I’ve chosen Preston because it’s not an average town that you hear talking about every day as many others in UK: London, Liverpool, Manchester. It’s an unheard of, a hidden one, but, in my opinion, non of the less important. In fact, Preston takes a great pride in its people and celebrates its cultural diversity with an all year round events programme.
For example, the unique Easter Egg Rolling event, which many may consider excentric, but gives Preston a certain charm.Other examples: the colourful Caribbean Carnival and the Preston Mela, Festival of South Asian Culture.
· Short description
Located on the River Ribble, like an young child, Preston is a new town, receiving the status of a city in 2002, becoming England's 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, therefore it’s importancy.
Besides this, Preston has a strong Christian (particularly Catholic) history and tradition. The word Preston derived from 'Priests town' and the Lamb on the city emblem is a Biblical image of Jesus Christ. It’s certainly true that we can not find any other city with a Biblical image of Jesus Christ as its emblem which hosts so many celebrations, events and has a such vibrante night life.
Preston in times past
Preston was a borough, market-town and parish situated to the north of the river Ribble; and is said to have risen from the ruins of an ancient city, called Ribchester (which is now an inconsiderable village in the neighbourhood), and to take its name, Priest-town,being the residence of considerable numbers of churchmen.
During the history, Preston’s architecture changed considerably.
Firstly, Preston was established as a port at the head of the estuary of the River Ribble. It became important from Roman times as a river crossing and rich from the weaving of wool in the Middle Ages.
John Horrocks established the first cotton mill in Preston in 1786. The first railway in the town was built in 1803 to connect the southern and northern sections of the Lancaster Canal. This was followed by a short railway between the quarries of Longridge to Preston.
Preston had been first represented in Parliament in 1295. Unlike most boroughs, the right to vote in parliamentary elections had been granted to all inhabitants of the town.
Preston continued to develop and in 1838 the National Union Railway linked Preston to London, Liverpool and Manchester. These lines were eventually obtained by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. This increased economic activity and between 1801 and 1901, the population of Preston increased from 14,000 to 115,000.
Secondly, a specific characteristic is the Guild Merchant. Every 20th year a guild merchant, or kind of jubilee, is held here, which begins in the last week of August, and formerly continued a month. The right to hold a Guild Merchant was conferred upon the Burgesses of Preston by a charter of 1179. Such a celebration had been held from time to time, but at the one in 1328 it was decreed that the Guild should be held every twenty years. There were breaks in this pattern for various reasons, but an unbroken series of them were held from 1542 to 1922. The 400 year sequence was broken due to World War II, but resumed in 1952. Therefore the expression '(Once) every Preston Guild', meaning 'very infrequently', has passed into fairly common use, especially in Lancashire.
The guild-hall, a handsome building, built of brick, stands in the centre of the town, near the Market-place, and fronts Fishergate, containing a news-room and council-chamber, together with the court-room for trying causes cognizable in the town, and used as the husting for the purpose of receiving votes for electing members of parliament; the new cupola is built of freestone, and is a superior piece of architecture, surmounting a pedestal, which supports its massy head, consisting of four Ionic pilasters at each angle; upon the base, between the pilasters, are laticed windows, formed with mouldings, after the Norman style, with round heads; and above this, next the cornice, a clock appears, with four dials facing the four cardinal points; the cap of the cupola is mounted by a vane of gilt-work, representing the figure of a lamb couchant.
On another hand, there is an astonishing diversity of public structures. The public structures devoted to the purposes of religious worship are, the ancient church of St. Johns (formerly St.Wilfrids), which is a vicarage, in the patronage of Sir Henry Philip Hoghton, and incumbency of the Rev. Roger Carus Wilson; St. Georges chapel, the present minister of which is the Rev. R. Harris; Trinity church, in the incumbency of the Rev. Thomas Raven; St. Peters, the Rev. R. Henry; and St. Pauls, the Rev. B. Russell. There are several societies in Preston for promoting religion, and affording relief to the poor both in age and sickness; amongst these may be included Bible, tract, and missionary societies; dispensaries, alms-houses, a benevolent society; several provident institutions or benefit societies.
