1834.

Livesey fathered 13 children and was also one of the founders of The Institution for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge which later became the University of Central Lancashire.

The US embraced the ideas of the Temperance Movement and eventually the government was persuaded to pass the Prohibition Act completely banning the sale of alcohol. Livesey disapproved of the demand for prohibition.

The word ‘Teetotal’ meaning totally abstaining from alcohol was coined by Richard Turner who was working in Preston at the time. It is commonly thought that the he had a stutter and this is how the word arose. However, he knew that some temperance societies kept registers of those who signed the pledge and put ‘OP’ before their name if they refrained from spirits (the Old Pledge) and a ‘T’ before those who chose total abstinence. This could be where Turner, a ‘T-Totaler’, first took the word from.

Joseph Livesey and Edward Grub founder members of the teetotal movement are buried in Preston Cemetery.

The first Temperance Hotel in the UK opened in Preston in the1830’s. It was on the corner of North Road and Church Street.

James Livesey, Joseph’s son invented many original mechanical devices, one being a newspaper folding machine. He also helped build railways in Spain, Canada and South America.

James Livesey founded one of the world’s leading engineering consultancy firms.

Ironically, one of the largest breweries in England (InBev) is based just a couple of miles to the south of Preston.

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Trivia

Based in central Preston the UCLan is the sixth largest and one of the fastest growing universities in the UK.

The University was chosen by Sport England as the home for its library ~ the Sport England National Collection. This is located on the 2nd floor of the Preston campus library.

The UCLan’s Earthworm Research Group in Preston acted as academic advisors to the BBC series Life in the Undergrowth.

The UCLan department of forensic and investigative science ran the UK’s first degree in policing. Students who complete the degree will be able to apply to the constabulary as pre-qualified constables capable of under-taking patrol. Police bosses say the pioneering move is an ideal way for potential recruits to learn about the police.

The Anglican church of St Peter’s, built in 1882 by Thomas Rickman (who also built St. Paul’s in the City), has been taken over as an arts centre and theatre by the UCLan. ‘Tee-Totaler’ Richard Turner is buried in the churchyard.

In 2005 the UCLan’s entertainments venue, 53 degrees was voted Students’ Union of the Year by the British Entertainments and Disco Association.

The UCLan offered the first degree course in the UK for British Sign Language.

An ex-UCLan student, now in charge of Trend Marketing at Adidas collaborated with David Beckham on the controversial Diamond encrusted white Adidas tracksuit he wore to the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth games. UCLan graduate Gary Aspden was the Global Head of Entertainment and Promotions for Adidas.

In 2006 UCLan was voted the 4th happiest university in the UK in a poll run by The Royal Bank of Scotland.

TV pundit former Preston North End and Liverpool footballer Mark Lawrenson was awarded anHonorary Fellowship by the UCLan in 2003.

UCLan has one of the best-equipped teaching observatories of any UK University and one of the largest optical telescopes in England.

UCLan is recognised as one of the leading institutions for journalism training in the country. Journalism has been taught at Preston for 42 years and many well-known journalists began their careers at Preston.

A groundbreaking £16 million Performing Arts Building at the UCLan named `The Media Factory` has recently been built. The state of the art building on Cold Bath Street is a flagship media and performing arts centre.

Preston People Trivia

Edward Stanley was born in Preston in 1752. In 1771 he became Lord Stanley. In 1776, on the death of his grandfather, he succeeded to the earldom of Derby as twelfth Earl. He loved horse racing. The famous “Derby” and “Oaks” races were named in his honour (The Oaks took the name from the villa of Lambert’s Oaks, the Earl’s racing residence at the time).

Ice hockey’s famous Stanley Cup started in 1892 when Governor General of Canada Frederick Stanley (Lord Stanley, Earl of Preston and Preston MP from 1865 to 1868) offered the Cup as an incentive to develop the sport. The cup is the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes in North America.

The founder of the Ryder Cup was born in Preston in 1858. Samuel Ryder donated the Ryder Cup, the biennial golf contest between Europe and the United States.

Samuel Ryder was the first person to sell plant seeds in ‘penny packets’. This made his fortune.

W.H. (Harry) Thompson was born in Preston in 1885. As a solicitor he specialized in workmen’s compensation and was the acknowledged expert in the field. He was a founder member and chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Council for Civil Liberties (renamed Liberty). His sister, Constance married Percy Taylor and had a son called Alan (A.J.P.) Taylor, the famous historian.

Preston born composer Bill Connor has worked across many genres and media from rock and jazz to the symphony orchestra. He has written music for over 300 film and television projects and spent 6 years as composer-in-residence for Granada Television in Manchester.

Nigel Morgan, historian and one of the founders of the satirical magazine Private Eye lived and taught in Preston. He also flew Vampire jets during national service with the RAF (1955-57) which were made in Preston by English Electric.

Ferrari Faqiri from Preston became the National Karate champion in 2006. He had already been the Northwest, United Kingdom and World Champion in various martial art categories.

Richard Arkwright was the youngest of thirteen children.

Opinions are divided amongst historians if Richard Arkwright was a great inventor or just a brilliant business man. Some say he should be considered the first industrial tycoon in the country.

Richard Arkwright was initially unpopular in Preston as it was thought (correctly) that his mass-production methods would take away jobs from the skilled hand weavers.

Leo Baxendale, who was born in Preston in 1930, drew the Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx, Dennis the Menace for the children’s comic the Beano.

Preston born Coronation Street star Tupele Dorgu came fourth in BBC’s Strictly African Dancing and she got to the semi-finals of ITV’s Soapstar Superstar in 2007. She also writes a column for the Manchester Evening News,

Andrew Flintoff maybe Preston’s famous England cricketer, but did you know Preston born singing star from the band Liberty X, Jessica Taylor, is married to Andrew’s fellow England team mate, Kevin Pietersen.

In 2009 Flintoff became the world’s most expensive cricket player. The Lancashire and England all rounder was ‘bought’ by by the Chennai Super Kings for $1.5 million or £1.024 and will play in the new season of the Indian Premier League.

Arthur William Devis was a painter from Preston. His most famous work is ‘Death of Nelson’. He sailed on Nelson’s ship the Victory and met with the witnesses to Nelson’s unfortunate end so he could be as accurate as possible in his portrait of the event.

Michael Symmons Roberts, born in Preston in 1963, won the Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, for British poets under thirty in 1998. In 2004 he won the Whitbread Poetry Award. He has worked as a producer and director of documentaries for the BBC and still writes extensively for radio and television.

Arthur William Devis was a painter from Preston. His most famous work is ‘Death of Nelson’. He sailed on Nelson’s ship the Victory and met with the witnesses to Nelson’s unfortunate end so he could be as accurate as possible in his portrait of the event.

Michael Symmons Roberts, born in Preston in 1963, won the Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, for British poets under thirty in 1998. In 2004 he won the Whitbread Poetry Award. He has worked as a producer and director of documentaries for the BBC and still writes extensively for radio and television.

 Preston based Jason Karl, ghost expert and founder of Ghost Research Foundation international, has presented Haunted Homes, Ghost Files and Most Haunted on Living TV. He has also contributed to radio programmes including BBC World Service. In 2004 he was the Creative Director of Pure TV for whom he produced Spectre Inspectors – the world’s first psychic adventure gameshow.

Preston-born leisure boss John Morphet is the 574th richest in the UK, currently wealth valued at £120million. He is said to be Preston’s wealthiest man.

In 2007 Steve Smith from running club Preston Harriers won gold at the world 1500m indoor championships in Austria.

Preston’s Andrew Flintoff was given the freedom of the city in 2006 and can drive a flock of sheep through the city if he so wishes.

The car registration number of Preston snooker star Ian (The Preston Potter) McCulloch is CUE 147S.

In 1880 Walter George from Preston Harriers ran a mile in 4mins 23.2secs and established a World Record for one and a half miles in 6mins 43.5secs. He was the fastest amateur at the time.

Actor Louisa Shaw, born in Preston made her West End debut in Cats following the original tour of the show playing the leading role on many occasions. Since then she stared in Les Miserables andMartin Guerre in London. She also appeared in the Royal Variety Performance; Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert at The Royal Albert Hall.

Melanie Ash, an Actor from Preston made her screen debut in Channel 4 series Bedsitcom – a reality show where six people were thrown together in a Big Brother style apartment. She went on to play Coleen King in ITV’s Emmerdale.

Actor and TV presenter Sophie McDonnell from Preston was part of pop band Precious in 1999. They got to number six in the charts with the single Say it Again. Jenny Frost, also in Precious replaced Kerry Katona in the band Atomic Kitten.

Peter Corr, born in Ireland in 1923, played for Preston North End in 1947. In 1949 he played in the Ireland team that defeated England 2-0 becoming the first non UK team to beat England at home. When he retired he settled in Preston and opened a newsagent with fellow PNE player Frank O’Farrell, who later became manager of Manchester United. He later opened Corr’s Hardware Shop on Sharoe Green Lane He is the uncle of Jim, Sharon, Caroline and Andrea Corr who make up the Irish musical group The Corrs.

