Winckley Square volunteers gearing up for guided walks to return for Heritage Open Days

Posted on - 3rd September, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - City Centre, History, Preston City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston, Winckley Square
James and Beatrice Todd in dining room
James and Beatrice Todd will feature in a new guided walk

The Friends of Winckley Square (FoWS) are gearing up for a return to a ‘new normal’ after over a year without face-to-face activities.


Prior to March 2020 and the pandemic, plans were in place for a full summer and winter of events. Unfortunately, like many other voluntary groups, all the plans went on hold.

Patricia Harrison, Chair of FoWS, said: “What made matters worse was the uncertainty of if and when ‘normality’ would return. We could only plan for the short term.

“Zoom and Microsoft Teams presented a rapid learning curve for us. Talks that had previously been given in community halls using PowerPoint and a projector went online.

“Despite one or two shaky starts all went well and we are now wondering whether groups will revert to the ‘live’ event or settle into more of an online experience.”

Friends of Winckley Square volunteers
Friends of Winckley Square volunteers

Another FoWS offering to go online was the regular newsletter. Pre-pandemic, paper copies were distributed in museums, shops, cafes and bars whereas, during the lockdowns, there was nowhere to place them and hardly anyone out and about to pick them up.

Research into characters from Preston’s history continued, and articles were written by FoWS members for various publications. A highlight was the award of ‘Highly Commended’ from the Women’s History Network, which recognised a project developed pre-Covid, The Extraordinary Women of Winckley Square.

Read more: National women’s history award for Friends of Winckley Square

FoWS members also developed some new initiatives including video, drone imagery, and some new guided walks and talks, which expand the range of topics covered.

Partnerships with other groups such as Preston Historical Society have been a guiding principle of FoWS from the start. Future events include working with UCLan, Preston Photographic Society, Preston Arts Association and others.

Patricia said: “Pre-booked guided walks resumed in July and August with limited numbers from various organisations.

“We are now planning a weekend of events for the Heritage Open Days on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September. New walks and talks have been developed to add to those that have proved popular in the past, including one on James and Beatrice Todd and their three daughters.

“Beatrice was the driving force behind the famous Preston Station Buffet that fed millions of service personnel in World War I, and led the introduction of care for mothers and babies in Preston when not only were their fathers dying in the trenches, but their babies were perishing in Preston from inadequate healthcare and nourishment.

“We’ve been liaising with James and Beatrice’s granddaughter, Susan Rees, who lives in the south but will be attending the guided walk that features her incredible family. We will want to take the opportunity to ask Susan to share more of her memories of Beatrice, who died in 1958.”

Read more: Preston’s Heritage Open Days 2021 – what you can visit in the city

The full programme of events for Heritage Open Days is available on Eventbrite. Numbers are limited in the interests of safety, so booking is highly recommended.

To catch up on news from FoWS, visit their newsletter archive.

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

Will you be going to any of the Friends of Winckley Square Square events? Let us know in the comments.

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