Learn more about Preston
|City of Preston|
|Image:Preston - Lancashire dot.png||Image:LancashirePreston.png|
Shown within Lancashire
|Region:||North West England|
- Total (2005 est.)
923 / km²
Preston City Council
|Leadership:||Leader & Cabinet|
|Executive:||Labour (council NOC)|
|MPs:||Nigel Evans, Mark Hendrick, Michael Jack|
Preston is a city and local government district in North West England. It is the administrative centre of Lancashire, and is on the River Ribble. Preston was granted the status of a city in 2002,<ref>"'Proud Preston' wins city status", BBC News, 14 March 2002. URL accessed on 6 June 2006.</ref> becoming England's 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth's reign.
Preston forms part of a conurbation with Chorley and Leyland which according to the 2001 census had an overall population of 335,000. Of this, 184,836 lived in the Preston urban sub-area: the figure for those living within the city limits is lower at around 130,000.
Preston City Council and South Ribble Borough Council are planning to seek to merge to form a unitary authority, independent from Lancashire County Council, under the recent Local Government White Paper.<ref>Councils Get Merger Deadlines Lancashire Evening Post. October 26, 2006.</ref>
 Early development
During the Roman period, the road from the Setantian port of Neb of the Nese passed one mile north of Preston. At Tulketh-Hall in Preston, that road intersected the road from Languavallium in Cumberland to Condate in Cheshire.
In Ripon in 705 the lands near the River Ribble were set on a new foundation, and the parish church was probably erected. Later Edward the Elder passed the lands to cathedral at York and then from successive transfers the lands were passed round between churches, hence 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 reinforced by similarity of Preston's crest bearing a lamb with St. Wilfrid's banner (Walsh and Butler 1992).
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 due to be held in 2012.
In the mid-12th Century, Preston was in the hundred of Amounderness, in the deanery of Amounderness and the archdeaconry of Richmond. The name of Amounderness is more ancient than the name of any other Wapentake or hundred in the County of Lancashire, and the fort at Tulketh, strengthened by William the Conquerer, shows that the strategic importance of the area was appreciated even then.  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 (1643), and the first Jacobite rebellion (1715) which began here. Served by the River Ribble, Preston was one of the principal ports of Lancashire. King Charles I demanded a quarter more ship money than from Lancaster and twice as much as from Liverpool.
 Industrial Revolution
The 19th Century saw a transformation in Preston from a small market town to a much larger industrial one, as the innovations of the latter half of the previous century such as Richard Arkwright's Water Frame (invented in Preston) brought cotton mills to many Northern English towns. With industrialisation came examples of both oppression and enlightenment.
The town's forward-looking spirit is typified by its 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: Fr. Joseph "Daddy" Dunn of the Society of Jesus.
The more oppressive side of industrialisation was seen on Saturday 13th 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 Saint Petersburg" <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>.
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 <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>.
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, Lancashire and part of Preston Rural District.
 Preston Guild
 Physical geography
 Civic geography
The southern part of the district is mostly urbanised but the northern part is quite rural. The current borders came into effect on April 1, 1974, when the Local Government Act 1972 merged the existing county borough of Preston with Fulwood urban district and part of Preston Rural District. Preston was designated as part of the Central Lancashire new town in 1970. The former Preston Rural District part of the district is divided into a number of civil parishes:
- Lea and Cottam
 Electoral arrangements
Preston City Council is elected "by thirds", which means one councillor from each of the three-member wards are elected every year, with those representing 2-member wards being elected in alternative years. The Council is currently with "No overall Control", as no party has an overall majority.
Recent electoral results in Preston can be found at Preston local elections
According to the 2001 Census 71.5% people were Christians, 9.8% had no religion and 8.2% were Muslims.<ref>Census 2001: Preston, Office for National Statistics. URL accessed on 6 June 2006.</ref> The Hindu and Sikh populations are smaller at 2.6% and 0.6% respectively but in both cases this represents the highest percentage of any local authority area in the North West. 1.8% of the city's population were born in other EU countries. Preston is said to be the most Catholic city in England.
Preston's premier landmark is probably St Walburge's Church designed by Joseph Hansom of Hansom Cab fame and is the tallest church in England with the third- highest spire at 94 metres. City leaders are addressing the need for Preston to have more landmark buildings to redefine the city's skyline. Some of Preston's most beautiful buildings such as the Old Town Hall (gutted by fire in the 40s and eventually demolished) are long gone and the city has been robbed of some of its architectural heritage however, there are still many notable buildings dotted in and around the city centre. For example, the Miller Arcade, Town Hall, Harris Building, St. John's Minster, Corn Exchange, Fishergate Baptist Church and many beautiful Georgian buildings at Winckley Square and more fine buildings in the Winckley Square/Avenham areas. The train station is another beautiful building in the city, retaining much of its Victorian charm. On the other hand, Preston bus station is a controversial "landmark" but worthy of a visit before it is reduced to rubble as part of a huge city centre regeneration project.
