Guided tours telling the stories of Preston First World War unsung heroes return

Posted on - 22nd February, 2016 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - City Centre, History, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, What's On in Preston



A popular event marking the untold stories of three unsung Preston heroes during the First World War is returning to the city.

History guides take you on a journey through the city centre telling the stories of Beatrice, Joseph and John.

Each tour is themed around the story of each of the characters and tells Prestonian’s about their sacrifice during the conflict. Last Autumn’s tours were launched by a street theatre group, although they are not returning for these tours.

The free tours run on Saturdays and Sundays throughout March, April and May.

Councillor John Swindells, deputy leader of Preston City Council, said: “The stories of soldiers being killed in the trenches during WW1 is a history everyone is familiar with and should never be forgotten. Many people have connections with their own family members who were lost.

“What is less well known is the untold effect it had on all corners of society -from people like Joseph Garstang who suffered horrendously for his beliefs – to the families left behind, refugees forced to flee their countries and those soldiers who came back but were forever changed by their experiences.

“It is extremely important to remember the far reaching effects of the First World War and how it changed our society forever. The walking tours tell these fascinating stories and capture the time perfectly.”

Funding for the tours comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Preston Remembers project.


The stories are:

Joseph Garstang – was an absolutist and conscientious objector who refused to take part in any war-related activity; he was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned for his beliefs.

John Gregson – was a soldier who lost his life in WWI. Having previously been a soldier in India and a tram driver in Preston, John was also an army reservist. He would have been one of the first to be called up at the outbreak of the war.

Beatrice Blackhurst – was part of the suffrage movement and marched for women’s right to vote; she was a founding member of Preston’s Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Free Buffet Association at the railway station.

The tours run on the following dates:

Saturday 19 March, 2pm, John Gregson tour
Sunday 20 March, 10am, Joseph Garstang tour
Sunday 20 March, 2pm, Beatrice Blackhurst tour
Saturday 16 April, 10am, Beatrice Blackhurst tour
Sunday 17 April, 10am, John Gregson tour
Sunday 17 April, 2pm, Joseph Garstang tour
Saturday 21 May, 2pm, Beatrice Blackhurst tour
Sunday 22 May, 10am, Joseph Garstang tour
Sunday 22 May, 2pm, John Gregson tour

Full details of each tour and to register a place visit the Eventbrite site.

Did you go on the tours in Autumn last year? Let us know what you thought in the comments below

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