Preston born Helen Clitheroe represented Great Britain in the 2000 Olympics for 1500 metres. She also came fourth in the event in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

John Nuttall from Preston won the English Schools 3000m event in 1985. He went on to win a Bronze Medal at the European Junior Championships that same year. He also won a bronze medal over 5km in the Commonwealth Games of 1994 and represented Great Britain in the 1996 Olympics.

Greg Doran, from Preston is associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and in 2004 had no fewer than four plays he directed running in London’s West End.

Marcus Morris was born in Preston in 1915. Along with Frank Hampson in 1950 he devised a magazine for boys called the Eagle. He also launched CosmopolitanMagazine in the UK in 1952.

In 1924 Preston born Right Reverend Thomas Wulstan Pearson was made the First Bishop of Lancaster.

Preston’s Louise Moore was once European and UK Wakeboard Champion.

Award winning graphic artist Bryan Talbot lived and worked in Preston. In 1982 the first collected volume of Luther Arkwright (named after Richard Arkwright) was published by Never Ltd. This and Raymond Briggs’ When the Wind Blows were the first ever British Graphic Novels. He also drew for comic 2000AD and produced many other graphic novels and cover art both here and in the US.

Composer, conductor and pianist Paul Englishby was born in Preston in 1970. He tutored Nicolas Cage on the mandolin for the filmCaptain Corelli’s Mandolin.

Preston chef Leigh Hewitt has worked for Gordon Ramsey at the Savoy in London. In 2007 Leigh, who is profoundly deaf, featured in the BBC2 television show See Hear about his work in the kitchen. Leigh’s father runs a cycle shop in Leyland, just outside Preston.

Graeme Garden from BBC’s The Goodies lived in Preston. His mother still lives there.

William Gilbertson, a pharmaceutical chemist, lived and worked in Preston. He collected many Carboniferous limestone fossils that can be seen today in the Natural History Museum in London.

Sean Holt from Preston is the Sport England Director for South East England.

Preston based Brian Duncan is the most successful crown green bowler in the history of the game. He has won the prestigious Waterloo Cup three times.

Footballer and TV pundit Mark Lawrenson, born in Preston in 1957, joined Liverpool, in 1981, for a then club record £900,000. In his seven years at Liverpool he won five league championships, as well as European, FA Cup and League Cup winners’ medals.

Becky Williamson, runner up in her section at the National Amateur Body Building Association finals in 2007, trained at the Ironman Gym in Wellfield Road, Preston.

Preston born boxer Michael Jennings won the BBBofC British Welterweight title In Preston in 2005. In 2007 he won the WBU Welterweight title in Cardiff.

Tom Benson, who was born in Preston in 1932, rose to fame as a boxer and had won a staggering 196 fights and lost just 18 by the end of his ring career. On his retirement, he became a famous endurance and non-stop walking champion, breaking every world record in his 20-year walking career.

 Preston born actor and singer Julie Athertonsang for thePrince of Wales at the 2006 Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

 Sir Edward Frankland, who created one of the first successful water purification processes and was a co-discoverer of helium was born in 1833 just north of Preston. He was also the first President of the Institute of Chemistry.

Sarah Needham, aged 16 from Preston, helped theBritish Team take Silver in the European Pony Championships in 2005.

Robert James Minnitt, anaesthetist and general practitioner, was born in Preston on 25th October 1889. He is chiefly remembered for the development of a machine for self administration of nitrous oxide and air to relieve pain in childbirth.

Angela Brazil, born in Preston in 1868 was arguably the first author of girls’ books to write her stories from the characters’ point of view – and the first to write entertaining rather than instructional stories.

David Gardner from Preston is a professional cellist. He lives in Brazil and helped set up the state orchestra in that country.

Actress Janet Munro, born in Blackpool, began her stage career in Preston where her family lived for a while. In 1958 Janet had become the first actress to be placed on a five movie contract by Walt Disney. She became the top earning British actress in movies.

Preston’s Katy Parker was England’s number one table tennis player. At 12 she was the youngest player ever to represent England in the senior team at the 1997 Manchester World Championships. She was the only unbeaten English player after the team events at the 2001 European Youth Championships in Italy. She has also been chosen as Young Coach of the Year.

Lawrence Bond, born in Preston in 1907, was a Formula Three racing driver whose design of the first three-wheeled Minicar introduced cheap motoring to the UK following WWII.

Architect Sir George Grenfell-Baines born in Preston in 1908 became the founding chairman of Building Design Partnership. He came to the attention of the English Electric chairman (who later commissioned him to build factories and runways) when the company’s premises in Preston caught fire and, before the firemen had left the site, he was seen carrying out an improvised survey of what remained so he could submit plans for its reconstruction. Sir George was also the recipient of the first ‘student grant’ from Preston Council when they gave him financial help.

Preston cyclist Jason Quigley won an Olympic gold medal in 2000.

The once Surveyor General of India, Andrew Waugh, retired to live and work in Preston. Whilst surveying the Himalayas in 1852 he named a very tall mountain ‘Mont (later Mount) Everest’ (named after George Everest his predecessor).

Preston born Timothy Jackson was awarded a scholarship to study horn music at the Royal Academy of Music at 15. He won numerous competitions, including the Malcolm Sargent Award. His music has been played all over the world such as the Hollywood Bowl and the Sydney Opera House. He has been recorded by EMI and PolyGram. Timothy is Professor of Horn at the Royal Marines School of Music, and is a visiting teacher at and Chetham’s School of Music.

Helen Latham from ITV’s Footballers Wives was born in Preston. Philip Bretherton who played Stefan Hauser in Footballers’ Wives was also born in Preston.

Dawn Airey, who helped launch TV’s Channel 5, was born in Preston. She is also Managing director of Sky Networks at BSkyB and one of the most powerful women in TV, and certainly the best paid.

Zara Glover, the championship winning tin pin bowler was born in Preston in 1982. She was ranked number 2 in Europe in 2006.

Bill Beaumont OBE, born in Preston on 9 March 1952 (although his family and business are in Chorley, near Preston) is one of England’s best-known rugby union players. In 1972 he was England’s most capped lock forward and longest serving captain. He was also the longest serving contestant on BBC Television’s A Question of Sport…

Johnny Sullivan, born in Preston in 1932 was the British middleweight and Commonwealth Middleweight Champion in 1854. On retirement he ran the Olympia Garage on London Road, Preston.

John Huntington was born in Preston 1832. It is said that he when he moved to the USA he discovered one of the largest oil deposits of the time and the profits from this helped John D Rockerfella found the Standard Oil Company that later became Esso, Exxon and Mobil.

Preston North End football player, Sir Tom Finney was said to be one of the greatest wingers that ever lived. He was included in Channel 4’s show England’s Dream Eleven program. He drove tanks in the Eighth Army during WWII. It is said that during the 1950s Spain’s Real Madrid offered Sir Tom £1,000 to play on loan for them for a couple of matches. Sir Tom refused, saying, ‘I only play for one team, and that is Preston North End’.

St. John Wall is said to have been born near Preston (possibly Chingle Hall). He was a Franciscan and catholic martyr and was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

Arthur Raynerwas a pioneer in radiology who oversaw the first department of radiology in the country. It was in Preston Royal Infirmary. His sister was Preston’s famous female suffragette Edith Rigby. His daughter was Preston born Phoebe Hesketh, a Poet and journalist who also wrote scripts and broadcast for the BBC.

David Johnson attended Highfield Priory School in Preston (one of the leading prep schools in the North West). David, while working for Allen & Overy, acted for Malcom Glazer during the take over of Manchester United Football Club. He also was involved in the merger of Boots plc with Alliance Unichem.

Stephen Darbishire was the first person in England to take photographs of a ‘flying saucer’. His account of the sighting first appeared in Preston’s Lancashire Evening Post on 18 February 1954. The Post was also the first newspaper in the country to publish his photograph and drawings on 26 February 1954.

Birmingham born Kenny Baker lives in Preston. Together with Anthony Daniels he is the only actor credited to appear in every Star Wars film (although he did not star in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith he did get a credit).

In1953 Preston born trumpet player Eddie Calvert was presented with the first ever gold disc for an instrumental for his number one hit, Oh Mein Papa.It made the American top ten. It was also the first ever number one hit to be recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios. It still holds the record for the most weeks at number one for an instrumental.

Eddie was also the first instrumentalist to have had two records hit number one.

Preston based Mark Fell was a four-time national karting champion and has represented England a record five times in international karting. Mark has the claim to fame of having beaten British Formula One+ star Lewis Hamilton in kart races on four occasions.

Adam Hosker, one of the stars of the 2007 series of BBC’s The Apprentice worked at the Sunwin Renault car dealership near the docks in Preston. Adam, from Blackburn, believed that his northern accent led to him being fired from the show.

