Preston is a city and the administrative centre of Lancashire, England, located on the north bank of the River Ribble. It is an urban settlement and unparished area that when combined with surrounding rural civil parishes forms the City of Preston local government district of Lancashire. The whole district obtained city status in 2002, becoming England's 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. The settlement, or unparished area, of Preston has a population of 114,300, and the whole City of Preston district has a population of 132,000.
Preston and its surroundings have provided evidence of ancient Roman activity in the area, largely in the form of a Roman road which led to a camp at Walton-le-Dale. The Angles established Preston; the name Preston is derived from Old English words meaning "Priest settlement" and in the Domesday Book appears as "Prestune". During the Middle Ages, Preston formed a parish and township in the hundred of Amounderness and was granted a Guild Merchant charter in 1179, giving it the status of a market town. Textiles have been produced in Preston since the middle of the 13th century, when locally produced wool was woven in people's houses. Flemish weavers who settled in the area during the 14th century helped to develop the industry. Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning frame, was born in Preston. The most rapid period of growth and development in Preston's history coincided with the industrialisation and expansion of textile manufacturing. Preston was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, becoming a densely populated engineering centre, with large industrial plants.
In the early 18th century Edmund Calamy wrote that Preston was "a pretty town with an abundance of gentry in it, commonly called Proud Preston". The town's textile sector fell into a terminal decline, however, from the mid-20th century and Preston has subsequently faced similar challenges to other post-industrial northern towns, including deindustrialisation, economic deprivation and housing issues. Preston is the seat of Lancashire County Council, and Preston North End F.C., one of the oldest football clubs which used to house the National Football Museum.
Preston is recorded in the Domesday Book as "Prestune" in 1086. Various other spellings occur in early documents: "Prestonam" (1094), "Prestone" (1160), "Prestona" (1160), "Presteton" (1180), and "Prestun" (1226). The modern spelling occurs in 1094, 1176, 1196, 1212 and 1332. The town's name is derived from Old English Presta and Tun, the Tun (enclosure, farmstead, village, manor, estate) of the Presta (priest or priests).
During the Roman period, Roman roads passed close to what is now the centre of Preston. For example, the road from Luguvalium to Mamucium (now Carlisle to Manchester) crossed the River Ribble at Walton-le-Dale, 3⁄4 miles (1 km) southeast of the centre of Preston, and a Roman camp or station may also have been here. At Withy Trees, 1 miles (2 km) north of Preston, the road crossed another Roman road from 1⁄2Bremetennacum (the Roman fort at Ribchester) to the coast.
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 similarity of the Paschal lamb on Preston's crest with that on St. Wilfrid's.
When first mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book, Preston was already the most important town in Amounderness (the area of Central Lancashire between the rivers Ribble and Cocker, including The Fylde and the Forest of Bowland). When assessed for tax purposes in 1218 – 19 it was the wealthiest town in the whole county.
The right to hold a Guild Merchant was conferred by King Henry II upon the Burgesses of Preston in a charter of 1179; the associated Preston Guild is a civic celebration held every 20 years and 2012 is another Guild year. It is the only Guild still celebrated in the UK and as such is unique.
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 20 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 16th century has traditionally been on the first Monday after the feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist (the decollation of St John the Baptist) celebrated on 29 August. As well as concerts and other exhibitions, the main events are a series of processions through the city. Numerous street parties are 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.
The 2012 Guild formally opened on 2 September with a mayoral proclamation and the return of "friendship scrolls" that had travelled the world. Highlights in the programme for the 2012 celebration included two concerts in Avenham Park - one by Human League and another, a "Proms In The Park", featuring Jose Carreras, Katherine Jenkins and the Manchester Camerata.
In the mid-12th century, Preston was in the hundred of Amounderness, in the deanery of Amounderness and the archdeaconry of Richmond. The name "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 Conqueror, 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 at the Battle of Preston (1648), and then 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).
