See his memoirs, ed. by his wife, Sandy Sturges (1990); biographies by J. Curtis (1982), D. Spoto (1990), and D. Jacobs (1992).
Preston (ˈprɛstən) is a city and local government district in Lancashire, England, located on the River Ribble. Preston was granted the status of a city in 2002, becoming England's 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. The Mayor of Preston from May 2008 to May 2009 is Councillor John Swindells. The population of the Preston City Council area is c 130,000. The 2001 census indicated 184,836 living in the Preston sub-area and c 335,000 living in the Central Lancashire sub-region, which also includes Leyland and Chorley.
In Ripon in 705 AD the lands near the River Ribble were set on a new foundation, and the parish church was probably erected. This parish church was probably situated on the grounds of the present Anglican parish of St. John the Evangelist on Church Street, which was originally dedicated to St. Wilfrid and then later St. John the Baptist. Later, Edward the Elder endowed the lands to the Cathedral at York and then, by means of successive transfers the lands were exchanged between lesser churches, hence the origin of the name Priest's Town or Preston. An alternative explanation of the origin of the name is that the Priest's Town refers to a priory set up by St. Wilfrid near the Ribble's lowest ford. This idea is supported by the sameness of the paschal lamb on Preston's crest with that on St. Wilfrid's.
Preston was already the most important town in Amounderness (an area of Central Lancashire between the rivers Ribble and Cocker, including The Fylde and Bowland) when first mentioned in the Domesday Book, compiled in 1086; and it was the wealthiest town in Lancashire when assessed for tax purposes in 1218-19.
The right to hold a Guild Merchant was conferred upon the Burgesses of Preston by a charter of 1179; the associated Preston Guild is a civic celebration held every 20 years, with the next in 2012,.
Before 1328 a celebration had been held on an irregular basis, but at the Guild of that year it was decreed that subsequent Guilds should be held every twenty years. After this there were breaks in the pattern for various reasons, but an unbroken series were held from 1542 to 1922. A full 400 year sequence was frustrated by the cancellation of the 1942 Guild due to World War II, but the cycle resumed in 1952. The expression '(Once) every Preston Guild', meaning 'very infrequently', has passed into fairly common use, especially in Lancashire.
Guild week is always started by the opening of the Guild Court, which since the Sixteenth century has traditionally been on the first Monday after the feast of the decollation (the beheading) of St John the Baptist. As well as concerts and other exhibitions, the main events are a series of processions through the city. Numerous street parties are typically also held in the locality.
In 1952, the emphasis was on the bright new world emerging after World War II. The major event held in the city's Avenham Park had every school participating, and hundreds of children, from toddlers to teenagers, demonstrated different aspects of physical education in the natural amphitheatre of the park.
Served by the River Ribble which flows through the city, Preston was so much the principal port of Lancashire that in the run-up to the English Civil War King Charles I demanded a quarter more ship money from Preston than from nearby Lancaster and twice as much as from Liverpool.
The location of the city, almost exactly mid-way between Glasgow and London, led to many decisive battles being fought here, most notably during the English Civil War (1648), and the first Jacobite rebellion whose invasion of England was brought to a conclusion by the defeat of the pro-Catholic and pro-monarchial Jacobite army at the Battle of Preston (1715) which remains the most recent major battle on English soil (though there were further battles with Jacobite or allied forces in Scotland in 1718, 1745 and 1746.
In the last great Jacobite Rising, on 27 November 1745 the Jacobite Prince of Wales and Regent, Bonnie Prince Charlie passed through Preston with his Highland Army on the way south through Chorley and Manchester to Derby intending to take London and the Crown. Preston was the first of the very few places in England where the Prince was cheered as he rode by and where he was actually joined by some English volunteers for his Army. From 10 to 12 December the Prince gave his retreating Army a rest in Preston on their long, last and fatal retreat from Derby through Lancaster and Carlisle to their dreadful day of destiny the following 16 April on Culloden Moor near Inverness.
The town's forward-looking spirit is typified by it being the first English town outside London to be lit by gas. The Preston Gas Company was established in 1815 by, amongst others, a Catholic priest: Rev. Joseph "Daddy" Dunn of the Society of Jesus.
The more oppressive side of industrialisation was seen on Saturday 13 August 1842, when a group of cotton workers demonstrated against the poor conditions in the town's mills. The Riot Act was read and armed troops corralled the demonstrators in front of the Corn Exchange on Lune Street. Shots were fired and four of the demonstrators were killed. A commemorative sculpture now stands on the spot (although the soldiers and demonstrators represented are facing the wrong way). In the 1850s, Karl Marx visited Preston and later described the town as "the next St. Petersburg". Charles Dickens visited Preston in January 1854 during a strike by cotton workers that had by that stage lasted for 23 weeks. This was part of his research for the novel Hard Times in which the town of "Coketown" is based on the city of Preston.