James Walsh, lead singer with rock band Starsailor used to work in HMV in Preston.

Preston club DJ Pep won a national competition to find the Bar Entertainment and Dance Association DJ of the year in 2007.

Preston born Ranvir Singh regularly presents the BBC North West TV programme.

Rugby Union coach Brian Ashton used to teach at Hutton Grammar School, just outside Preston.

Dave Shearer, who lives in Preston, won the European Radio Programmer of the Year prize in 2007 beating entries from 16 other countries.

Matthew Bispham, a Royal Marine from Preston was presented with the Military Cross by Price Charles in 2007 after a showing bravery in an attack by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Billy McLean, born in Preston in 1835, umpired the very first National League baseball game in the USA. This was in 1876 between the Philadelpha Athletics and the Boston Red Caps. He also once held the record for umpiring the most major league games.

Preston born singer and former florist Stephanie Kirkham scored a 5 album deal with EMI based Hut/Virgin records in 2002 and was said to be the new Kate Bush. When the EMI deal fell through (at the same time Robbie Williams was demanding his £80 million deal!) Stephanie released a new album on her own SLK Music label to great reviews.

Preston born singer Edwina Hayes has had a succesful career playing with Jools Holland, Van Morrison and toured with Lulu, Loudon Wainwright III and Daniel Beddingfield amongst others. One of her tracks ‘I Want YouR Love’ featured on the best selling CD ‘Acoustic Love’.

Preston North End Trivia

In 1886 Preston North End goalkeeper, Arthur Wharton was the second black semi-professional football player in England (not the first professional as commonly thought – Andrew Watson who played for Queens Park 11 years before was the first). He was said to be good enough to play for England, but he was never considered by the FA, due in part to the racial prejudice of the time. He became fully professional in 1889. In 1887 he set the first world record for the 100 yard sprint (10 seconds) at the AAA championships.

 In 1922 Preston North End goalkepper, J F Mitchell, was the first and only player to ware glasses during an FA Cup Final.

 Preston North End legend, Sir Tom Finney OBE, CBE was the first player to be named Footballer of the Year twice – in 1954 and 1957.

Preston North End beat Hyde United 26 – 0 in the FA Cup 1887. This was the highest score in English football.

In 2007 David Nugent became the first Preston player to play for England since Tom Finney 49 years before. He was also the first national team player from a club playing outside of football’s top flight since 2003, and the first outfield player since 1999.

PNE supporters have a custom where they burry a coffin to mourn the relegation of the team. If promoted they dig it up again. There is a Preston football fanzine called Raising the Coffin.

There was short lived trend during the 1970s when PNE supporters used to turn up to matches wearing bowler hats. They were called ‘The Gentry’.

PNE has had many famous managers including Tommy Docherty, Bill Shankly, Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles, Alan Ball (Snr), Craig Brown, Les Chapman (he also scored the goal that clinched PNE’s promotion out of the bottom flight at Leyton Orient in 1987), Everton’s David Moyes, Derby’s Billy Davies and Brian Kidd. Newcastle’s Sam Allardyce once coached at the club.

The oldest surviving FA Cup Trophy is in display at Preston.

It is said that Preston North End scored the first ever goal in the League, but this is disputed.

The £1m Manchester United received as a sell-on clause from Preston North End for player Jon Macken was one of the biggest ever sell-on fees paid out in English football at the time.

Though not the oldest continuously used football ground in the world (that is Maidenhead United) Preston’s Deepdale stadium is the oldest continuously used football league ground in the world.

Preston’s Sir Tom Finney was one of the very first contestants on BBC’s A Question of Sport.

Sir Tom Finney was never booked or sent off during his career.

Bill Shankly, the famous Liverpool manager played for Preston and helped them to win promotion. It was for Preston that Shankly scored his first professional goal in February 1938 – against Liverpool. A few months later he picked up an FA Cup winner’s medal.

In 1886 Preston North End football ‘fans’ notched up a first – arrested for fighting Queens Park fans in a railway station. Another first was in 1905 when several PNE supporters were tried for hooliganism, including a “drunk and disorderly” 70-year-old woman, following their match against Blackburn.

 David Beckham once played for Preston North End in 1995 while on loan from Manchester United. He scored on his debut against Doncaster. Of his time with Preston Davide said ‘joining Preston, I felt that my career was over at Manchester United…but Sir Alex Ferguson assured me it wasn’t the end of my United days and on hindsight it’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my career, going to Deepdale’.

 The first televised cup final was between Preston North End and Huddersfield in 1937 (which PNE won 1-0). It featured just two cameras.

 Preston Motorway Trivia

Before the first motorway was built at Preston the town used to have the largest traffic jams in the UK.

 Even though it was the first motorway to be completed it was called the M6 (not the M1). It was named after the A6 that ran through Preston.

 At the time of opening, the Transport Minister described Preston’s new motorway as an experiment for all other British motorways.

 As well as the first completed motorway Preston had the UK’s first three-level motorway interchange built in wait for the M55. This was originally planned as a roundabout.

Drivers from all parts of the UK came to try out the motorway, even though the sensation probably lasted only a short eight minutes.

The motorway was embarrassingly closed after just seven weeks as parts of it began to crumble away.

To patrol the motorway Lancashire Constabulary used MG sports cars painted white on the top half and bright orange on the bottom half.

Traffic became so heavy that after only eight years a third lane was added to each carriageway.

Traffic cones were used for the first time when building the mototorway in the late 1950s.

There was no speed limit when the motorway first opened.

The first ever motorway traffic jam happened on Preston’s new road – the weekend after opening. Traffic was reduced to a 2 mph crawl.

The first car crash on a motorway happened a week after the opening. A Preston man was sentenced to three months in jail after he crashed a car he took without consent.

From 1993 to 1995 the entire Preston section of the motorway was ripped up and replaced by a brand new dual four lane superhighway. Every single structure between the M61 and M55 was replaced.

Infamous Preston trivia

In 2003 a Preston teenager was the first in the country to have a racially motivated anti-social behaviour order (Asbo).

Did you know trains carrying radioactive nuclear waste regularly pass through Preston from Crewe on their way to Sellafield? The trains carry spent fuel from one the UK’s nuclear reactors to Sellafield for reprocessing. If you want to know it could be any day from Tuesday to Friday at around 7.45 AM.

Corporal Donald Payne, a Queen’s Lancashire Regiment soldier based in Preston became the UK’s first convicted war criminal. Payne admitted a charge of inhuman treatment of Iraqi civilians in Basra in 2003. He was the first soldier in UK history to be charged with the offence.advertisement

In 1848 the life expectancy for the poorest people of Preston was said to be only 18.23 years.

According to the Department of Health records in 2006 life expectancy for men in Preston was 74.7 years. 78.9 years for women. These are both less than the regional and national average.

Edward Stanley, the Preston born 12th Earl of Derby was proud of his reputation of having the best breed of cock-fighting birds in the country. Cock-fighting was considered to be the favourite entertainment at the time.

The average number of decayed, missing and filled teeth in children aged five and under in Preston in 2006 was 3.30 – the highest of all local authorities in England.

During the factory lock-outs in the 1850’s, Preston mill owners imported people from workhouses in Ireland to work in their mills. Union members often captured the workers, gave them a good meal then escorted them back to their ships.

Preston’s ‘ring road’ is misnamed as it virtualy cuts through the centre of the city.

In the churchyard of St Anne’s in Woodplumpton, Preston there is a sign that marks the grave of Meg Shelton – a local witch from the late seventeenth century. Meg was buried head down in a narrow shaft with a large boulder put on top to keep her in her.

Preston based troops, commanded by Brigadier Alex Birtwistle (later to get an Honorary Fellowship from the UCLan) took part in the burial of up to half a million sheep at Greta Orton during the foot and mouth crisis of 2001.

Between 1880 an 1900 Preston had the highest child mortality rate in the country.

The Department of Health 2007 profile for Preston showed that the city had the fifth highest infant death rate in the country.

Preston has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the country according to the 2007 Department of Health profile.

A Barrow council manager accused of killing seven people in Britain’s worst outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2002 was found not guilty at Preston Crown Court (although convicted of breaching health and safety laws and fined £15,000). Six women and one man died after contracting the disease and about 172 others were infected.

George Formby died in Preston in 1961.

Only 20 people turned up to watch Brazil beat Japan on a huge TV screen erected by the BBC in Preston for the 2006 World Cup. The farcical event was criticised in parliament for wasting money on the 27-metre screen which cost £500,000 and £5,000 a day to operate.

During the 1970s, in the Courtaulds factory at Preston non-white male employees were not permitted to sit on the same canteen tables as white female employees.

In July 2006 the Telegraph reported that Preston was England’s worst trouble spot for racist incidents. Official figures showed that there were 3.92 incidents per 1,000 population in 2004-05.