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 quite a few places in England where the Prince was cheered as he rode by and where he was joined by some English volunteers for his Army. One Jacobite eyewitness noted that from Preston onwards, “at every town we were received with ringing of bells, and at night we have bonfires, and illuminations”. Another Jacobite eyewitness noted in a private letter from Preston on 27 November 1745: “People here are beginning to join [us] very fast; we have got about sixty recruits today”. 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 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: Rev. Joseph "Daddy" Dunn of the Society of Jesus.
The more oppressive side of industrialisation was seen during the Preston Strike of 1842 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 the County Borough of Preston under the Local Government Act 1888. In 1974, county boroughs were abolished, and it became part of the larger part of the new non-metropolitan district, the Borough of Preston, which also included Fulwood Urban District and much of Preston Rural District. The borough acquired city status in 2002.
Preston since the early 20th century
By 1901, nearly 120,000 people were living in Preston, a booming industrial town. However, the centuries-old cotton industry collapsed after the end of World War I in 1918, resulting in a sharp rise in unemployment across Preston.
However, new industries arrived in Preston during the interwar years which helped ease the pain felt by the sharp decline of the cotton industry. Electrical goods manufacturing and engineering arrived in the town, and the building sector enjoyed a boom with nearly 3,000 council houses being built between 1920 and 1939. Some 1,500 houses were built for private sale.
Despite its heavy industry, Preston endured only a handful of Luftwaffe air raids in World War II and there were no fatalities in the town, although an air crash in the Freckleton district claimed the lives of 61 people in 1944.
For some 20 years after 1948, Preston became home to a significant number of Asian and Caribbean Commonwealth immigrants, who mostly worked in the manufacturing industry. However, an economic decline hit the town once again in the 1970s, capped by the closure of the Courtaulds factory in 1979 (nearly 3,000 job losses) and the decline of the docks on the River Ribble, which finally shut down in 1981. Mass unemployment was firmly back in Preston by the early 1980s, although it was now very much a national – if not global – crisis due to the recession of that time.
The rehousing of families from town centre slums to new council houses continued after World War II, though it slowed down to a virtual standstill after 1975. The face of the town centre began to change in the 1960s, with old developments being bulldozed and replaced by modern developments such as the St George's Shopping Centre, which opened in 1966, and the Fishergate Shopping Centre which was built nearly 20 years later. The remains of the Victorian town hall, designed by George Gilbert Scott and mostly destroyed by fire in 1947, were replaced by an office block (Crystal House) in 1962, and a modern-architecture Guild Hall opened in 1972, to replace the Public Hall.
The town was by-passed by Britain's very first motorway which opened in 1958 and within a decade formed part of the M6 – giving Preston a direct motorway link with Manchester and Birmingham. The late 1960s saw the completion of a bypass around the town centre as well as a new bus station.
The unparished urban settlement of Preston is represented by 19 of the 22 council wards within Preston City Council. Preston is currently divided between two Westminster constituencies, namely Preston and Wyre and Preston North. The Lancashire County Council building is located on Fishergate and is the main office for the whole city.
The River Ribble provides a southern border for the city. The Forest of Bowland forms a backdrop to Preston to the northeast while the Fylde lies to the west. At , Preston is approximately 27 miles north west of Manchester, 26 miles north east of Liverpool, and 15 miles east of the coastal town Blackpool.
The current borders came into effect on 1 April 1974, when the Local Government Act 1972 merged the existing County Borough of Preston with Fulwood Urban District as an unparished area within the Borough of Preston. Preston was designated as part of the Central Lancashire new town in 1970.
The climate of Preston is of a temperate maritime type, with a narrow range of temperatures, similar to the rest of the British Isles. Being relatively close to the Irish sea, this is more pronounced than areas to the south and east of Preston. The official Met Office weather station is located at Moor Park, less than a mile north of the city centre, and surrounded by built up areas, suggesting a degree of urban warming is likely, particularly during clear and calm nights.
The absolute high recorded at the weather station was 33.1 °C (91.6 °F) during August 1990. In a typical year the warmest day should reach 27.6 °C (81.7 °F) and 5.9 days in total should attain a maximum temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or more. In October 2011, a new record October high temperature of 26.9 °C was set.