The Preston Temperance Society, led by Joseph Livesey pioneered the Temperance Movement in the 19th century. Indeed the term teetotalism is believed to have been coined at one of its meetings. The website of the University of Central Lancashire library has a great deal of information on Joseph Livesey and the Temperance Movement in Preston.
Preston was one of only a few industrial towns in Lancashire to have a functioning corporation (local council) in 1835, its charter dating to 1685, and was reformed as a municipal borough by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. It became a county borough under the Local Government Act 1888. In 1974, county boroughs were abolished, and it became the larger part of the new non-metropolitan district of Preston in Lancashire, also including Fulwood and part of Preston Rural District.
Preston has a strong Christian (particularly Catholic) history and tradition, and has been called the most Catholic city in England . One of the proposed derivations of the name Preston is from 'Priests town' and the lamb on the city's shield is a biblical image of Jesus Christ, the same image that represented St. Wilfrid, a 7th century bishop and the city's patron saint, who is historically linked to the city's establishment. The "PP" on the shield stands for either "Proud Preston" or "Princeps Pacis" (Prince of Peace), another title for Christ invoking Him as protector of the city.
As well as mainstream denominations like Roman Catholicism and the Church of England, the city has seen a recent emergence of new evangelical churches. Preston has a strong history for Free Methodism, as there are currently four Free Methodist churches in the area. Preston's Guild Hall plays host to a large evangelical worship music event called 'Encounter' every year.
Preston was the location of the world's first foreign mission by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from the American State of Utah (otherwise known as the Mormons). As early as 1837 the first LDS missionaries to Great Britain began preaching in Preston and, in particular, other small towns situated along the river Ribble. Preston is home to the world's oldest continuous branch (a small congregation) of the Mormon Church. An official memorial to the church pioneers may be found in the Japanese Garden in Avenham Park. In 1998 the LDS erected a large temple at Chorley, near Preston, described by The Telegraph newspaper as "spectacular". The temple is officially known as the Preston England Temple.
After the 2007 local election the Labour Party was the largest Group with 24 members but the Conservatives with 20 seats in alliance with the Liberal Democrats with 10 seats took control of the Cabinet and all committees except the Scrutiny committee. This situation continued after the 2008 local election at which the Conservatives, with 21 Councillors took a net seat from the Liberal Democrats who had 9 seats. Labour remained the largest party with 24 members.
The current mayor is John Swindells.
Since local government reorganisation in 1974 the Mayors of Preston have been:
Current Freemen of the City are:
Freedom of the City has been granted to:
This was subsequently transferred to:
Currently the three constituencies are: Preston, Ribble Valley, and Fylde. When the proposed boundary changes are implemented, the city will continue to be divided between Preston, and Fylde seats, whilst the northern quarters will be placed within Wyre and Preston North.
Historically, Preston has been divided between such constituencies as Preston North, Preston South, and Fylde South although until 1885 it comprised one constituency called Preston but which included most of west Lancashire.
Preston is a major centre of the British defence aerospace industry with BAE Systems, the UK's principal military aircraft design, development and manufacture supplier, having its Military Aircraft headquarters located in nearby Warton. The company has two of its major facilities located some miles on either side of the city. BAE Warton is located to the western side of the city whilst BAE Samlesbury is located to the east, over the M6 motorway. BAe Systems also operate large office facilities at the Portway area within the city and at The Strand office complex.
The city is home to Alstom Transport's main UK spare parts distribution centre. Matalan Retail Ltd was also founded in Preston under the name Matalan Cash and Carry. Although the head office of Matalan moved to Skelmersdale in 1998, the city still has the tax office for the company (located in Winckley Square). Plumbs Ltd founded in the 1950s is still a family run business employing over 300 people at its Preston base.
Convenience store chain operator James Hall and Co who supply SPAR stores in the north of England have their head office located in the Ribbleton district, although it is soon to be moved to a new building in the Bluebell Way area of the city, which would be the biggest building in the city.
The financial sector also has a large presence in the city with a large selection of consultancies, insurance and law firms including national debt collection agency Legal & Trade based in Winckley Square in the city centre.
Preston is the home of Airline network.
On the 20 February 2006, mobile phone retailer The Carphone Warehouse took over Tulketh Mill (formerly the home of the Littlewoods catalogue call centre) a listed building in the Ashton-on-Ribble area of the city. The building has undergone an extensive redevelopment of the interior and is now the workplace of some 800 employees (as of 3rd March 2007). The main purpose of the site is a call centre for its broadband and landline service TalkTalk as well as its LLU company Opal Telecom It was officially opened on 19 December 2006 by CEO Charles Dunstone and the Mayor of Preston.