 In 2005 the Callon estate in Preston was in the top 2% of deprived communities in England.

James Billington, born in Preston in 1847, became one of the prolific hangmen in the country (he executed 147 people). For his last hanging in 1901 his assistant was Henry Pierpoint, perhaps the most famous Public Executioner.

Oscar Wilde wrote a poem called The Ballard of Reading Gaol in 1898 which was inspired by murderer Thomas Wooldridge. James Billington executed Wooldridge in 1896.

Car clamping company National Clamps was based in Preston. It worked for 667 customers at 1,400 sites in 330 towns and cities across the country.

 Preston is thought to have the first electric tram related death when Agnes Hutchinson was knocked down by one in 1904.

Chingle Hall, Near Preston, is reputedly the most haunted house in The UK. It is believed that a total of 16 spirits haunt the Hall.

Houghton Tower near Preston is said to be the country’s third most haunted house.

A report in the News of the World in 2003 said that more prisoners abscond from Kirkham Prison near Preston than anywhere else in the country, with 911 walking out over the previous five years.

Harold Shipman was convicted at Preston Crown Court on 31 January 2000 of the murder of 15 of his patients while he was a General Practitioner in Hyde, near Manchester and of one count of forging a will. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He stayed in Preston Prison for a while before moving to Wakefield.

Preston prison is regularly said to be the most overcrowded in the country housing double the number of inmates it was intended for.

Jane Scott was tried in Preston in 1827 and found guilty of the murder of her mother. She was executed in Lancaster in March 1828. She was too weak to walk to the gallows so she was placed in a chair which was wheeled out of the door and onto the scaffold. You can still see ‘Jane Scott’s Chair’ in The Drop Room of Lancaster Castle.

In 1991 McDonald’s made a series of out-ofcourt payments to people who fell ill after eating burgers at its Preston branch. Several customers were hospitalised as a result of eating burgers contaminated with E-Coli 0157H bacteria, which is potentially fatal, but the restaurant did not admit liability.

It was said that Preston at the turn of the 20th century had 365 pubs, ‘a pub for every day of the year’.

Preston cemetery is one of the largest civilian cemeteries in Europe.

One of Bing Crosby’s last ever performances was at the Guild Hall Preston on 22 September 1977. He died on 14 October 1977.

The ‘Weekend Prison’ scheme, where prisoners are only locked up at the weekends was unveiled in 2004 by the then Home Secretary David Blunkett at Kirkham Prison near Preston. The idea was abandoned 2 years later.

The trial of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson who murdered 2 year old James Bulger was held at Preston Crown Court in November 1993. It is said that they lived at a secret location in or near Preston during the trial. Both boys were ordered to be detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. They have since been released.

In Preston during 1989 there were three Saturday nights in succession resulting in major street battles, initially between two rival factions but resulting in clashes with the police. It is said that this was when the reputation of the town centre as a violent place was established. In fact the main city centre drinking area, Church Street is known as ‘psycho alley’.

Some Preston registered ships participated in the slave trade.

A Chinese gang master was tried at Preston Crown Court in September 2005, charged with 21 counts of manslaughter. The prosecution arose from the deaths of at least 21 Chinese cockle pickers who drowned in Morecambe Bay in February 2004. The gang master was accused of gross negligence.

Whittingham Mental Hospital, just outside Preston had 3,533 patients in 1939 making it the largest in the country at that time. The hospital once had its own brewery, post office, brass band, and railway line.

The encephalographic (EEG machine) was invented at Whittingham. It was said to be constructed from war surplus items. After it featured in the medical journal the Lancet great interest was shown by the American Department for Space Medicine (later to become NASA).

The Royals in Preston

The royals have a long history associated with Preston, mainly by passing through it on the way to somewhere else, such as when in1847 Queen Victoria passed through Preston on her way home from Ireland.

Edward III and his army visited Preston in 1333 on his way to Scotland.

James I spent some time at Preston in 1617 on his way to a hunting trip at nearby Houghton Tower (when the myth that he knighted a particularly nice loin of beef ‘sir’ arose)

Charles II was proclaimed King in Preston on his way from Scotland in 1649.

James Stuart, son of James II was prematurely crowned James III in Preston during the Jacobite revolution of 1715.

James Stuart’s son, Charles (Bonnie Price Charlie) Stuart stopped in the town in 1745 on his unsuccessful attempt to claim the throne of England.

Queen Victoria passed through Preston again in 1853. This time she had lunch at the railway station.

On Tuesday, 8th July 1913, King George V and Queen Mary visited Preston. They had lunch at the Bull and Royal Hotel.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth paid Preston a visit on 17th May, 1938.

On May 7th 1974, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh travelled by train from Preston to Glasgow over the newly electrified lines. There is a plaque on Preston railway station to commemorate the occasion.

Prince Albert, son of Queen Victoria (and alter to be King Edward VII) opened Preston docks in 1892. There is a foundation stone that commemorates the occasion at the docks, but it can only be seen when the water in the basin is at a low level.

Diana, The Princess of Wales, officially opened the Royal Preston Hospital on 1 June 1983. She also visited Preston in1993 to open a modern extension to St. Catherine’s Hospice at Lostock Hall.

 Queen Elizabeth II came to Preston in 1949 (before she was Queen), in 1972 for the Guild, 1977 and 1979 to unveil the obelisk in the town square. The Queen last visited Preston in 2002 when she bestowed city status to the town. Preston Council provided a live web cast of the visit using their new Internet site.

Corn Exchange Trivia

The old Corn Exchange building on Lune Street, Preston is one of the City’s most fascinating buildings. It later became Preston’s Public Hall and exhibition centre

The southern part of the Lancaster to Preston canal terminated next to the building. There were wharfs where corn and coal was loaded and unloaded.

The Temperance Movement held their Jubilee celebrations in the Hall in 1882.

Galloway Society for the Blind held a public meeting in Corn Exchange at Preston in 1867 to establish organised welfare work for the Blind in the town which marked the beginning of the Society.

In 1828, a group of 24 men met at the Corn Exchange to set up the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge. This eventually evolved into the University of Central Lancashire. The day is still celebrated as the University’s Founders’ Day.

Amongst famous bands to play at the old public hall were the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Deep Purple and Genesis (supporting Van Der Graaf Generator – tickets 50p).

70’s super group Barclay James Harvest were due to play at the Hall on 19 April 1971 but refused go on stage due to a fault with the PA system.

The Preston coat of arms, rescued from the original town hall can be clearly seen above the entrance.

Four workers killed by the military for demonstrating during the general strike of 1842 are commemorated in stone outside the old Public Hall. The statue is based on the painting The Executions of the Third of May by Francisco de Goya. Most people visiting the statue do not ‘get’ the connection and consider the statue too morbid. It was erected in 1992 on the 150th anniversary of the shooting. Also, the soldiers and demonstrators as shown are facing the wrong way along Lune Street.

Sir John Barbarolli said the Public Hall had the finest acoustics in the North of England.

Lancashire County Council applied for listed building consent to demolish most of the Hall in order to make way for the Ringway, keeping the front part dating back 1820. The Councils original proposal to knock down the whole building was rejected by the Secretary of State in 1979.

There was an outcry as there was no plan to preserve the historic Wilkinson organ inside the Hall. This organ, with an impressive 32′ front was completed for the Preston Guild of 1882 and created national interest. English Heritage allowed the back end of the Public Hall containing the organ to be demolished. They said the organ should be stored until a new use could be found. After removal it was moved twice more, being damaged in the process. The organ is now so damaged it will never be restored.

Absolutely Trivial

Most pictorial depictions of the lamb on Preston’s crest are anatomically incorrect. If the lamb tried to stand up from its kneeling position shown in, say the official Preston Council version, it would probably fall over.

Cult band Joy Division released an album recorded at their live performance in Preston at the Warehouse in 1980.

In Penwortham, Preston, there is a mound called Castle Hill, which is said to have been used in Saxon and Norman times, and there is a possibility that it was a prehistoric tumulus. Legend tells of a ghostly platoon of Roman soldiers, seen on several occasions around the bottom of Penwortham Hill.

St Walburge’s church in Preston has the heaviest swinging bell in Lancashire.

The limestone blocks that make up the first 30 feet of Preston’s St. Walburge’s tower were originally used as sleepers on the nearby Preston to Lancaster railway.

St. Walburge’s church in Preston is virtually the only church in the country to be dedicated to St Walburga, a British born saint who is very popular in Germany. It is said that during World War Two the Germans purposely avoiding bombing the church.

A campaign by a postman from Preston brought back Ringos! The snacks were introduced in 1972 but axed in the 90s after a slump in sales. The postman wrote to Golden Wonder, who challenged him to find at least 10,000 Ringo other lovers. He hit the target in two months and Golden Wonder agreed to relaunch the brand.

