The Harris Museum has been celebrating Preston’s role in supplying refreshments to troops during the two World Wars.
During the First and Second World War 15 million cups of tea were given to tired troops who passed through Preston train station. The Free Buffet was organised and run by volunteers from the Preston Women Citizens Association.
The Harris Museum owns memorabilia from this time, including the original mugs, thank-you letters sent by soldiers and badges worn by the volunteers. Unfortunately many of the mugs have yet to be found as they were kept by soldiers as souvenirs.
The event was held as a pre-empt to a new gallery opening in 2012 that will commemorate Preston and the city’s history. This gallery will home the Free Buffet memorabilia which is yet to be on display to the public.
Emma Heselwood, curator of the gallery, said: “It’s not a widely known aspect of Preston, thousands go through Preston station but how many will have noticed the plaque commemorating the Free Buffet in the waiting area? Hopefully now people will be more aware of this part of our history and will get excited for the opening of the new gallery here in the Harris Museum”.
Heselwood added: “We are looking to speak to any of the women that volunteered, and would be extremely interested in speaking to soldiers that passed through the station”. If you have any further information please contact the Harris Museum on 01772-258-248.