- Harris Museum and Art Gallery
- Samlesbury Hall
- Hoghton Tower
- Preston bus station - some call it a landmark, others say it's an eyesore
- The National Football Museum
- The Museum of Lancashire
- The Queens Lancashire Regiment Museum
- Broughton Cottage Museum
- Ribble Steam Railway Musuem
- British Commercial Vehicle Museum
The biggest employer in the city is the University of Central Lancashire. Defence contractor BAE Systems also has a strong presence in the surrounding area, like the InBev multinational group of breweries.
The city is home to Alstom's UK factory which is located on Strand Road. Matalan Retail PLC was also founded in Preston. 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 1950's is still a family run business employing over 300 people at it's Preston base.
Convenience Store chain operator James Hall and Co. who supply Spar stores in the north of England has 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 based in Winckley Square in the city centre.
Preston is also home to the large "new business" department of finance broker loans.co.uk and 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
- The Fishergate Centre - which boasts a large Debenhams department store, Primark, TK Maxx, Argos and T.J. Hughes stores and is due a £37 million extension in 2007 known as FG2
- The Mall (formerly St. Georges) - a popular centrally located shopping mall undergoing a multi-million pound redevelopment as of 2006.
- The Miller Arcade is a specialist shopping centre which is a listed building situated next to the Harris Museum
Preston's main high streets are Fishergate and Friargate which offer great shops, bars and restaurants with many more tucked away down the many side streets.
A £500 million regeneration project known as the Tithebarn Project is also planned for Preston. The project is being managed by property giant Grosvenor and is dependent upon a number of requirements (such as the re-location of the bus station as the project means the demolition of the current Preston bus station) and is expected to be complete by 2012, in time for the next Preston Guild. The project would include a major department store, cinema, new shops, offices, homes, public spaces, hotel, a new hi-tech library and knowledge centre and revitalised markets. However, Tithebarn has been dogged by delays and many Prestonians doubt it will ever happen.
Since City status was awarded, 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.
The Preston by-pass, opened 5 December 1958, became the first stretch of motorway in the UK and is now part of the M6 with a short section now forming part of the M55. It was built to ease traffic congestion in Preston caused by tourists travelling to the popular destinations of Blackpool and The Lake District. In the 1980's, 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), Preston has 3 other motorways which terminate in the city.
- M61 - Preston to Manchester via Chorley, Westhoughton and Bolton
- M65 - Preston to Colne via all towns in the East Lancs conurbation
- M55 - Preston to Blackpool via Kirkham
Many major A-roads also pass through Preston including the A6 and the A59.
Preston railway station is a major stop on the West Coast Main Line, with regular long distance train services to London (Euston) and the South East, and Glasgow to the North. Preston is also a hub for connecting rail services in the North West, with direct services to Blackpool, Lancaster, Blackburn, Bradford, Leeds, Wigan, Bolton, Manchester and Liverpool.
The former Preston Port has been the site of an expanding commercial and residential complex since 1988. Known as Riversway or The Docks, it is the biggest man-made marina in the UK , with 40 acres of deep water at all states of the tide. The Dock is no longer used for commercial shipping, is too small a space to cruise on and because of an infestation of blue-green algae (which gives the water a deep green colouration and the surrounding area a pungent smell depending on the how bad the water is at the time) it is not safe for dinghy sailing, making all that water somewhat redundant.
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 lesiure facilities such (i.e. 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. The project is in the early stages of development and is known as Riverworks.
Although lacking any rail based rapid transit network, Preston has a very comprehensive bus network. The 3 main local operators are:
- Preston Bus - Serving only the Preston borough
- Stagecoach in Lancashire (formerly Stagecoach Ribble) - serving most areas outside the borough, particular emphasis on Walton-le-Dale, Penwortham/Longton and Longridge
- John Fishwick & Sons - providing frequent services into the city centre for Lower Penwortham, Lostock Hall, Leyland, Euxton and Chorley
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. 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 provides 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 the 111 Fishwick City Centre/Leyland route due to its popularity.
Preston has the largest bus and coach station in Western Europe. Despite its impressive size, the building has proved very controversial. The facility is due to be demolished in 2008 and replaced with a smaller, but more suitable facility closer to the city's main shopping area and railway station. Despite a campaign to save it, the majority are in agreement that it is outdated and no longer suitable to accommodate Preston's transport needs.
