Preston

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Preston

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winckley square: 53.756418, -2.701735

 

 

Baines’ map of Preston, 1823, overlain on modern map:

 

Fishergate, the principal street that stretched from east to west, was the central arena for processional routes of all kinds. Civic and patriotic processions often began in the marketplace, processed up and down Fishergate and ended at the parish church at the eastern end of Fishergate. The civic and patriotic processions responded to urban development and improvement by the middle classes. For the first time, in 1820, the procession to mark the proclamation of the new monarch went round Winckley Square off the western end of Fishergate (and one of the few towns that featured processions that ritually paraded round a square rather than meeting on it, because its garden in the centre was gated.

Built from 1799 onwards by William Cross, a prosperous attorney, from land purchased from another attorney Thomas Winckley, the square became the desirable residence of prominent figures in Preston society, including Colonel Nicholas Grimshaw, seven times mayor. Yet as soon as the square was taking shape, the changing urban environment began to alter its experience. John Horrocks’s factories built from 1792 onwards encroach upon the tranquility and healthy air of the square. In 1807, Cross added additional clauses to the leases in order to keep the square apart physically and socially from the industrial development, including future houses having to appear visually and be rateable at above the value of the surrounding houses, and prohibiting the building of factories, steam engines, warehouses, shops, or taverns.[1]

[1] Marian Roberts, The Story of Winckley Square, Preston (Preston, 2009), p. 11; Lancashire County Record Office, DDPd 11/60, 1807 agreement.

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