As the day began I had no idea what I was doing or why I was going to do it. But I thought I’d share my experiences with you as I took a walk down Church Street.Advertisement
I am a photographer by trade and spend a majority of my time taking images for others. In 2016 I have decided to go back to my roots and have a bit of a hobby again but with a purpose in mind. I decided to bag up my gear and do little project in the centre of Preston.
I parked up at the Market car park and wandered into town (as many still call it) but before I went to my chosen destination I walked through the main shopping area and soaked up the atmosphere for that day.
It was unusually busier than normal, but I suppose there are still them bargains sales to be had.
Anyway moving on I walked across the flag market to heading towards the project I chosen to do, unfortunately I got distracted by a certain smell which drifted across my path and diverted me to the potato man. No it wasn’t for the potatos but the old favourite of parched peas with a good serving of vinegar.
As I stand at the top of my destination, I feel like there as been a divided line drawn between two different parts of our centre. I stand there wandering where did it all begin to go wrong. On one side of the line you have the hustle and bustle of Fishergate and on the other we have you guessed it, Church Street.
Church Street, my journey and project begins. My intentions to show people of Preston and beyond that do not frequent this part of city what it as declined into.
I walked down to the far end of Church Street and I began by documenting a business which you would rarely see in the thick of the centre anymore, the cobblers not your mainstream cobblers. This is an independence one , still showing the traditional values of what a local untouched by the big wigs should be. I was going to venture in side and talk to the occupants inside, but I just admired from across the street watching and thinking. at this point I looked right up Church Street as far as the eye could take me. Stood at the top standing proud was the Minster. This got me thinking what was it like back in the day. This used to be one of the main hubs of Preston and now look at it.
I set of walking slowly taking images of the boarded up building, trying to see beyond the boarding and decay what each building would of once looked like. Unfortunately some are that far gone the character as been lost forever.
Some of the old signage showing through of what once was. It’s sad to think a lot of these businesses would of been in a family for generations and with decline came the closures and distant memories of once was. I carry on building after building so sad to see. I stop at each side street and alley and the same sits behind as well, decay and rubbish everywhere. So sad to see.
Some of the streets still lined with the original cobbles. you can imagine the horse and carts once clipping over them. As I reach maybe half to three quarters of the way up a bit of life starts to appear in the building windows. First I see is a restaurant, inside looks great serving cuisine from round the globe, but what I don’t understand is what would attract people down here?
The few people I pass compared to Fishergate more or less have one thing in common, head down and wanting to get up Church street as quick as we can and not even taking much notice of what businesses are left trying to make a living against the big money crunching businesses on Fishergate.
As I reach the Minster I stop and look back down the street that had taken me back in time, but also back to the living reality of the town we are living in. I say town set against the backdrop of do we deserve the city status when you look at this end of Preston?
So I ask the questions as I stand there reflecting on my thoughts and the biggest question that comes to mind is why?.
Why have we as a modern town city/ allowed some of our heritage fall ?
Why have the powers that decide allowed it ?
Why what once was can’t be brought back to be used in the modern day ?
Why when I walk down Church Street, is it a place I don’t really want to be alone for too long with all my equipment ?
As we all know these question have been asked for years, these questions will be asked for a very long time yet. What will happen to a street that was once the place to be in Preston.
Will the bulldozers come in and flatten what’s left? Most of the buildings are beyond repair and what is left would cost money that the council simply no longer have. If this issue was seen to many years ago would this post be any different to what it is?
What do you think should be done about Church Street? Do you own a business there or live in the area? Let us know your views in the comments below
This is a guest post from photographer Ryan Cowburn. Images are available to buy by calling 07435651507.