The absolute minimum is −13.3 °C (8.1 °F), recorded during February 1969. In a typical year the coldest night should fall to −6.8 °C (19.8 °F), and 40.2 nights should receive an air frost. The lowest temperature in recent years was −9.2 °C (15.4 °F) during December 2010.
|Climate data for Preston Moor Park, elevation 33 m, 1971–2000, extremes 1960–2005|
|Record high °C (°F)||14.1
|Average high °C (°F)||6.9
|Average low °C (°F)||1.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−11.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||93.83
Preston has a strong Christian history and tradition, with one of the proposed derivations of its name coming from 'Priests town'. The lamb on the city shield is a biblical image of Jesus Christ, and the same image that represented 7th century bishop St. Wilfrid, the city's patron saint who is historically linked to the city's establishment. The "PP" on the city shield stands for "Princeps Pacis" (Prince of Peace), another title for Christ invoking Him as protector of the city, though it is also often taken to stand for the city's nickname "Proud Preston". In fact there were originally three letters "P" on the coat of arms, with one being lost over time.
Preston lies in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lancaster and the Anglican Diocese of Blackburn. There are at least 73 churches, chapels, missions and meeting houses, as well as 15 cemeteries and burial sites, for which records exist. A wide range of denominations are, or have been, represented in the city including: Baptist, Christadelphian, Congregational, Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, Evangelical, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Society of Friends, Swedenborgian and Wesleyan Methodist.
St. John's Minster, formerly the Church of St John the Evangelist, is located on Church Street, in the centre of the city. From its origin it has been the parish church of Preston. The church of St George the Martyr, located on Georges Road, was founded in 1723. One of the largest active Catholic churches is St Thomas of Canterbury and the English Martyrs, located on Garstang Road.
Preston was the location of the world's first foreign mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormons). As early as 1837 the first Mormon 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 LDS 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.
Preston has a significant Muslim (Sunni Branch, particularly Hanafi school) population, the majority of which is of Gujarati Indian descent. The Muslim population is centred in the Deepdale, Riversway, Fishwick and Frenchwood areas. Preston has 12 mosques: five in Deepdale & St. George's, one in Avenham, one in Riversway, two in Adelphi and three in Fishwick.
The 2001 Census recorded 72% of the population of the City of Preston as Christians, 10% as having no religion, and 8% as Muslims. The Hindu and Sikh populations are smaller at 3% and 0.6% respectively, but in both cases this represents the highest percentage of any local authority area in the North West. 2% of the city's population were born in other EU countries. Though still small in number in Preston, the Mormons maintain a large profile.
As it is such a diverse city, Preston has places of worship for people of a wide variety of religions, including churches of many Christian denominations. There are also places of worship for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Sikhs and The Salvation Army, amongst others. Preston was also home to an Ashkenazi Orthodox Jewish synagogue on Avenham Place, formed in 1882, but this closed during the mid-1980s.
St Walburge's Church, designed by Joseph Hansom of Hansom Cab fame, has, at 94 metres (308 ft), the tallest spire in England on a church that is not a cathedral. There are also many notable buildings dotted in and around the city centre including the Miller Arcade, the Town Hall, the Harris Museum, the Minster Church of St. John the Evangelist (formerly Preston Parish Church, elevated to Minster church status in June 2003), the former Corn Exchange and Public Hall, St. Wilfrid's Catholic Church, Fishergate Baptist Church, and many beautiful Georgian buildings on Winckley Square. Many Catholic and Anglican parish churches are also to be found throughout the city. HMP Preston is also a good example of a typical Victorian radial-design prison. Modern architecture is represented by the Guild Hall and Preston Bus Station, which is featured on the 2012 World Monument Fund's list of sites at risk due to threats of demolition.
Grade I listed buildings
- Old Lea Hall Farmhouse, Blackpool Road
- Harris Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery, Market Place
- Church of St Walburge, Weston Street
Grade II listed buildings
The chimney of the Grade II listed Tulketh Mill, recently fully exposed on the Blackpool Road, provides an impressive reminder of Preston's industrial heritage. The mill itself, designed by engineer Fred Dixon of Bolton for the Tulketh Spinning Company, dates from 1905. The huge chimney has been lowered twice – in the 1930s and again in the 1960s.