Writer Daniel (Robinson Crusoe) Defoe visited Preston and called it ‘a fine town…the town is full of attorneys, proctors, and notaries, the process of law here being of a different nature than they are in other place…Here is a great deal of good company’.

At Inskip, near to Preston is one of the largest Defence Communication Services Agency (DCSA) Radio centres in the country. The extensive aerial array emits high powered tri-service radio and microwave signals plus low frequency transmissions to submarines (often prowling the Irish Sea entering and leaving the Barrow submarine pens).

You know Nick (Wallace and Gromit) Park was born in Preston in 1958. Did you know his middle name is Wulstan?

John Tyndall ranked as one of Ireland’s most successful scientists and educators studied in Preston in 1842. He is perhaps best known for the explanation of why the sky is blue – the scattering of light by small particles suspended in the atmosphere. The colour is known as Tyndall Blue.

Umberto Frediani and his wife once worked at Whittingham Hospital near Preston before opening arguably the most famous chip shop in Preston. Umberto’s son, Preston born Richard Frediani became a TV journalist and Granada Reports editor.

Richard’s team at Granada Reports were nominated for a BAFTA in 2007 for a half-hour special on the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster. This was the first time ever that a regional programme had been nominated for this award.

Oliver Cromwell is said to have stayed the night at the Old Unicorn Inn at Walton-le-Dale, just to the south of Preston. The pub is now Pinocchio’s Italian Restaurant.

In the Walton-le-dale churchyard of St Leonard’s, just to the south of Preston the astrologer John Dee with a man called Kelly attempted to raise a recently deceased woman with the hope of discovering where treasure was buried.

TV presenter Jeremy Kyle spent 3 days filming in the city during March 2007 for a programme looking at what issues affected communities in places like Preston.

Adactus Housing Group piloted the ‘Tardis’ Terrace house scheme in Preston in 2003 the ’Tardis’ effect is achieved by opening up the roof of the terrace house, installing a mezzanine bedroom and swapping round the front living room and rear kitchen areas of a traditional two-up two-down.

In 1668 John Brabin tried to set up in business in Preston as a clothier. However the Preston rag trade was a closed shop and Brabin instead opened a store in Chipping, near Preston. The Chipping shop is now said to be the oldest trading outpost in the UK.

In 1771 Preston had an ‘Oyster and Parched Pea’ Club.

The Bull and Royal pub in Preston has had many famous visitors over the years. It also has a set of ornate lifts that have been listed. The Duchess of Hamilton gave birth to her son here in 1703.

Film and TV star Samantha Morton researched her role as Myra Hindley in the BBC drama Longford by visiting Wymott Prison, Preston.

St Wilfrid is the patron saint of Preston.

In 1813 St. Wilfrid’s church in Preston had claim to be the largest Catholic church in the country.

The now demolished (for a car park) St. Mary’s church off Friargate, Preston is said to have been the first post-reformation Catholic Church in the country.

Preston band STAR 27 were featured insession from Maida Vale in March 2007 on Radio1s in new music we trust show by Steve Lamacq, on 15th March they were filmed live at UCLan’s 53 Degrees and interviewed by MTV for feature throughout April, May and June on MTV2 & MTV Hits.

In 2002 Preston council’s allotment service was voted the best in the UK after being awarded the Acland Trophy by the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners in recognition of the excellent quality of services and facilities provided.

Just to the north of Preston is Robinson and Sons Ltd, home of the Mammoth Onion, The award winner can growto over 6lb in weight and 22″ in circumference.

Author Anthony Burgess, who wrote A Clockwork Orange, was a lecturer at a college in Bamber Bridge near Preston.

Legendary darts commentator Sid Waddell recorded his first ever commentary in November 1977 at a match near Preston.

The main switchgear in the generating compartment in the ill-fated ocean liner the Titanic was built by Dorman-Smith who used to be based on Blackpool Road in Preston.

The Lancashire Evening Post reported in 1985 that Chefs at Barton Grange hotel, just north of Preston broke the world record for the longest Yule Log ever made.

 Preston based Pure TV (Jason Karl) filmed the pilot episode of The TV Chef in which two transvestite cooks tour the UK. It featured Julie Goodyear and Ken Morley. It was shot in 2004 at Truth on Glovers Court, Preston. It was later screened at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

Stone Roses front man, Ian Brown spent two weeks at her majesty’s pleasure in the open prison in Kirkham, just outside Preston.

The outline of the ring that was used for bull and bear baiting can still be seen at one of the corners of Preston’s Flagged Market square.

St. George’s church in Preston has a casket containing a relic of St. Eanrawythe, an Anglo-Saxon princess who was Abbess of Folkstone monastery.

An episode of Peter Kay’s Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere was filmed in Preston Prison. You can clearly see PNE written on a cell wall.

Musician Keef Hartley was born in Preston in 1944. His claim to fame was that he was Ringo Starr’s replacement as drummer in the band Rory Storm and The Hurricanes.

The ABC cinema, on the site of the old Theatre Royal on Fishergate, Preston was officially opened by British film star Richard Todd in 1959. The Reluctant Debutante was the film on show.

In 1758 Preston was described as ‘one of the prettiest retirements in England”. 100 years later parts of town were said to be amongst the worst in the country.

Paul Burns from Preston invented a machine that could help save lives. He developed an early warning system to alert residents living near chemical or nuclear plants to impending disasters in their area. His invention was an electronic system which plugs into electrical sockets, raising the alarm by flashing colours, vibrating and sounding warning tones. Under European Union rules, areas surrounding hazardous sites like nuclear or chemical plants have an obligation to warn residents about leaks or threats.

Corporal Dave Mitchell, based at Fulwood barracks in Preston was named as the military’s Butcher of the Year in 2006.

Hollywood movie star Guy Pearce, who started in films such as Memento and LA Confidential, apperaed in Cinderella at Preston’s Guild Hall in 1989.

Built in Preston in 1905, the Johannesburg 60 tram has featured in many film and TV productions.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, provided one of his Hercules planes so Mosques in Preston could take aid to Indonesia after the tsunami disaster on Boxing Day 2004.

Founded in 1918-9 Ribble Motor Services, based in Preston, was one of the UK’s largest and most popular bus companies.

At least 4 times a (academic) year Preston witnesses ‘Carnage’ the legendary student pub/bar crawl.

In 2004 Asif Hamid from Preston bought a leek inside which was the word Allah in its Arabic form inscribed in it. “I don’t normally buy leeks,” he said. “But when I had a closer look at the end it was crystal clear. It was the word Allah in its Arabic form”.

The pub in Preston called ‘Doctor Syntax’ is named after a famous race horse who won the Preston Gold Cup from 1815 to 1821 (itself named after a cartoon character of the day).

In 2005 seven year old Preston girl Ashleigh Swales became the youngest person in the county to receive a Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation for her bravery. She saved her family from a fire caused by a discarded cigarette.

In 2005 Preston T-Mobile store had the second best sales (after their store in London’s Oxford Street) for the whole of the country.

Preston born John “I’m free” Inman was cousin to actor Josephine Tewson from Keeping up Appearances. She was married to leonard Rossiter, who acting debut was in Preston.

Preston’s Guild Hall regularly hosts international badminton matches including the European Championships.

Preston Pride Basketball Club was the largest junior club in Lancashire.

The statue of Sir Robert Peel in Winckley Square was unveiled mayor Dr T Monk in 1852. In 1857 Dr Monk was convicted of forging a will and was sentenced to penal servitude for life. Preston Corporation erased his name from the base of the statue

In 1996 Preston engineers Frank Burke and Dr Kristan Bromley designed a revolutionary new type bob sled for use in the 1998 Winter Olympics. Dr Bromley who got involved in the sport as part of a research project carried out by his employer, British Aerospace in Preston, went on to become skeleton bobsleigh world champion and participated in two Olympics.

Comedian Lenny Henry retook his ‘O’ levels at Preston Collage (then called WR Tuson College) while appearing in summer season at Blackpool in the early 1980s.

Europe’s original charity for the rehabilitation of racehorses, The Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre. used to be based in Nateby just north of Preston. The centre cared for ex-racehorses, including 1984 Grand National winner Hallo Dandy.

Willy Banjo’s in Preston is said to be one of the biggest and best smoke product suppliers in the country. Trading since 1993 Banjo’s was one of the first head shops in the UK.  They have become one of the webs best suppliers of smoking products and associated paraphernalia.

It was widely reported in May 2007 that two high profile alleged Mafia mobsters were hiding out in Preston. However they were found in Poulton Le Fylde and Catterall, small villages just to the north of Preston. Vittorio Pisanom, the chief of the Naples flying squad said “Preston seems a rather unusual place to hide. When I heard that he (Gennaro Panzuto) had been located in Preston I had to look it up in an atlas.”

All Hallows in Preston is one of a handful of schools in the country that trialled electronic scanners to prevent pupils cheating in exams by using their mobile telephones. The devices, which are small enough to clip to an invigilator’s belt, can detect when a mobile phone is being used.

