In this the third part of the series of Winckley Square history, we continue along the eastern side of the square and on to a house built by a Mr John Dalton who owned Avenham House just a short distance away from Winckley Square and was erected some distance from John Gorst’s house at around the same time in 1809. Number 6, the house of the Rev. Roger Carus Wilson, mentioned in Part 2, was built much later in 1830 (see 1822 map image above). The address of this property was to become 8 Winckley Square and served a long purpose as being a residential house for many years until the 1960’s when it was demolished to erect Charles House for the Inland Revenue department in Preston.Advertisement
When 8 Winckley Square was demolished it was the beginning of a complete change for that side of the square as you will see as this part of the story develops and it is left for you to decide whether it was for the better or worse!
As well as numbers 6 and 7 which still remain to this day there is one more building that still exists on this side of Winckley Square and that is a former house of Joseph Seaton Aspden. As explained in Part 1 of the series, Mr. Aspden originally built a house at 1 Winckley Place (later Square). However he sold that one on and moved into number 9.
There were two more buildings on the eastern side of Winckley Square before we arrive at Cross Street. Following on from Mr. Aspden’s house there was the Winckley Club, this being a very fine example of architecture and was created for the prominent gentlemen and business men of Preston from that period of time in 1846. This rather grand place included a News Room and a Billiards Room.
The next building was situated at the corner of Winckley Square and Cross Street and had the very grand title of ‘The Literary and Philosophical Institution’; it was built by architect Mr. John Welch at the same time as the Winckley Club. The institution was an incredibly prestigious establishment and had a remarkable museum within as well as a well stocked library and a Collegiate Hall in which many scientific and nature lectures were given.
A time came when interest waned at the institution and eventually the building was sold to the Corporation of Preston and it was used for a while as the Dr. Shepherd library until that moved to the Harris reference library where it remains to this day. Before being swept away both the Winckley Club and the institution buildings were finally used as part of the Grammar School which was adjacent and behind them on Cross Street.
In contrast to the above image of the Winckley Club and the Philosophical Institution is the image immediately below which illustrates the almost incredible difference between what was and what is, today.
There is one last architectural shock to be unfortunately reminded of on the eastern side of Winckley Square on the opposite side of Cross Street. At this location, was the most elegant and Italian-style villa which was built for a Mr. William Ainsworth, a cotton manufacturer of Preston. Although Mr. Ainsworth was, by all accounts, a very strict and probably not very well liked person by his employees, he was quite popular with his contemporaries and was an esteemed member of the Winckley Club. After Mr. Ainsworth had died the building changed hands a couple of times and eventually became the home of the County Court Offices in the 1940’s. Finally the building was swept away and today you see what was built in its place under the name ‘Winckley House’. The images immediately below show the original villa and a recent view of its ‘replacement architecture’. Make of it what you will!
In Part 4 of this series we will look at the final buildings on the eastern and then on to the southern side of Winckley Square including an interesting house and family on the corner of Winckley Square and Camden Place.
Part 2 of this series can be found here and Part 4 can be found here
I would sincerely like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the late Marian Roberts for her book ‘The Story of Winckley Square’ which truly inspired me to write this series of articles. Marian was one of Preston’s leading historians during her later life and much loved by all who knew her.
Also many thanks to the Preston Digital Archive for the kind permission to use their images in this article.
Is there anything special to you about Winckley Square or its gardens? Please let us know in the comments below.