Although not a public airport; Warton Aerodrome is an active airfield west of the city and is the airfield for the BAE Warton factory. BAE Samlesbury to the east of the town is a former active aerodrome but today it serves as a facility for BAE Systems
Blackpool Airport is located only 20 miles east from the city.
Manchester International Airport a large international airport south of the city.
The city is home to the University of Central Lancashire. Formerly known as Preston Polytechnic, "UCLan" is now the sixth largest university in the country. The university currently has over 33,000 students.<ref>"Pocket Facts", University of Central Lancashire. URL accessed on 6 June 2006. PDF</ref> As well as the university, the Preston area is home to many other higher education institutes:
- Preston College - Based in Fulwood with 2 campuses near the RPH and Moor Park. Specialising in A Levels, Vocational Courses and adult courses. Also has COVE (Centre of Vocational Excellence) status in Retail. Has a good reputation for A Levels.
- Runshaw College - Based in the southern suburbs of the metropolitan area with 3 campuses. The Sixth Form centre in Leyland, the Euxton Lane Centre (mainly adult courses) in Euxton, and the Market Street Centre in Chorley (mainly vocational courses). The college has an excellent reputation for A Levels. Has Beacon College Status and CoVE in Information Communication Technology.
- Cardinal Newman College - Based on a single campus in Avenham, close to the city centre. Has a good reputation for A Levels.
- Stonyhurst College - Private college based in the rural outskirts near Longridge. Has a good reputation due to JR Tolkien's son being educated there. It is said that much of the inspiration for Lord of the Rings is based around the college.
- Myerscough College - College specialising in agricultural courses. Their main campus is based just north of the city, but they also have a smaller campus in Penwortham.
- Lancashire College - Small college based in Chorley mainly for adult education.
- Alston Hall College - Small agricultural college based in Longridge.
- TUC Education Unit - Based at Buckingham House, Preston City Centre
- Hutton Grammar School Sixth Form - A fine Further Education establishment based in Hutton, to the West of Preston, part of Hutton Grammar School, which dates back over 450 years.
 Local Radio Stations
Preston is famous for Preston North End F.C. (one of the founders of the F.A. and one of the oldest Football League teams) and the National Football Museum, the home of English football heritage, currently located at Deepdale football ground (free entrance).
The Preston Mountaineering Club are based in the town and have been in existence for over 70 years
 Famous residents
- Kenny Baker (played R2-D2 in Star Wars)
- Paul Burke (lightweight boxer)
- Eddie Calvert (trumpeter - "The Man With The Golden Trumpet")
- Tom Finney (former England and Preston North End football player)
- Andrew Flintoff (England cricketer)
- John Inman (comedy actor)
- Sophie McDonnell (TV presenter)
- Mark Lawrenson (footballer, TV commentator)
- Nick Park (Oscar-winning animator and creator of Wallace and Gromit)
- A.J.P. Taylor (famous historian)
 Twin cities/towns
- The first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in the UK was opened on Fishergate in Preston.
- The first traffic cones were used in building Preston bypass in the late 1950s, replacing red lantern paraffin burners.
- The parents of legendary American Outlaw Butch Cassidy emigrated from Preston to escape religious persecution for their Mormon faith. It was said that, unlike Paul Newman's cinematic portayal, Butch spoke with a thick Lancashire accent.
- Preston has the highest percentage Catholic population of any large town in the UK.
- The town of 'Coketown' in Charles Dickens book Hard Times is based on the city of Preston. In order to gain research for an 'industrial' novel, Dickens visited Preston in January 1854 during a strike by cotton workers that had by that stage lasted for 23 weeks.
- Preston is home to Europe's second largest bus station with 79 gates and 1,100 car parking places.
- Preston North End was one of the founding members, and first winners of, The Football League.
- The first ever Matalan store was founded in Preston.
- Sartin, S, 1988, The people and places of Historic Preston, Preston: Carnegie
- Walsh, T and Butler, G., 1992, The Old Lamb and Flag, Preston: Carnegie
 See also
- Battle of Preston
- Ribble Steam Railway
- List of people from Preston
- Rock FM
- Preston Railway Station
- The National Football Museum
- Preston FM
 External links
- The Livesey Collection, accessed April 2006
- Winckley Square, accessed April 2006
- Preston community web
- Preston Mountaineering Club
- prestonworkers: trade union cooperative
- Preston FM community radio station
- Preston Online
- Preston Docks
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