Ribble Steam Railway, based on Preston docks has a railway line running along the docks that is said to be unique. As it runs over the swing bridge at Preston marina any train timetable will be interrupted by boats waiting to enter the dock basin.

The 2005 Clark’s shoe commercial Preston is my Paris was shot in, yes, Preston.

Preston provided the backdrop to a Crunchy Nut Cornflakes TV commercial in 2007.

George Green from Preston entered the fairground business in 1860 (when a customer failed to pay for a carved wooden horse and George made his first merry-go-round). He later moved to Glasgow and became the pioneer of cinema exhibition in that city opening many theatres and cinemas.

Preston is the central point of the 10,000-mile National Cycle Network.

There is a plaque between the first and second floors of number 7, dedicated to accountant James Todd who founded Preston’s Ribble Motors in 1924. His ashes remain behind this plaque to this day.

In June 2004 the Lancashire Evening Post reported that Preston could become the country’s nuclear dustbin. The Environment Agency (EA) proposed plans to allow Springfields processing plant, at Salwick, to dump up to four times more radioactive waste to the Clifton Marsh tip just outside Preston. Geoff Driver a Preston City Councillor said: “We have concerns that the EA are making Clifton Marsh into the country’s nuclear dustbin by stealth”. British Nuclear Fuels confirmed in 2001 that they had dumped powdered uranium in the tip (although they wrapped it up in plastic bags first).

The Salwick plant also discharges low level radioactive waste into the River Ribble near Preston.

A 2003 report from the Food Standards Agency said that shellfish harvested in the Ribble Estuary at Preston would exceed the proposed guideline levels of combined levels of four radionuclide (too much radiation basically) if new limits for plutonium and tritium in food were introduced.

In 1123 the French monks of Savigny set up their first English monastery in Tulketh, Preston. They later moved to Furness Abbey, near Ulverston.

For a short while a young William Shakespeare is reputed to have been part of the boy’s choir at Lea Hall in Preston.

The Royal Astronomical Society’s regularly have National Astronomy Meetings in Preston.

The UCLan has introduced a Sports Technology degree for Tennis. The BSc (Hons) is the first degree in the UK of its kind designed to help fulfil the Lawn Tennis Association’s Blueprint for British Tennis.

In July 2007 the Royal Preston Hospital unveiled a new £6 million scanner and production unit, to help in the fight against cancer. It is the first of its kind in the UK and one of only two in the world.

Preston Council is considering ‘Flock to the City’, a ‘Civic Awareness Campaign’, that will for a 12 month period place 320 fibreglass sheep throughout the City on public and private land. It is hoped that this will attract over 250,000 tourists Preston. The sheep will have their own security firm looking after them.

Secret plans for the design of the Canberra jet aircraft were drawn up in secret in a garage on Corporation Street, Preston during the end of the Second World War.

Until recently Preston was under Labour control and had been since the creation of that political party in 1945.

You can use Preston as a surname and a forename, so you can be called Preston Preston if you wished. You cannot do this with any other English city (as far as I know).

If you are a Glasgow Rangers fan try to avoid the Railway Hotel across from Preston station as it is designated a ‘Celtic friendly pub’.

In 1818 the landlord of the Old Black Bull, Preston broke records by growing 1440Ibs of potatoes in a garden less than ten yards square.

The words around the top of the Harris museum in the centre of Preston read “On Earth, there is nothing Great but Man. In man, there is nothing Great but Mind”. Hundreds a sheets of gold leaf were used as an inlay to the letters.

The Preston Central Methodist church on Lune Street in Preston, built in 1817, was one of the first public buildings in the country to be lit by gas.

The graveyard of St. George’s Church in Preston contains the last resting place of Samuel Horrocks brother of John Horrocks, the cotton king.

St. George’s church in Preston was partly reconstructed in1885 with funds supplied by Edmund Robert Harris, whose money built the Harris Library and museum. This was in memory of his dad Revd. Robert Harris, former incumbent of St. George’s. A marble figure of Robert Harris lies in the church. It was sculptured by Preston born T. Duckett, who also made a bust of Robert Harris, now in the Harris Museum.

The organ in St. George’s church was built in 1865 by Henry Willis. It was inaugurated by W.T. Best who was regarded as the finest organist in the world.

Brewer InBev’s Samlesbury plant, near Preston, was selected by the U.K. Government’s Health and Safety Executive as a best practice case study on its website. The study highlighted InBev’s positive response to and prevention of accidents at the site. The brewery is one of the largest employers in the area.

Stella Artois, Becks and Castlemaine XXXX are brewed in England by InBev at Samlesbury near Preston. They also began to produce Boddingtons “Cream of Manchester” beer when the Manchester brewery closed.

Police in Preston, backed by the local NHS primary care trust, say pub customers in should only be served if they are seated.They want to ban drinking while standing and have said that people who drink while sitting behave better, and are less violent than those who drink standing up.

InBev at Samlesbury near Preston also produce Bass Ale. Bass is symbolized by a red triangle, recognized as the world’s first registered trademark.

The old name for Preston’s Ribble, Belisama, is from a Celtic goddess who has connections to lakes and rivers. Ptolemy the famous ancientEgyptian astronomer wrote about a “Belisama aest” which is taken to be the Ribble estuary.

Preston hospital was to be named the Royal Infirmary of Preston (RIP) but after some thought they decided to call it the Preston Royal Infirmary instead.

The first death on Preston new motorway (M6) was caused by a motorist travelling over 100mph who later lost control of the car and was killed almost instantly (so Preston’s motorway, as well as being the first had the first motorway traffic jams, crash and death!) .

The red hard shoulder concept was first used on the new motorway.

Preston bus station did not have a number 13 stand from the inside (but it does from the outside).

Preston’s Deepdale ground hosted four games during the Women’s European Football tournament in 2005.

The paths and walkways of Preston civilian cemetery were built in the shape of a giant butterfly (go on Google Earth and you can just about see the outline).

During the late 1900’s Preston had the highest death rate in the country.

Watling Street Road in Preston follows the line of a Roman Road than ran from Ribchester to Kirkham.

The plaque showing the birth place of Preston’s Victorian poet, Francis Thompson, in Winckley Street is wrong. Thompson was born at his parents house at 4 St. Ignatius’ Square.

The first covered market construction in Preston built by the firm Clayton’s totally collapsed and was rebuilt by Allcock’s. You can see their name on the base of each support pillar.

Millar arcade in Preston is said to be the country’s first steel framed building.

A local legend says that the bells of the long gone St. Mary Magdalen leper hospital can be heard chiming at midnight beneath the grounds of St Walburge’s Church. Another local legend states that spire sits on foundations made of cotton bales, to allow movement.

In 1981 St. Georges shopping arcade in Preston had the country’s first environmental control system to be installed in a working shopping centre.

Preston’s hospital at Sharoe Green opened a revolutionary operating theatre for joint-replacement surgery, the first in the country.

Aloysius Smith, known as Trader Horn, was born in Preston in 1861. In his day he was a well known author, story teller and traveller. Two Hollywood films were made about his life. He was for a while part of Buffalo Bill’s travelling circus and Wild West Show.

Buffalo Bill’s wife helped to deliver Trader Horn’s son William at around 1886.

Preston was visited by Buffalo Bill’s famous travelling show. The last time was in 1904 when they encamped to Penwortham Holme.

Thomas Yates, whose name appears above a shop in the Market Square, Preston was the inventor of the dead beat lever, a mechanism inside watches.

English National Brass Band Championships will be held at the Guild Hall in Preston during 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Goodgreef at Preston 53 Degrees was voted Best Club in the North West 2005 by clubbing bible Mixmag.

The bright orange three wheeler Bong Bug motor cars, first produced in Preston in 1970 became a style icon of the 70’s.

In the 1960’s the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) planned “experiments involving exposure of volunteers to radiation”. Some of these tests using uranium were planned for the Springfield nuclear plant near Preston.

George Formby and his first wife, Beryl, used to live near Preston for a short while until they had to move due to George’s habit of loudly playing his radio during the night.

After the death of his first wife George Formby met Pat Howson, a Preston school teacher. He had received a get well card from Pat while he was in hospital in Blackpool. George knew her father, Fred Howson who ran Loxhams Garage in Preston. George was to marry Pat and settle down in Lea, Preston but he had a heart attack at her parent’s house in Penwortham, Preston. George later died in St. Joseph’s hospital in Preston.

Bako, the county’s largest bakery distributor has its regional headquarters in Preston.

The Preston Mayor’s ceremonial chain features representations of Henry I and II, Elizabeth I, and Charles II, the Kings and Queen reaffirmed Preston’s Guild Charters.

In 1702 the Duke of Hamilton presented Preston with the silver Great Mace. It was for the help given to his wife during the safe birth of his son while they were at the Bull and Royal Hotel.

