This week we take the final part of our journey along the south side of Fishergate looking at the buildings, shops and alleyways going in a westerly direction.Advertisement
Looking at the above image from 1901, we can see a view of part of the south side of Fishergate and how splendidly ornate the shops looked at that time. The street just to the right of centre is Guildhall Street and one instantly recognisable building is that of the shop on the corner of Fishergate and the east side of Guildhall Street. This has been the premises of many a business in its time. Some of them have been: Caleb Oakley cabinet maker in the mid 1800’s, London Rubber Company in the early 1900’s, The Fifty Shillings Tailors Ltd in the 1930’s, The House of Bewley Tobacconists in the mid 1950’s and today it is the premises of George Banks Jewellers.
The two buildings on the corner of west side of Guildhall Street and Fishergate was at that time two shops but a few years later in 1909 the whole building was taken over by a company known as the ‘Grand Clothing Hall’ Ltd. They boasted that is was ‘one of the most up-to-date and flourishing establishments in Lancashire, providing the public with some of the finest garments made for them by the most skilled hand-sewing Preston tailors working for them’.
In 1935 the building was taken over once again by ‘New Day’ Furnishers. I feel certain that there will be some readers that remember this establishment and may indeed have purchased some item of furniture or even a television set from them at some time. Both incarnations of this building can be seen in the images immediately below.
Moving slightly along Fishergate we encounter another of those narrow alleyways. This was known as Woodcock’s Court and in 1740 Preston’s first theatre was located here. The court is thought to have taken it’s name from messrs. Wren, Corry & Woodcock, Timber Merchants who once occupied premises here. Woodcock’s Court remained until it was demolished, along with the buildings to the left side of the court, to make way for the new Boots store which today is now the HMV premises. Two views of the court are seen in the images below.
Below is an image of Fishergate in 1971, which is approximately the same angle of view as the uppermost image of Fishergate in 1901. The only building which is easily recognisable is the ‘House of Bewley’ Tobacconists shop on the corner of Guildhall Street.
The two shops, ‘Slendos’ and ‘L&C Leatherwear’ are what remains of the 19th century buildings. I am pleased to convey to you that they still remain today in the form of one shop premises know as ‘Fat Face’ the fashion people. A view of this part of Fishergate taken in 2012 is shown in the image below.
Another of the buildings that has been there since the mid 1930’s is the ‘NEXT’ fashion store which of course, was the former Woolworth premises built in 1934 and remained until 2010 when Woolworth closed down.
In earlier times the site of the former Woolworth building was the location of a public house known as the Shelley Arms Hotel. This was an impressive and well patronised establishment with an archway at the west side, leading to a coach yard at the rear.
An image of the Shelly Arms Hotel can be viewed on Steve Halliwell’s wonderful website Preston’s Inn’s, Taverns & Beerhouses
Part 4 of Fishergate, 100 years of change can be found here.
In the next article: A ramble along Church Street with a retrospective view.
This is a weekly series showcasing photos each week from the brilliant Preston Digital Archive which is an online archive of images of Preston’s past.