Later this year an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will be filed to provide funding for a Winckley Square Conservation Project which would involve a much needed facelift to the gardens.
A similar application was made in 2009, however the NWDA-led project from 2009 was strongly opposed to and the plan never came to fruition.
This time, a fresh approach has been made to enable a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) to be driven from the strength of the local historical community, and their attachment to Winckley Square.
A selection of local historians, the Lancashire Gardens Trust and Groundwork Lancashire west and Wigan have come together to create a plan that will be in keeping with the historical Winckley gardens and to create a natural environment there befitting of its richly steeped history of over two hundred years of existence.
Up towards the end of the eighteenth century, what we know now as Winckley Square was just a piece of land known locally as ‘Town End Field’. A prominent gentleman of the legal profession, William Cross, purchased a large part of this land from Thomas Winckley and over time created an area, inspired by his many trips to London, developing into a wonderfully salubrious Georgian square, surrounding a centrepiece of delightful and exquisite gardens for all the residents to enjoy.
Residents of the square had a portion or parcel of land which was allocated to them as part of the property each one owned. Throughout the passing years, the land parcels have changed hands many times and the apportionment and ownerership of the gardens bears no comparison as to what it is today. In the mid twentieth century an agreement, between the landowners and Preston Corporation, was made to create an incumbency of the Corporation to maintain and cultivate the gardens as they do today as Preston City Council.
It is now essential that a new approach needs to be made in the guardianship of the gardens and a plan with sensitivity and sustainability to the aesthetics and ecology to benefit the people of Preston in such a way that all can enjoy and appreciate this fabulous gem in the city centre.
Many images and mappings of Winckley Square have been sourced to construct a conservation plan to create an area which would tick all the right boxes in every aspect.
It has become evident that there is little information and very few images of the period from the end of WWII to 1960, when the main transition of the Gardens took place.
Ben Williams of Groundwork and CMP team leader said “anyone in possession of images or personal accounts of Winckley Square from that period of time could help enormously; photographs, including views of the gardens from the 1940’s to the 1960’s would be absolutely ideal”.
Your contributions of wedding snaps or landscape scenes and the like could be vital in creating a Winckley Square for all to be proud of, for present and future generations.
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