Courtaulds textile factory in Preston was the largest of its kind in Europe when it opened in 1938.

Courtaulds also had two of the tallest factory chimneys in the country at the time.

The Deltic locomotive, designed in Preston on Strand Road was the most powerful diesel train in the world.

The engine used for Deltic was designed for high-powered motor torpedo boats.

For three days during July 2007 Preston hosted ‘Blast Theory – Can You See Me Now?’ an online game which was played simultaneously on the Internet and on the streets of Preston. As the player moved through a virtual map of Preston, ‘runners’, on the streets of the City, using hand held computers, tried to catch them out.

The UCLan’s Department of Forensic and Investigative Science is the fastest growing provider of forensic science education in the university sector.

Crime figures released in 2007 shows Preston with the second highest number of violent offences in the country (although it had reduced by 8% from the previous year).

Mentioned in the Voice, The Diocese of Lancaster magazine, the Talbot library next to St. Walburge’s church is “Lancashire’s best kept secret”. With a stock of over 50,000 books, the library is said to be one of the foremost theological libraries in the country. The library is now part of the UCLan.

St. Walburge’s steeplewas the last to be worked upon by steeplejack and TV personality Fred Dibnah. The church also hosts charity abseils down the Spire.

An article published in the Lancashire Life Magazine in July 2004 describes St. Walburge’s church as one of The Seven Wonders of Lancashire.

Granada TV broadcast a series of My Favourite Hymns filmed at St. Walburge’s church during 2003.

Engineer James Clayton, born in Preston in 1869, is associated with developing washing, spinning and bleaching machines. He was intimately involved in the success of the Courtaulds factory at Red Scar. He invented the Clayton multiple piston spinning pump. The James Clayton Prize, an engineering award, is named in his honour.

In 1975 the was officially opened in Preston. It was the third building in the country with dedicated facilities for Hindu prayer.

Cotton magnate John Horrocks who gave Preston Centenary Mill on New Hall lane, Preston, is buried next to St. Mary’s Church.

In March 2002 Vajivarai Buddhists in Preston unveiled on of the largest statues of Buddha in Europe at their centre in Preston.

Built by the John Horrocks Company in 1891 Centenary Mill on New Hall lane in Preston was constructed with a revolutionary steel frame.

In the 1980s and 90s Preston was said to produce half the national output of blue jeans and at least 20% of all jeans bought in the UK were made in Preston.

Preston is twinned with the French town of Niemes, after which the word ‘denim’ was coined.

A section of 2000 year old Roman road is on display at Red Scar just to the east of Preston. It has been described as one of Lancashires best kept secrets as there is no road sign to pinpoint the location. It is just off Roman Way.

The first cotton mill in Preston built in 1777 by William Collinson. It was on Moor Lane and was powered by the windmill part of which can still be seen at nearby Craggs Row.

On the northbound M6 motorway, between Preston and Lancaster, 9/11 truth activists branded a motorway advert lorry with a 9/11 truth web site. WWW.AE911TRUTH.ORG could be clearly seen from the motorway and it is said that it was seen by at least 302,400 people a week.

The Government undertook a ‘hearts and minds’ project based both in Preston and the East of London. It looked to see if Islam and democracy can ever find common ground.

John Cottam, who taught at Shakespeare’s School in Stratford-Upon-Avon, knew Thomas Hoghton, who owned Hoghton Tower and Lea Hall in Preston. Cottam suggested that Shakespeare come to Lancashire to teach, spending some time in Preston. It is said that he changed his surname to ‘Shakshafte’ while in Lancashire (the name of Shakespeare’s grandfather). This theory is discussed in a TV programme called ‘In Search of Shakespeare – The Lost Years’ by Michael Wood. Houghton Tower regularly present plays by Shakespeare.

Preston’s blind bowlers were crowned UK champions just weeks after the club celebrated its 25th anniversary. They beat teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to become champions of the British Blind Sport UK Outdoor Triples in August 2007.

Richard Arton, born in Preston in 1921, worked for Stephen Simpson’s. While here he was commissioned to design an evening bag presented to HRH Queen Elizabeth on her visit to the town in 1938; design of the lettering and heraldic crests on the Wedding Cake of HRH Elizabeth II and Prince Philip; refurbishment of the Royal Order Garters belonging to the Queen and Winston Churchill. He was also a Green Beret in the Commandos during WWII.

A once famous event in the Preston calendar was the raft race which took place over a seven mile course from Balderstone to Walton Bridge near Preston.

The Felixstowe F3 flying boat was built in Preston. The Wren made its first night from Ashton Park on Preston on 5 April 1923.

The SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) centre, based at the Royal Preston Hospital was the first such purpose built centre in the UK.

Adam Catterall, DJ for 97.4 Rock FM based in Preston won The European Radio Award’s Best Breakfast Personality in 2007. He was also the best UK Commercial Radio Presenter of 2007.

Preston’s bus station features in the book ‘1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die’.

Preston policeman PC Dave Johnson has obtained more ASBOs than any other officer in the UK.

Foul mouthed Paul Danan was fined £80 by police for swearing during the Preston Christmas light switch on in November 2007. He was later fired from the local panto.

Preston’s Barton Grange, won a national competition to find the best garden centre Christmas display in 2007.

In 2007 Preston footballer Joan Whalley joined the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame. She played for Dick Kerr Ladies in the late 1930’s and joins such legends as Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Dennis Bergkamp.

In 2005-6 Preston was ninth highest on a list of all local authorities for female alcohol-related hospital admissions.

In 2007 Helen MacGregor and Charlotte Sutton, from All Hallows school in Penwortham, Preston won a competition to be chosen as the UK entrants into a Google logo design competition.

Kayleigh Newsome, who lived in Preston, inspired Fish, lead singer with rock band Marillion, to pen the number 2 hit linked to her name. She met Fish while she was studying at Manchester University.

Preston was the first North West town to get postal coding (before Liverpool or Manchester).

In 2007 US inspired ‘Peer Panels’ opened for the first time in Europe in Preston. The ‘restorative justice’ centre will seek reparation from victims involved in crime.

In 2007 first place in the National Tilley Awards for Problem Oriented Policing went to Preston’s PC’s Dave Johnson and Gary Salisbury for their ‘MOPPIN up Dodge’ imitative that focused on an area in Preston known as ‘Dodge City’.

Camille Scott-Bradshaw from Preston was one of the survivors of the London bombing of the No30 bus at Euston Station on July 7, 2005. She was on board the bus at Tavistock Square when it was blown apart by a suicide bomber. Camille spent three weeks in St Thomas’ Hospital before returning to Preston.

Preston’s old central Post Office on Birely Street was measured as the most efficient counter in England a few months before a decision was made to close it down.

In 2007 Preston was the parking ticket capital of Lancashire with more tickets issued than anywhere else in the county. In six months 12,051 penalty charge notices were handed out in just six months (making £351,530) of which only 8,753 had been paid.

The 2006 Mayor of Preston: Bill Tyson once won the Best Post Office in Lancashire whilst in charge of his post office on Blackpool Road, Preston.

David Taylor, a Preston businessman and Chairman of the East Lancashire regeneration company Elevate, was awarded a CBE for his services to urban regeneration in the Queen’s birthday honours list of 2008. Mr. Taylor previously worked as a special advisor to Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott.

In 1996 the 60s rock group The Animals played a concert at Preston North End’s football ground. The band had previously teamed up with PNE players to record their own version of the band’s House of The Rising Sun on CD to help raise funds for young footballers.

In 2004 Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the new Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is based just outside Preston. Mr Hinckley’s first missionary assignment in England was Preston in 1933.

In 2008 Preston cab driver Peter Cowley was the first person in the country to successfully defend himself against the charge of flouting the smoking ban in private hire cabs (however he was later banned from driving after admitting driving with ‘excess alcohol’).

Alexandra Wren from Preston qualified for the World Irish Dancing Championships for the seventh year in a row in 2009. 22 year old Alex is considered ranked in the top ten best Irish dancers in the country.

The number one hit ‘Dance Wiv Me’ is said to have been written by rapper Dizzee Rascal during his stay in Preston while attending the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend in July 2008. Without Preston there would have been no hit record!

It was at Preston High Court that a decision was made to allow compensation payments for Gurkhas held in Japanese prisoner of war camps. Before this Gurhas were barred from the £10,000 payout received by other prisoners of war because of their race. Mr Justice McCombe said that the decision to exclude the Gurkhas from compensation given to other prisoners of war was irrational and “inconsistent with the principle of equality that is the cornerstone of our law.”

Preston born Dr. Bernard Towers, Professor Emeritus at the UCLA School of Medicine, was Director of Medical Studies at the University of Cambridge’s Jesus College. His studies and research were on S.I.D.S. and the fetal lung. Dr. Towers’ research on the fetal lung led him to discover an anatomical part that he named the “pneumon.” He also pioneered the examination of controversial issues in biomedical ethics at UCLA by founding and leading the Medicine and Society Forum, in collaboration with Norman Cousins.