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 (formerly GEC Traction Ltd). 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).
Haulage supplier and operator James Hall and Co who supply produce for Spar stores in the north of England have their head office located just off the M6 Junction 31a at Bowland View. This is the biggest building in the city of Preston.
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 iQor Recovery Services Ltd. based in Winckley Square in the city centre.
Goss Graphic Systems Limited, a global supplier of printing presses based in the United States, formerly employed more than 1,000 people in Preston, but in 2007 the company moved manufacturing to the United States, China and Japan and now has around 160 employees in the city.
On 20 February 2006, the telecommunications company The Carphone Warehouse took over Tulketh Mill (formerly the home of the Littlewoods catalogue call centre) in the Ashton-on-Ribble area of the city. The building has undergone an extensive interior refurbishment and since March 2007 has been the workplace of some 800 employees. The site's main purpose is as a call centre for the broadband and landline services provider TalkTalk as well as LLU business Opal Telecom. The site also houses call centres for Geek Squad and Best Buy both of which along with The Carphone Warehouse are now part of Best Buy Europe. It was officially opened on 19 December 2006 by CEO Charles Dunstone and the Mayor of Preston.
The Riversway area (in the Ashton-on-Ribble area of the city) is also home to the Preston docklands, which has undergone redevelopment. Several office areas around the docks, along with significant residential presence. Several small businesses such as the Football League's LFE headquarters are based in the area, together with Riversway Developments who have been responsible for some of this redevelopment.
Retail is also a major contributor to Preston's economy. The city houses two major shopping centres:
- Fishergate Shopping Centre – which has a Debenhams department store, McDonald's, Poundland, Starbucks, Evans (clothing), Lush, Sports Direct, TK Maxx and Argos stores.
- St George's Shopping Centre (formerly The Mall Preston) – a popular centrally located shopping mall dating from the 1960s.
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 on Fishergate in 1965.
An £800 million regeneration project known as the Tithebarn Project was also planned for Preston. The project was originally managed by property giants Grosvenor and Lend Lease Corporation, Grosvenor withdrew from the project, followed a few years later by Lend Lease. The project was dependent upon a number of requirements (such as the re-location of the current Bus Station, which would cost at least £25million, and be funded largely by the taxpayer). In November 2011, it was announced that John Lewis, who were originally intended to be the major flagship store of the Tithebarn development had also withdrawn from the project, effectively killing it dead. The council is now exploring more piecemeal ways of bringing in development.
Since city status was awarded in the Queen's Jubilee year, Preston was targeted by a number of developers. Residential developments were particularly popular with new apartments planned in and around the city centre. Many of these developments however are still struggling to find buyers for these apartments, and there are rising numbers of repossessions. 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.
Unemployment in Preston rose 15% in the year up to April 2012 to a total of 3,783 claimants
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. The first traffic cones were used during its construction, replacing red lantern paraffin burners.
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, which has only a northbound exit and a southbound entry, was opened in 1997 to serve a new business park close to the motorway.
As well as the M6 (North and South), there are three other motorways which terminate close to the city:
- M61 – Preston to Manchester (via Chorley and Bolton)
- M65 – Preston to Colne via (Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley)
- M55 – Preston to Blackpool (via Kirkham)
Preston railway station was opened in 1838 and has since been rebuilt and extended several times. It 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 and Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Fort William 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, Liverpool and Ormskirk. Overall, Preston has direct rail links to fifteen cities across the UK; Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Leeds, York, Bradford, London, Carlisle, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Lancaster, Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Preston once had lines to Southport and Longridge which closed to passengers in 1965 and 1930 respectively. The disused tracks of the Longridge line still exist as far as Deepdale. In 2010 plans were put forward to use part of this line for a demonstration tram system.
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 (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 canal. 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. There are five main operators serving Preston.
