16 excellent things Preston gave the world

Posted on - 29th November, 2013 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Observations

It’s Friday, it’s nearly the weekend and we thought it was about time we celebrated some of the great things Preston has given the wider world.


1. Trams

Early in the last century Preston had a strong manufacturing base. This included the founding of The Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works Ltd in 1898. The company was later to be know as the Dick, Kerr Works, who went on to supply trams to Blackpool, Scotland, the London Underground and even further. It is said that Preston once had the largest tram factory in the UK, more trams were produced here than anywhere else in the country.


2. Aircraft

The tram manufacturing works in Preston expanded and diverted into aircraft development and construction. The Felixstowe F3 flying boat was built here and the Wren made its first night from Ashton Park in Preston on 5 April 1923. The Canberra aircraft, the world’s first jet bomber, was designed in Preston. The Canberra held 26 world records for speed and altitude including the fastest crossing of the Atlantic in 1951 at 4 hours 40 minutes. The rear fuselage of Concorde was later manufactured by the British Aircraft Corporation in Preston

3. Trains

English Electric designed and built the Deltic locomotive DP1 (Diesel Prototype number 1) at Strand Road in Preston and this engine was at the time the most powerful train in the whole world. An office block has been named after the Deltic and stands on the spot on Strand Road where the engine was built.


4. Football

Preston has claim to be the home of football. One of the reasons the National Football Museum was based there (before being cruelly relocated to Manchester). Preston’s Deepdale stadium is said to be the oldest continuously used football league ground in the world. In the 1888/89 season Preston North End (PNE) became League Champions and also won the FA Cup; the first team to achieve the double. PNE beat Hyde United 26 – 0 in the 1887 FA Cup, the highest score in English football. Preston North End legend, Sir Tom Finney OBE, CBE was the first player to be named Footballer of the Year twice – in 1954 and 1957. There are many more fascinating facts about historic PNE. The club is not much in the news these days except to mention that they are currently riding high in the Sky Bet League One table.


5. Ladies Football

Following the success Preston’s male footballers the ladies thought they would have a go. Dick Kerr’s Ladies are probably the most famous and most successful women’s football team in the world. Founded in Preston Dick, Kerr’s Ladies represented England and beat France in the first ever recognised women’s international football tournament in 1920. England won 2–0 at Deepdale, home of PNE. In 1922 they went on to tour the USA playing mostly men’s teams.

6.,The Bond Bug

The bright orange three wheeler Bond Bug motor car, first produced in Preston in 1970, became a style icon of the 1970’s. Designer Lawrence Bond, born in Preston, was a Formula Three racing driver whose design of the first three-wheeled Minicar introduced cheap motoring to the UK following WWII. Named as one of the ‘Fifty Ugliest Cars of the Past 50 Years’.

7. Motorways

Thank Preston for Motorway traffic jams because this is where it all began. The first ever UK motorway, the M6, was built around Preston and, yes, as soon as it was opened the first ever motorway traffic jam. The weekend after opening traffic was reduced to a 2 mph crawl. The first car crash on a motorway also happened at Preston a week after opening. A Preston man was sentenced to three months in jail after he crashed a car he took without consent.


8. The Catchphrase ‘I’m free’

Preston born actor Frederick John Inman, Mr Humphries in the BBC comedy ‘Are You Being Served’, became internationally famous for his ‘I’m free’ catchphrase. Inman won BBC TV Personality of the Year in 1976. His dad had a barbers on Fishergate in Preston.

9. Classic Comics

Comic book artist Leo Baxendale, born at Whittle-le-Woods just outside Preston studied at Preston Catholic College and worked at the Lancashire Evening Post. His claim to fame is that he created Beano classics such as the Bash Street Kids, Little Plum and Mini the Minx. He also helped develop classic kids comics The Beezer and Wham.

10. The Factory System

Preston born Richard Arkwright is considered the father of the modern industrial factory system and his developments in cotton spinning are seen as a catalyst for the Industrial Revolution. However, opinions are divided amongst historians if Arkwright was a great inventor or just a brilliant business man. Some say he should be considered the first industrial tycoon in the country.

11. Sporting Trophy connections

The founder of the Ryder Cup, the great biennial golf championship, was born in 1858 at Walton-le-Dale, Preston. Ice hockey’s famous Stanley Cup started in 1892 when Governor General of Canada Frederick Stanley (Lord Stanley of Preston between 1886 and 1893) offered the Cup as an incentive to develop the sport.
Edward Smith Stanley, the son of Lord Stanley, M.P., was born in 1752 at Patten House in Preston. In 1776 he succeeded to the earldom of Derby as twelfth Earl. He loved horse racing. The famous “Derby” and “Oaks” races were named in his honor (The Oaks took the name from the villa of Lambert’s Oaks, the Earl’s racing residence at the time).

12. Teetotalism

The temperance movement, a social movement urging reduced use of alcohol, had been around since the early 1800s. However, Preston man Joseph Livesey signed an historic pledge in 1833 that began the foundation of the total abstinence movement. The word ‘Teetotal’ meaning totally abstaining from alcohol was coined by Richard Turner who was working in Preston at the time.

13. Upmarket Supermarket

One of the oldest family-run grocery businesses in the UK is E.H. Booth & Co. Ltd whose headquarters are in Preston. In 2006 Booths achieved second place in the list of the World’s Greatest Food Retailers. The ‘Southerners’ have Waitrose. We have Booths.


14. Fast Food

Okay, so many may already know Preston had the first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in the UK. However, this was also the the first quick service American style ‘fastfood’ restaurant opening well before other outlets such as McDonald’s. There was a Wimpey hamburger shop right next door – although it was not treated as fast food establishment at the time.


15. Cricket Superstar

Preston born cricket superstar Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff became Wisden Cricketer of the year for 2004 and in 2005 broke the record for the most sixes scored for England, previously held by Ian Botham. Winning the 2005 Ashes, he was named as “Man of the Series”. In 2009 Flintoff became the world’s most expensive cricket player. The Lancashire and England all rounder was ‘bought’ by by the Chennai Super Kings for $1.5 million to play in the Indian Premier League. He was also awarded the Freedom of the City of Preston in this year. Freddie later became a boxer and has his own clothes range.

16. Wallace & Gromit

Although Bristol has adopted the characters due to production company Aardman Animations being based there the creator of Wallace and Gromit, Nick Park, was born in Preston. He studied Art and Design at Preston College. They named a library for the art and design department after him: the Nick Park Library Learning Centre. It is said that the character idea for Wallace came from his old English teacher in Preston.

wallace & Gromit

What did we miss? What else do people need to know about Preston? Let us know in the comments below

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