The charitable institutions for the promotion of education are, the free grammar-school, an ancient foundation, under the patronage of the corporation; the blue-coat school, national school, catholic school, methodist school, and various Sunday-schools; the latter excellent establishments educating upwards of 3,000 children.
· Preston Today
From a town which promoted religion, with such a representative name („Priest-town”) today it became the administrative, commercial, industrial and cultural centre of Lancashire; there is also a wide range of educational and leisure opportunities and facilities. The University of Central Lancashire based in the centre of Preston is now an important feature of the town with over 15,000 students and now probably the biggest employer in the town.
The town has a wonderful collection of art and sculptures housed in the magnificent Harris Museum & Art Gallery building of Greek Revival architecture.
There is a large selection of restaurants with international cuisine, pubs, clubs, entertainment venues and night-life. There is the towns entertainment centre, the Guild Hall & Charter Theatre which is home to major events, concerts and theatre productions. There are two multi-screen cinemas, leisure centres, golf clubs, museums, Preston North End football club, Preston Grasshoppers Rugby football club and many more attractions, so there is always something of interest for folk day or night.
· Industrial Revolution
Half a century ago Preston could not be noted as a manufacturing town, and for ages previous it was more remarkable for the residence of independent persons, and its claims to gentility, than to the production of articles deemed so essentially necessary to adorn the rich and clothe all ranks. The rapid strides of science and art, rendered subservient to machinery and manufactures in general, have of late years overtaken and included Preston amongst the manufacturing towns of Lancashire: the cotton-trade is now carried on to a very considerable extent; and although it labours under the disadvantage of being at a material distance from the coal-mines, yet the central situation of the town, and the united advantages of river and canal navigation, joining with the skill, capital and enterprize of the principal manufactuers, have placed Preston in a more conspicuous and elevated point of view, than at the period when trade was only carried on within it for local convenience. With the aid of spring tides, which flow higher than the bridge at Wolton, vessels of 150 tons burden can navigate the Ribble as far as the quay at Preston-marsh; but this river is capable of much improvement. In the Ribble is a very ancient fishery, belonging to the borough of Preston, within the boundary of its jurisdiction; and it is famous for salmon, smelts, plaice and eels.
The principal market-place is a spacious well paved square, in the centre of which is an obelisk, surmounted by a large glass vase, lighted at night with gas, which illuminates the whole area. The chief market is held on Saturday; but there are also markets on Wednesday and Friday, for fish, butter and vegetables.
However, 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 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: Fr. 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".
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.
· Notable people from Preston
To proove it’s interest for culture and importance of the education, Preston gave many notable people to the world.
Heres’s a list with some of the most famous names in Preston’s history:
· Richard Arkwright (1732–1792) — inventor of the water frame that kick-started the textile industry in the late 18th century
· Professor Sir George Grenfell Baines, OBE (1908–2003) — Architect, pioneer of multi-disciplinary design and founder of the Building Design Partnership
· Kenny Baker (born 1934) — an actor who plays R2D2 in Star Wars.
· Roy Barraclough (born 1935) — Actor from Coronation Street
· Stephen Barton (born 1982) — Noted film composer and protege of Harry Gregson-Williams
· Eddie Calvert (1922–1978) — Trumpeter, "The Man With the Golden Horn"
· Gregory Doran (born 1958) — Associate Director, Royal Shakespeare Company.
· John Doyle (born 1979) Flugel Horn for the world Famous Black Dyke band, and widely regarded as the finest Flugel Horn Player in the world.
· Aaron Dore (born 1991) Proud Professional Signature & LP Designer, Tutorial & PSD Packs Creator Known Web-Wide.
· Paul Englishby — film and theater composer
· Sir Tom Finney (born 1922) — Footballer
· Andrew Flintoff (born 1977) — cricketer
· Zara Glover (born 1982) — International Ten-pin Bowler
· James Hebblethwaite (1857–1921) — poet
· John Inman (1935–2007) — Comedy actor and drag artiste
· Ian Kirkham — saxophone player, Simply Red.