Preston Bus, formerly the city's municipal bus company, used to serve the district of Preston, and also operated a route between Preston and Penwortham. In October 2006, Preston Bus started operating the city's two new orbital bus routes.
Many of the services between Preston and its surrounding area were operated by Ribble Motor Services, which became part of the Stagecoach Group, using the name Stagecoach in Lancashire. Several of the company's routes were additionally branded as "Preston Citi"; they connected the bus station to areas of the city such as Fulwood and Ribbleton, and nearby locations such as Penwortham, Longton, Walton-le-dale, Walmer Bridge, New Longton, Bamber Bridge, Longridge, Southport and Leyland. Stagecoach also provided links to Blackpool, Blackburn, Bolton, Chorley, Liverpool, Manchester and Wigan as well as Lancaster and Morecambe under the Stagecoach in Lancaster service.
On 23 January 2009, Preston Bus was sold to Stagecoach for over £10.4 million. Routes were changed and the services were branded as Stagecoach in Preston. Following a lengthy investigation which began soon after the takeover, the Competition Commission ruled on 11 November 2009 that the action by Stagecoach had adversely affected competition in the area and ordered the sell-off of Preston Bus. In January 2011, the Rotala Group announced they had agreed a deal to take over Preston Bus.
John Fishwick & Sons, provides frequent services into the city centre for Lower Penwortham, Lostock Hall, Leyland, Euxton and Chorley. Transdev Lancashire United operates two routes into Preston: one is the 152 to Blackburn and Burnley; the other is the 280 to Clitheroe and Skipton.
Preston also has its own park and ride with three sites; one is at Portway, in the Riversway area, served by PR1, another is just off the A6 at Walton-le-Dale next to Capitol Centre, served by PR2, and the last one is just off the Motorway Junction 31a at Bluebell Way, served by the Orbit.
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 claimed by some residents to be the largest or second largest station 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 services within the borough, and was then expanded to cover Fishwick's 111 City Centre/Leyland route due to its popularity, though it has recently been discontinued.
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 was an active aerodrome, with a gliding club, but today serves as a facility for BAE Systems and no longer supports flying activities.
- Blackpool International Airport is located only 16 miles (26 km) west from the city.
- Manchester Airport is a large international airport about 40 miles (64 km) south-east of the city.
- Liverpool John Lennon Airport is a medium-sized airport located about 1 hour from the city.
All three of these airports are accessible from the central train station, Blackpool from the Colne-Blackpool South line (Squires Gate), Manchester Airport from the Blackpool North-Manchester Airport line (Manchester Airport), and Liverpool John Lennon Airport from any train to Liverpool Lime Street (change for the 500 bus) or Liverpool South Parkway is the closest railway station local and dedicated buses run from there to the airport.
The Guild Wheel is a public footpath, created in 2012 in celebration of the guild of Preston. The walkway is continuous and is not interrupted by roads or water, even allowing users of the path to cross the docks. It was officially opened in August 2012.
The city is home to the University of Central Lancashire. Formerly known as The Harris Institute, Preston Polytechnic, and more recently [1985–1992] as Lancashire Polytechnic, "UCLan" is now the sixth largest university in the country, with over 33,000 students.
Colleges of further and higher education
- Preston College – Mainly based in Fulwood with two campuses – one near the Royal Preston Hospital for A-Levels and vocational courses, and an arts college in Moor Park. Has COVE (Centre of Vocational Excellence) status in Retail.
- Cardinal Newman College – Based on a single campus in Avenham, close to the city centre. Specialises in A-Level qualifications.
- TUC Education Unit – Based at Buckingham House, Preston city centre
- Royal Preston Hospital – A teaching hospital, with a proportion of medical students from the University of Manchester based here for their clinical training.
