Emma Heslewood At The Preston Historical Society

Posted on - 4th December, 2012 - 9:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Nostalgia, Opinion

Emma at the PHS meeting with some of Will Onda’s descendant relatives.
Left to right Linda Whiteside, Jennifer Thomas, Carol Dickenson,. Emma Heslewood and Eileen Barker

At the meeting of the Preston Historical Society on Monday 3rd December Emma Heslewood, The Curator of History at the Harris Museum, kindly gave us a splendid insight of the life of Will Onda.


Will Onda whose real name was Hugh Rain was one of Preston’s renowned characters of the late 19th century and early 20th century. We learned that he was a very accomplished acrobat, an early pioneer in the cinema and film industry and a director of the Preston North End Football Club.

Emma told us of Onda’s early life as an acrobat and how he eventually became interested in the cinema business, realising his entrepreneurial potential in this field.

Among the audience of members, guests and visitors were several descendant relatives of Will Onda who came together for the meeting and to learn about their ancestral relative’s early life and how he achieved in becoming one of Preston’s very notable characters.

The Society would like to thank Emma and look forward to her future return with the next part of the Will Onda Story.

More details of Emma’s work can be found on Emma Heslewood’s Blog

The Preston Historical Society, founded in 1948, meets on the first Monday of the month between October and May. Our meetings, which start at 7.15 pm, are held at the Central Methodist Church, Lune Street, Preston.

The annual membership subscription is ÂŁ10, and admission for visitors to a meeting is only ÂŁ2.

You can find out more about the Historical Society on their website and also on the Facebook page.

Reviewed by Paul D. Swarbrick & Gillian A. Lawson

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