Weekly City Spotlight: Preston


Skyline View of Preston

Located on the River Ribble, the city of Preston is situated in the county of Lancashire in the north of England.  With attractions such as The Queens Lancashire Regiment Museum, Harris Museum and Ribble Steam Railway all found in the city, it is also the home of a founding member of the Football League – Preston North End FC. Preston became the 50th city in England having been granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.

Historic Preston
Noted in the Domesday Book as Prestune, settlements in the Preston area date back to Roman times and would be further developed by the Angles, Germanic people, who settled there after the Romans had left.  Preston was famous for its textile industry, and Sir Richard Arkwright was born in the city and was later responsible for inventing the spinning frame, just one of his many inventions which also included a rotary carding engine which allowed for the processing of raw cotton.

Throughout the Industrial Revolution Preston thrived with a focus on both engineering and textile manufacturing, and the city would see the establishment of many industrial plants in the area, as well as it being the first town to be lit by gas outside of London.

The Preston Guild was formed following the Royal Guild Merchant Charter that was awarded by Henry II which allowed only the Burgesses to trade in the town.  The Preston Guild is a festival celebration that dates back to this time, which originally promoted the tradespeople and now is a celebration of Preston itself and its vast history.  From the 16th Century the Guild has taken place every 20 years, with the most recent event in 2012, and it remains the only Guild still celebrated in the UK with the latest festival featuring a full week of events and activities within the city.

Popular Culture
Preston is a historic and cultural city and as such has also been a focus in popular culture.

Films & TV
Max & Paddy’s Road to Nowhere (2004)
Filming took place in Preston and Blackpool for this comedy which starred Peter Kay and Paddy McGuiness and followed the disastrous adventures of Max and Paddy, characters who first hit our screen in the popular TV series Phoenix Nights.

Piercing Brightness (2012)
Shot entirely in Preston, Piercing Brightness by Shezad Dawood is a sci-fi drama which features many local residents, and focusses on a Chinese couple sent to earth to collect the Glorious 100 – alien race members.

In the book Hard Times by Charles Dickens reference is made to Coketown which is based on Preston, and followed a visit to the area by Dickens in January 1854.

Jubilee by Mark Tierney is set in Preston, and is the first in the fantasy crime series which features Det Insp Michael Traynor.

Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth tells the tale of Laura as she deals with the death of school friend Chloe, the story is set in Preston and is the second novel by this local author.

Social Media
Additional information on Preston can be found on its official website Visit Lancashire as well as its Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube accounts.

Famous Faces
Sir Tom Finney – born in Preston on 5 April 1922, Sir Tom Finney famously played for Preston North End and England and was recognised by many as one of the greatest players of all time.

Nick Park – the award winning English filmmaker was born in Preston on the 6th December 1958.  Having famously created Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, Park has won several academy awards for his work which is loved around the world.

Andrew Flintoff – born in Preston on 6 December 1977, Flintoff is known for his skills on the cricket pitch, having enjoyed a successful England career.  More recently he obtained 14 Guinness World Records in support of Sport Relief.



Harris Museum

Harris Museum
This stunning Grade I listed museum is also home to the public library and large art gallery.  Dating back to 1893, the museum contains many collections which include local history, as well as fine and decorative art and archaeology.  This beautiful building is located in Market Square and admission is free to those who wish to explore its vast and fascinating collections.

St Walburge’s Church
With its magnificent spire the tallest of any English parish church, it was architect Joseph Hansom who designed St Walburge’s Church which was built in the early 1850’s and dedicated to Saint Walpurga, the Daughter of a Saxon King.  The Roman Catholic Church features amazing gothic styling and the spire dominates the Preston skyline, measuring 94m in height.

The Preston Cenotaph
Unveiled on 13 June 1926, the Preston Cenotaph is a monument to the soldiers of the city who died in the First and Second World Wars. Located in Market Square and designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the memorial features a main figure of Victory with sculptural work completed by Henry Alfred Pegram.

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