- Archbishop Temple School
- Ashton Community Science College
- Abrar Academy
- Broughton Business and Enterprise College
- Christ the King Catholic Maths and Computing College
- Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College
- Fulwood Academy, formerly Fulwood High School and Arts College
- Larches House Short Stay School
- Moorbrook School
- Moor Park Business And Enterprise School
- Our Lady's Catholic High School
- Preston Muslim Girls
- Priory Sports and Technology College
- Sir Tom Finney Community High School
Preston has a number of local radio stations:
- Frequency 1350 – student radio for UCLAN, on 1350 kHz AM MW
- Magic 999 – Preston and Blackpool, classic hits
- Central Radio 106.5 – Preston, launched mid-2008
- Rock FM – Preston and Blackpool, pop music
- Preston FM – Preston community radio station
- City Radio Preston – internet radio station (launched August 2008)
- Ramadan Radio – An FM radio that only operates during the Muslim Lunar month of Ramadan.
Other regional stations which include Preston within their coverage include:
- BBC Radio Lancashire – Lancashire wide news, talk and classic hits (Broadcast from Blackburn)
- 105.4 Real Radio – across the North West, current pop and sport (Broadcast from Manchester)
- 100.4 Smooth FM – across the North West, easy-listening (Broadcast from Manchester)
- The Lancashire Evening Post is based in Fulwood.
- Blog Preston is a hyperlocal news website which provides community news, views and information about the city.
Preston North End F.C.
Preston North End F.C. were one of the founder members of the Football League and the first team to be crowned English football champions. They play at Deepdale Football Ground which was also the original site of the National Football Museum. The museum closed in 2011 in preparation for its move to Manchester due to funding issues.
Dick, Kerr's Ladies, one of the most famous early women's football teams in Britain, called Preston home. Preston were champions of the Football League in its first two seasons, but have not won it since. Their last major trophy came in 1938 when they won the FA Cup, and they have not played top division football since 1961. They are one of the few English league clubs to have been champions of all four tiers of the English professional league.
Preston Hockey Club was established in 1903.
The Preston Arena is used for cycle racing. The Preston Arena is frequently used by the University of Central Lancashire, based in Preston.
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.
- Richard Arkwright was born in Preston and lived here at the time he developed his spinning frame.
- Stu Bennett (ring name Wade Barrett), wrestler, former leader of The Nexus, was born in Preston.
- Holly Bleasdale, Track and Field athlete.
- Clarke Carlisle, footballer and TV personality was born and brought up in Preston.
- Josh Charnley, Wigan Warriors rugby league player and England international was born in Preston.
- Tupele Dorgu, actress famous for her role as Kelly Crabtree in the British ITV soap-opera Coronation Street was born in Preston.
- Sir Tom Finney, footballer, who played for Preston North End and England, was born in Preston
- Andrew Flintoff, England and Lancashire cricketer was born in Preston.
- Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, though not born in Preston, lived briefly on Friargate, before departing for America. A Blue Plaque on the wall of the building commemorates the location.
- Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb, better known as Glubb Pasha, was born in Preston in 1897.
- Mary Anne Hobbs, English BBC Radio One DJ and music journalist, was born in Preston.
- Phil Jones, Manchester United footballer, was born in Preston. He attended Balshaw's CE High School in Leyland.
- Ian Kirkham, saxophone player for the group Simply Red, was born in Preston.
- Mark Lawrenson, TV presenter, footballer and pundit was born in Penwortham, just south of the city centre and attended the former Preston Catholic College.
- Nick Park, animator and creator of Wallace and Gromit was born in Preston. In September 2007, Preston City Council announced that it would be raising £100,000 to build a bronze statue of the two characters.
- Robert W. Service, the poet and writer associated with the Yukon Gold Rush, 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.
- Ranvir Singh, TV presenter and newsreader was born in Preston.
- Steve Walsh, Leicester City footballer, hails from the Preston suburb of Fulwood.
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The population for the unparished area of Preston is calculated by subtracting the populations of the three rural Middle Layer Super Output Areas, Preston 001 (5,185), Preston 002 (6,417) and Preston 010 (6,134). Preston 001 (Middle Layer Super Output Area): Key Figures for People and Society: Population and Migration, Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
Preston 002 (Middle Layer Super Output Area): Key Figures for People and Society: Population and Migration, Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
Preston 010 (Middle Layer Super Output Area): Key Figures for People and Society: Population and Migration, Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
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