With the forthcoming ‘Colours of the World: Made in Preston’ project in mind, I began to think about what existed on the site of the former Courtaulds prior to the construction of the factory buildings at Red Scar.
There is, in fact, a long history of a house that originally existed on there and was in the ownership of the Cross family over a period of two centuries which was known a Red Scar House.
Seen to the left is William Cross a prominent member of the legal profession who was based in Winckley Street, Preston. He fell in love with Red Scar House and purchased it with some considerable amount of surrounding land in 1803. During the next few years he had the house remodelled to quite a large Elizabethan-type manor and occasionally stayed there to be surrounded by the countryside he had so much affection for. He married Ellen Chaffers from Liverpool in 1813 and they then permanently took up residence in the house together.
During their marriage William and Ellen Cross had six children. Unfortunately, following 14 years of happy marriage, William died in 1827.
Red Scar house remained under the ownership of various generations of the Cross family until 1934. The last remaining owner of the house was Katharine (Kitty) Mary Cross who sold the Red Scar land to the Coutaulds Company and made the condition that they would also buy the house with it, of which they agreed. The house remained empty for many years which resulted in its complete dilapidation resulting in demolition of the house in the late 1940’s to make way for the new Courtaulds factory.
Interestingly, the part of the land on which Red Scar House existed was never built upon by Courtaulds, however, even today there remains a few artefacts on the former site of the house for all to see as part of the Red Scar Memorial Walk.
If you are interested in discovering more about Red Scar House and the Cross family then it would be well worth a visit to the Red Scar Memorial Walk which will take place Sunday 6th July
Courtaulds eventually closed and the whole factory was swept away in 1980.
Images of the demolition can be viewed here. There is also a community project looking for the memories of the former Courtaulds factory workers.
I would like to thank my good friend, local historian and author David Hindle, for his advice and guidance on the history of the Cross family.
Did you know about Red Scar House? Have you been to any of the Memorial walks and what did you think? Let us know in the comments below.