With the news this morning of the Fishergate Hill Conservation Area Action Plan which is coming into force, we thought it would be interesting to look at some images from past decades to see how the ancient thoroughfare has changed over time.Advertisement
Our first image (above) is one taken at the summit of Fishergate Hill which features the Lancashire County Hall buildings in the centre of the photograph. At this point in time, they had only just been completed, looking quite new and very pristine in appearance. Those who know the area will realise that the buildings to the right of Pitt Street – along side of County Hall – are no longer in existence; the reason being that around 1902 they were demolished to make way for an extension to the railway bridge when widening took place on the west side of the station. The buildings to be swept away were two hotels and a livery stables.
A little further downhill from County Hall, quite set back from the road, we have Christ Church. this lovely old church, as in the above image, was originally built in 1836 and the Preston Digital Archive informs us that the trancepts were added in 1851. The church closed in 1971 and was subsequently demolished, however, the octagonal towers and facade survived to be incorporated into a new construction. All of the industrial buildings in the background to the left was swept away to build the Lancashire Archives and associated car parks.
Above we have a property on the corner of Fishergate Hill and Stanley Place, more or less opposite to Bow Lane. This was the former Christ Church Vicarage and remarkably, it has survived the wrecking ball and is now known as Stanley House. Although currently it is in use as residential accommodation, over time this building has also played host to the Y.M.C.A. and the legal profession.
Our next image is one of those absolutely superb A.E. Shaw photograph’s which are of such fantastic quality and detail. This is a view looking upward, towards County Hall with West Cliff just to the far right of the image at the opening close to the two ladies walking down the hill. Most of the buildings seen in this image remain intact to this day, apart from a couple of properties close to Bow Lane. At the time when this photo had been captured, the electric trams had not been long in operation and they would have been quite a novelty to those people seen in the photograph. It is also just about at this location that the railway, extending from the Preston Docks to Preston Railway Station, runs under the road from the far left, entering the underground tunnel at the Hartington Road/Fishergate Hill junction, running diagonally to the right and appearing from the tunnel on the east side of West Cliff, about a hundred metres from Fishergate Hill.
In the image immediately above we have a terrace of houses which were originally scheduled to be demolished to make way for a General Post Office sorting office but escaped that fate and are still standing to this day.
Below is another part of West Cliff, this time on the opposite side to the terraced houses above and around 50 years earlier. Just left of the centre of the image is the property of a doctor’s house but some years later is became the premises of the Round Cliff Boys Preparatory School.
At the junction of Fishergate Hill and Grafton Street, there is a building which has hardly changed since the image above was captured in 1950. This was the premises of Manchester firm, Jewsbury and Brown mineral waters. Although in the present day the building is now under different ownership, the J&B sign painted on the roof can still be seen, however, it is a little faded nowadays.
Many Prestonians will recall the building above. It is the premises of the former West Lancashire Railway Station. According to the Preston Digital Archive, ‘The former terminus was occupied by Silcock’s, the local seed and provinder merchants. The station opened in 1882 and closed in July 1900 when the WLR was absorbed by the L&Y. The new owners then routed all passenger traffic to the town’s main station. Following closure to passengers, the facility was used as a goods depot until the mid 60’s. The old station continued to be used during Preston Guild weeks as an overflow station to relieve congestion at the towns main station further up the hill’. This building was demolished in 1976.
The final image is one of Moor’s Regatta Inn at the junction of Fishergate Hill, Broadgate and Strand Road. At the time of capture of this image in 1911, the Penwortham New Bridge had not yet been constructed but in 1912 the Regatta had been demolished to build the bridge across to Penwortham. In the background and to the left you can see a part of William Allsup’s shipyard and foundry. Rather strange really, to think that this scene was only just over a hundred years ago. I do not think anyone from that time would recognise this same viewpoint today!
We would like to acknowledge Preston Digital Archive and express our gratitude for the use of their images in this article.
What are your views of the changes in the Fishergate Hill area? Let us know in the comments below.