· Mark Lawrenson (born 1957) — Footballer turned football pundit
· Joseph Livesey (1794–1884) — Social reformer and pioneer of the Temperance movement in the 19th century
· Ian McCulloch (born 1971) — snooker player currently in the top 16 of the world rankings
· Marie Niven (b.1964) famous mainly for being a famous maths teacher at Hutton Grammar School.
· Nick Park (born 1958) — animator famous mainly for the Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run claymation animation classics.
· Edith Rigby (1872–1948) — Suffragette
· Samuel Ryder (1858–1936) — founder of the Ryder Cup Golf Competition
· Dr Alison Shaw, Ph.D. (born 1975) — publisher of "A general approach for heterologous membrane protein expression in Escherichia coli: the uncoupling protein, UCP1, as an example", aka "the hedgehog protein one" ()
· Chris Scott (born 1991) Keyboard player with Odd Socks, Lancaster based fourth wave Ska band.
· A.J.P. Taylor (1906–1990) — historian.
· Jessica Taylor (born 1980) singer with Liberty X
· Francis Thompson (1859–1907) — poet
· John Thomson (born 1969) — actor, Men Behaving Badly
· Stanley Yates (born 1958) — classical guitarist and music scholar
· Buildings and structures in PrestonCulturally, Preston has much to be proud about including - the Grade I listed Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston Guild Hall, Museum of Lancashire, the County Records Office and Library, splendid Victorian Parks & Gardens, as well as the National Football Museum and St Walburge's Church.
St Walburge's Church is a Roman Catholic church located in Preston, Lancashire, England. It is dedicated to Saint Walpurga and is a Grade I listed building.
It is one of the tallest buildings of any type in Lancashire, with a steeple or spire of 309 feet (94 m). It is the fifth-tallest church in the United Kingdom, after Salisbury Cathedral, St Paul's Cathedral, Liverpool Cathedral and Norwich Cathedral, and therefore the tallest church that is not a cathedral.
The steeple is constructed from limestone sleepers which originally carried the nearby Preston to Longridge railway line, giving the spire a red tint during sunset. The steeple was the last to be worked upon by steeplejack and TV personality Fred Dibnah.
The architect was Joseph Hansom. Work began on the construction of the church in May 1850, and it was completed for an opening ceremony on August 3, 1854.
The church resembles a cathedral and holds a commanding position over Preston city. The tower contains a single bell of 30 Cwt (1.5 Tonnes) cast by Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel. This is thought to be the heaviest swinging bell in Lancashire.
The Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Preston Free Public Library is a Grade I listed museum building in Preston and has the largest gallery space in Lancashire, England. The collections include important local history and archaeology collections, highlights of which are displayed in the Story of Preston, which gives a historical account of the city. There is also a fine art collection including work by Stanley Spencer, Lucian Freud, Ivon Hitchens and Graham Sutherland and a decorative art collection that holds the largest scent bottle collection in the country. In addition there is a varied contemporary art programme of national and international artists, touring shows and in-house exhibitions.
Amongst the fine works of art and historical artefacts there is a nationally important prehistoric elk skeleton, known as the Poulton Elk.
A Foucault pendulum hangs in the central foyer, through all the floors, over a butterfly-shaped plate marked with the hours of the day. As a result of the rotation of the Earth, this functions as a decorative and reasonably-accurate clock.
This monumental building also houses Preston City's Free Public Library, which is run by Lancashire County Council, and the building was initially built with funds donated by Edmund Robert Harris.
· Conclusion: Preston's history dates back to the Doomsday Book and to 1179 with the granting of the Charter, which gave the right to hold a Guild Merchant every 20 years. The "Once in a Preston Guild" tradition continues to this day and we look forward to the next in 2012. Preston, the administrative capital of Lancashire, is the largest and most important commercial centre in the county.
Preston's colourful history has shaped today's town.The future in the town of Preston is looking very good because of its transport system and its shopping centres.