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Preston’s lost mills and one survivor, colour photos from 1960

Posted on - 21st August, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, History, Nostalgia
Avenham Street mill in 1960, now a car park Pic: N Keith Scott
Avenham Street mill in 1960, now a car park Pic: N Keith Scott

Preston in 1960, and many Victorian mills are still in use. Avenham Street mill dominates the area, but is now a car park. However, the brick building, further up the street survives, as an Italian restaurant.

The local corner shop is still a focal point and supermarkets are just beginning to appear. 

N Keith Scott has a roll of the latest colour film and begins to record life in early post-war Preston.

Dashing to the corner shop for a meat pie. Ladyman Street 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott.
Dashing to the corner shop for a meat pie. Ladyman Street 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott.

TVs are popular in Preston

A plethora of aerials. Isherwood Street, 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott
A plethora of aerials. Isherwood Street, 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott

Rationing is over and every home on Isherwood Street seems to have a TV.  Most TVs in 1960 were rented and made in the UK. There was a large manufacturing base in the North of England, supplying the TV industry.

The sets were very expensive and prone to breakdowns. Valves were used and were probably made by Mullards in Blackburn, as was the picture tube (Simonstone from 1960). 

There were only two black and white TV channels. The most common screen size was a massive 17 inches, up from the pre-war 9 inches. As it happens, Coronation Street began on ITV in 1960.

A 1960, 23” HMV TV, a top of the range model Pic: Valvepage.com
A 1960, 23” HMV TV, a top of the range model Pic: Valvepage . com

BBC2 came along in 1964, although you would have needed a new TV and aerial to pick up the then high definition 625 line service. Colour broadcasts began in June 1967, however, only on BBC2, until November 1969. For Christmas 1969, BBC 1 and ITV burst into colour.

The first BBC2 colour ident from 1967 Pic: Wikmedia
The first BBC2 colour ident from 1967 Pic: Wikmedia

More lost mills

Leighton Street mill in 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott
Leighton Street mill in 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott

Another lost mill was on Leighton Street. This area has now been redeveloped as the UCLan campus. However, there is still a part of UCLan named Leighton Building. This unit is made of red brick and mimics the look of the old mill.

Leighton Street today, Leighton Building is in the centre Pic: Google maps
Leighton Street today, Leighton Building is in the centre Pic: Google maps

Donkey stones, smoking chimneys and empty streets

Great Townley Street in 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott
Great Townley Street in 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott

The next photo is fascinating for a number of reasons. One is the total lack of parked cars, another is the lady donkey-stoning the front step. 

Donkey stones were a kind of soft stone block. The variously coloured stones were rubbed on damp steps, to create a decorative edge. This was a northern tradition that was already dying out in the 1960s. The last donkey stones were made in 1979. Finally the mill engine is running flat out creating clouds of black smoke.

Interestingly, Great Townley Street did not succumb to the 1960s bulldozers, and looks very similar today.

A rare mill survivor

Aqueduct Street Mill in 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott
Aqueduct Street Mill in 1960 Pic: N Keith Scott

The 1960 photo above is also packed with nostalgia. An early ‘invalid carriage’ sits by the pavement, while a motorbike and sidecar emerges from Bold Street. 

The white vehicle trundling by is a Co-Op electric milk float. Today milkmen are a rarer sight; some still used a horse-drawn float into the 1970s.

Happily, Aqueduct Street Mill is still alive and well, and used as an industrial park. The railway bridge is noticeable in both images. However, the block at the front right has become a ubiquitous car park. What was once the inside is still painted white.

Aqueduct Street Mill today Pic: Google Maps
Aqueduct Street Mill today Pic: Google Maps

More in the snapshot years series, coming soon.



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