Butter pies were served on match days at Preston’s football stadium until 2007 when the providers, Ashworth Foods Ltd, ceased trading. With the new providers, Holland Pies not offering a butter pie, two Preston North End fans started a campaign on facebook calling for the return of butter pies to the matchday menu.

In Preston, once reputed the most Catholic town in England, chippies regularly serve butter pies as an alternative to the Catholic practice of eating fish (as opposed to meat) on Fridays

In the film ‘Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the WereRabbit‘ the tax disk on Wallace’s van is in “Preston Green.” This name was decided upon by the Art Director and one of the founders of the International Austin A30/A35 Register in honour of Nick Park’s home town of Preston. England. It is also a reference to the ferocious dog in ‘A Close Shave’.

The rear fuselage of Concorde was manufactured by the British Aircraft Corporation in Preston

First ever carbon negative fuel developed from waste chocolate was developed in Preston in 2007

Preston was one of the few towns in England to have a fully open sided market hall and in fact in remains open sided while others have since been enclosed.

Preston Town Hall, originally called the Municipal Buildings, was built in1933-4 to the designs of Sir Arnold Thornley who had also designed the Northern Ireland parliament building at Stormont, Belfast.

Lily Maxwell who came from Preston became the first woman to vote in a parliamentary election in 1867. However, this was due to an error as she was mistakenly placed on the electoral role because she owned a shop (in Manchester) and was a taxpayer. Her vote was later declared invalid.

The last two men to be hanged in the UK, Peter Anthony Allen and Gwynne Owen Evans both lived in Preston for a while. Both were executed on 13 August 1964. They stole a car in Preston to travel to the home of the person they later murdered.

While playing for Preston North End Howard Kendall became the youngest person (at 17) to play in a Football FA Cup Final

Preston’s Freddy Flintoff holds the record for the most sixes scored for England, which beats the previous record held by Ian Botham.

According to a 2009 Endsleigh Insurance survey Preston was said to be the place in England least likely to be burgled. Residents in the city were found to be the least likely to fall victim to household theft

Preston was used for a location in the 1960s ‘kitchen sink’ film drama A Kind of Loving (where the Harris Museum can clearly be seen).

Raymond Bamber, who worked in Preston, was the British Flight Champion in 1964 for shooting an arrow more than 500 yards. He also made it into the Guinness Book of Records.

The editor-in-chief of The independent newspaper studied journalism at the UCLan in Preston.

One of the worlds first computers, the Digital Electronic Universal Computing Engine (DEUCE) was used in Preston by English Electric Aviation to design aircraft such as the Canberra, Lightning and TSR2.

Early in her career comedian Victoria Wood used to record advertising jingles for Preston’s Red Rose Radio. She did this on a piano that used to belong in The New Sun Inn pub.

In 2007 Preston sprinter Danielle Rooney was number one in the country for the under-17 80 meters event.

The Preston Telephonic Exchange used to provide electric signals for the Government to be supplied all over the country.

The biggest motor home showroom in the UK is Todds Mobile Leisure in Lostock Hall, Preston.

Preston has the largest Chinese student population in Britain which stands at 1,400.

Preston born Dr Michael Hill Robinson was a pioneer in the development of ‘bioparks’, allowing animals and people to mingle without cages. He was director of Washington DC’s National Zoo for 16 years and used have his own feature on Sunday morning television in USA.

The UCLan in Preston will be the first university in the country to offer a degree in Sports Public Relations.

Preston has been recently used as a backdrop for more TV advertising. A Cadbury Clusters ad was filmed in the Fishergate shopping centre and part of a Virgin Trains ad was filmed on the train station (which Richard Branson described as ‘crumbling away’).

Preston born footballer Kevin Kilbane broke an 18 year transfer record when he was sold to West Bromwich Albion for £1 million in 1997.

Preston (Broughton) born Peter Openshaw made history when he and his wife were both sworn in as High Court Judges on the same day.

The old Gold Thread works in Preston was once commissioned to make uniforms for crew of the ill fated Titanic. Most masonic regalia in the country is said to originate from Preston.

Preston born Stan Brock was a popular on American television in the 60s and 70s appearing in The Wild Kingdom. The show drew audiences of up to 30 million. He discovered a new species of bat, the Vampyresa. He is also known as the original Crocodile Hunter in the USA.

British General John Burgoyne, the representative in Parliament for Preston, is the same General Burgoyne who surrendered at Saratoga, New York, preventing the British from dividing New England from the rest of the colonies. After the war, some members of the Continental Congress wanted General Burgoyne brought back to America as they maintained he was still a prisoner of war. Franklin, serving in Paris at this time and perhaps remembering the good people and the good times of Preston, would have none of it and helped secure Burgoyne a parole.

The UK Corporate Games will be held in the city as part of the 2012 Guild celebrations. At least 3,500 people will take part in 23 sports including football, golf, badminton, basketball, karting, tennis, dragon boat racing
and rounders during the Olympic year.

18 responses to “Preston Stuff

  1. I came across your site by chance.What a fasinating read preston has a whealth of history that ive never seen before.thankyou so much.

  2. I grew up about 20 miles from Preston and was totally unaware of much of the history.It is a long time since anything held my attention to the degree this site has done.

  3. Hey Tony,

    Saw the old photo of “Potato Train” in preston.

    Have you got similar EARLY photos of the “Potato Train”


  4. Some really interesting material there on Preston, Tony! However, perhaps you’ll allow me to correct the item on Sumner’s Hotel, please? Bromhead never lived there, being in India in 1890 and dead within a year or so. Chard lived in a private house near Fulwood Bks for a few years until 1892 although was no doubt familiar with Sumner’s. Smith did not come to Preston until 1898/9 and finally settled there on his retirement in 1905, when he lived at Sumner’s on and off for the remainder of his life, being absent most winters until 1914. I think someone has got their wires crossed, as there is nothing at all in this Sumner’s story of Chard, Bromhead and Smith.

  5. Thanks for the update Peter. You are right about the Sumner’s. I think it’s clear Smith stayed there. The info about Chard and Bromhead was erroneous. I am trying to find the source I used. I will update my pages. Thanks again.

  6. Fascinating Tony, it must have taken you ages to find all this info. Some I have never seen before. Excellent.

    • Thanks Heather. To be honest, the collection of Preston trivia was the reason I got into photos. While I was looking for images to go with the Preston fact file I found I was more interested in taking shots than detailing Preston untold history

  7. Pingback: 2010 in review | Tony Worrall

  8. Imelda Styles

    A little bit of family history… My grandmother Catherine (Kate)Smith was born and bred at The Ship Inn in Watery Lane, her parents were the publicans.
    Catherine married a local farmer by the name of Harry Bradley around 1903 who sadly died soon after. On Jan 3rd 1908 she married my grandfather Alexandra McLeod at St Annes church. Grandad was a trade unionist, branch secretary of the transport and general workers union. My mum lived as a child above the union building (111 Derby Rd Bootle.) Grandad later become a J.P. and local councillor. In the 1920’s My Grandad held a carnival to raise funds to buy the first “Dockers Ambulance” (this ambulance has a Brass Placque with my grandads name engraved.) A parade was held and it was a very proud moment for my mum. My grandparents died before I was born (mid 1940’s) but my mum wrote about her mum and dad in her memoirs. If you have any additional information on either of my grandparents I would love to hear from you.
    Imelda Styles nee O’Reilly (formally of Widnes immigrated to Australia in 1964 at age 7.)

  9. Mavis O'Donnell

    Thanks for the information Tony. My grandmother was born in Preston, emigrating to Canada in 1906. She was born on Cold Bath Street. Do you happen to know where the name came from? Thanks. Mavis

  10. Great site even got my brother on Sean Holt!!

  11. Reindeer hotel in burnley ~ came across your pic after taking an interest in this building. However I note that when i passed it on way to work at the college it is being demolised!

  12. What a fascinating site! Came across it by chance when I was looking for information on Bishop Thomas Wulstan Pearson who was my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Bishop Thomas Bernard Pearson, born in Preston, auxiliary Bishop of Lancaster, is also my 2nd cousin twice removed.
    Some things I knew but most of them I didn’t. Thank you for spending the time to put them together 🙂

  13. I do hope this site is still operational because you kind folks may be able to help me. I am researching a man stationed at Fulwood Barracks in 1870. In the process over the last ten months finding surviving historical records for Preston the ‘proverbial needle’. What I would like to know is where Fulwood Barracks was in relation to Preston Town Centre and the then new railway station. Can you help please?

  14. In the 1960s Leyland Motors developed the first turbine engine truck and had it running on a trunk run each night to Glasgow.
    I could lie in bed on New Hall Lane and hear it howling up the M6.

  15. Just came across this info on preston. Really interesting and enjoyable read.
    Audrey Hoghton, Preston.

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