Preston is also home to a small "new business" department of finance broker loans.co.uk, which took over New City House when Norwich Union moved its call centre to India. Retail is also a major contributor to Preston's economy. The city houses two major shopping centres:
Preston's main high streets are Fishergate and Friargate which offer shops, bars and restaurants with many more tucked away down the side streets. The first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in the UK was opened in Fishergate.
An £800 million regeneration project known as the Tithebarn Project is also planned for Preston. The project is being managed by property giants Grosvenor and Lend Lease Corporation and is dependent upon a number of requirements (such as the re-location of the current Bus Station).
Plans are also being drawn up to open a new Bentley car showroom close to the M6, M65 and M61 motorways. The new facility will enable greater accessibility for Lancashire's Elite and should serve to meet growing demand for this type of product from within Preston.
Since city status was awarded in the Queen's Jubilee year, Preston has been targeted by a number of developers. Residential developments are particularly popular with new apartments planned in and around the city centre. Office and hotel space is also in demand and a new Central Business District is being planned as well as a number of new hotels.
In the 1980s, a motorway running around the west of the city which would have been an extension of the M65 running to the M55 was started but never finished. That is the reason that the M55 has no junction 2, because it was reserved for the new western bypass. However, the existing M6 between junctions 30 and 32 was widened extensively between 1993-95 to compensate for this. A new junction, 31A was opened in 1997 to serve a new business park close to the motorway. As well as the M6 (North and South), there are 3 other motorways which terminate close to the city -
The former Preston Port, known as Riversway or The Docks, has been the site of an expanding commercial and residential complex since 1988.
The Marina is just north of the River Ribble which enters into the east of the Irish Sea. This marina has its own chandlery and coffee shop, training courses and boat sales
There are multi-million pound plans to redevelop Preston's Docks (as well as large sections of the River Ribble running through the city) to introduce leisure facilities (ie watersports), new landmark buildings, a new central park opposite Avenham Park, office and retail space, new residential developments and the re-opening of some of Preston's old canals. However, these plans, collectively known as Riverworks, have yet to undergo public consultation, and have already raised concerns amongst locals due to the potential loss of green space and increased risk of flooding
Although lacking any rail based rapid transit network, Preston has a very comprehensive bus network. The 3 main local operators are:
Preston also has its own park and ride at Walton-le-Dale and Portway.
Preston is also served by many national bus services. Stagecoach Express, National Express, Eurolines, and Megabus all have a large presence at Preston Bus Station - which is the second largest in Europe. Preston was one of the first cities in the UK to have its bus network fitted with Realtime, a satellite based technology fitted to every bus stop which aims to provide an accurate time and destination of the next bus arriving using GPS tracking. This service was initially restricted to all services within the borough, however, it has now been expanded to cover Fishwick's 111 City Centre/Leyland route due to its popularity.
High schools include:
Preston is famous for Preston North End F.C. (one of the founder members of the Football League and the first team to be crowned English football champions) and the National Football Museum, the home of English football heritage, currently located at Deepdale Football Ground. Deepdale is the oldest continuously used professional soccer venue in the world. Dick, Kerr's Ladies, one of the most famous early women's football team in Britain, called Preston home.
Preston Hockey Club was established in 1903 and has since remained one of the North's most prominent clubs.
The Preston Arena is used for cycle racing.
The Preston Mountaineering Club is based in the town and has been in existence for over 70 years.
Speedway racing, then known as Dirt Track Racing was staged at Farringdon Park in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Preston team raced in the English Dirt Track League of 1929 and the Northern League of 1930 and 1931. The best known rider of the team was Joe "Iron Man" Abbott who went on to Test Match successes riding before the war for Belle Vue. After the war Joe appeared for Harringay and Bradford.
Robert W. Service, the poet associated with the Yukon, was born in Preston and lived for a time on Winckley Street in the city centre. There is a Blue Plaque commemorating him on Christian Road, near the railway station.
The parents of legendary American outlaw Butch Cassidy lived in Victoria Road in Preston and emigrated to escape religious persecution of their Mormon faith. It was said that, unlike Paul Newman's cinematic portrayal, Butch spoke with a thick Lancashire accent.
Benjamin Franklin (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States) once owned a property on the corner of Cheapside and Friargate in the city centre (on the site of what is now a coffee bar). A Blue Plaque on the wall of the building commemorates the spot.
Preston is the home city of the animator Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit, and in September 2007, the City Council announced that it would be raising £100,000 in order to build a bronze statue of the two characters.
Preston is the home of Sir Tom Finney who played for Preston North End and England