Another of the properties along the eastern side of Winckley Square which unfortunately did not survive the demolition hammer was that of number 12 as seen in the above image. This was originally the residence of John Humber, a cotton manufacturer who owned a cotton mill at Bushell Street Works, Lancaster road North in Preston; this building still exists in the present day. Another one-time resident of number 12 was Nathaniel Miller, dental surgeon and responsible for building the Miller Arcade on Church Street in 1899.
In around 1910 12 Winckley Square became the headquarters of the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Society. It was subsequently demolished in 1964 and the site sold to the London Assurance Company Limited, who built an office block on the site which nowadays appears as illustrated in the image below.
We now move around to the southern side of Winckley Square, where the properties there appear slightly more demure that those on the eastern side. Comparing a recent image of this part of the square with one from a similar standpoint captured in 1863, it is apparent that the buildings have not changed dramatically, however, there is a marked difference inasmuch as there were gates at each junction with the eastern and western parts of the square.
The first building on the immediate left of the recent image has the address of ‘Starkie House’ Winckley Square. However, in earlier times this property had its address as Starkie Street. Looking at the 1863 image you will notice that there is no entrance on the Winckley Square side but there is an entrance on the Starkie Street side which is not visible in this image.
Moving along this side of the square we encounter a property which is on the corner of Winckley Square and Camden Place. This property is viewed from two perspectives in the two images below.
Although this property appears to be a part of Winckley Square it has its address as 5 Camden Place. Originally constructed as two properties, this was a house built by Thomas Leach, a Wholesale Hosier who had at one time shop premises in Fishergate. Thomas built this house for himself and his family and the second smaller property as a tenancy. Samuel Leach, one of his sons, recalled memories in his later years of a time when the family lived there and of such happy times they had in the house. There was a garden plot opposite the house which was used for various purposes including growing flowers, vegetables and fruit. There is an anecdotal piece of a time when the maids used to arise at 2.30 on Monday mornings to do all the washing and put it out to dry on a grassy area at the lower end of the garden. This is of particular interest as it exemplifies the use of the central gardens at one time by the individual residents of the square who each owned a portion or parcel of the land to use in different ways, such as that mentioned or just as pleasure gardens for their own personal use.
By all accounts the Leach family house appeared to have been a happy one, especially with the four children that Thomas and his wife Isabella proudly raised there.
In Part 5 of this series we will look at the Westerly side of Winckley Square and discover that it was the educational quarter of this area.
Part 3 of this series 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.