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Explore Edwardian Preston with hi-res images and colour

Posted on - 4th September, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Preston News
Broadgate in 1905 Pic: A. E. Shaw for the Cotton Town Digitisation Project
Broadgate in 1905 Pic: A. E. Shaw for the Cotton Town Digitisation Project

The Cotton Town project, in Blackburn, has digitised many hi-res images of Preston. These were taken circa 1900 to 1910, by the Blackburn photographer A.E. Shaw, and are of amazing quality. The glass plate negatives were quite large and captured a lot of detail.

The image above shows Broadgate, close to the river, one of the few tram routes in Preston. There is not a motor vehicle in site, and the neat cobbled street features gas lamps along with the poles for the tram overhead wires. Electricity was only in the homes of the wealthy at this time.

The image also reveals the foggy atmosphere and that once common problem, horse droppings in the road.

The sign on the post reads ‘Cars stop here by request’. Note the two bicycles; these became popular in the 1890s. 

The one horse-power, fishmonger’s ‘van’ trundles along. In 1902, J Heaney was at 44 Fishergate, trading as a fish, fruit and game dealer, as well as in flowers. A single horse was cheap to run and could easily canter at close to 20mph. More than adequate for in-town deliveries.

Edwardian trams in colour

Here is a colourised image of a Preston tram in 1906. The livery was officially maroon and yellow, or dark red and cream, depending on the light. The trams stopped running in 1935. 

Ribbleton Lane, colour by G Whittaker Pic: A. E. Shaw, Cotton Town digitisation project
Ribbleton Lane, colour by G Whittaker Pic: A. E. Shaw, Cotton Town digitisation project

The sky in old photos is usually overexposed and plain white, so a new sky has been added, as have the overhead wires.

The chauffeur awaits, 1910, a frozen moment in time

Chauffeur on Fishergate, early 20th century Pic: A. E. Shaw, Cotton Town digitisation project
Chauffeur on Fishergate, early 20th century Pic: A. E. Shaw, Cotton Town digitisation project

Fishergate around 1910 and a chauffeur waits outside the shops. Cars are now starting to replace the horse, at least for the rich. The Theatre Royal can be seen in the distance and the first motor vehicle signs are starting to adorn lampposts. The ornate lamps are now electric.

Police on Fishergate, early 20th century Pic: A. E. Shaw, Cotton Town digitisation project
Police on Fishergate, early 20th century Pic: A. E. Shaw, Cotton Town digitisation project

It’s 12.10pm on a fine afternoon and another motorist is about to leave. A beat Bobby surveys the scene. Posters are propped up outside the travel agents. They advertise the liners that ply the oceans, the Titanic will be launched in 1911. The local liner port of choice, is Liverpool.

Edwardian Cunard poster Pic: Wikimedia
Edwardian Cunard poster Pic: Wikimedia

Friargate, The Hippodrome and the Harris

Friargate ,early 20th century Pic: A. E. Shaw, Cotton Town digitisation project
Friargate ,early 20th century Pic: A. E. Shaw, Cotton Town digitisation project

Here we have a busy scene in Friargate, and The Hippodrome theatre can be seen on the left. The building opened in 1905, not long after this picture was taken. That is why it looks so clean, compared to the Harris in the centre of the image. Unfortunately this attractive building was demolished in 1959. A Wilko store now occupies this site.

There is a lot of human-power in evidence with barrows and delivery carts. The Kay’s store on the left was a well known clothing supplier in the Edwardian era.

Kay's Edwardian advertisement Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Kay’s Edwardian advertisement Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The Harris opened in 1893 and is now closed until 2024 while it undergoes restoration.

The building is neoclassical in style with a central lantern tower that is 120ft high.

Full resolution images can be seen on the Preston Digital Archive via Flickr.



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