Menu

Postcards in peace and war, the Preston Pals suffer great losses

Posted on - 2nd April, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Preston City Centre, Preston News
Church Street by Francis Frith, 1910 Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Church Street by Francis Frith, 1910 Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Postcards were often used for promotional purposes as well as for leisure. That included sentimental cards that were sent to the front during World War I. Tragedy befell the Preston Pals and the shown postcard is a sad reminder of the waste of life.

Francis Frith was a 19th century photography pioneer. He later founded the Francis Frith company. They produced tinted postcards of many parts of the UK including Preston. These are an invaluable guide to the changing face of Preston.

Above a tram trundles down Church Street on one of the rather limited routes available. The livery was a dark mauve and cream. On the far left, sits a motorcycle and sidecar, a rather unusual sight. Motorcycles go back to 1885, when Gottlieb Daimler first attached an engine to a bicycle.

On the far right, Topping Brothers were chemists on Church Street. That was long before the NHS, and free prescriptions. Chemists also sold non-medical items such as furniture cream. You probably would not want to get that mixed up with the oxygenated tooth powder.

Topping Brothers ad Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Topping Brothers ad Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Promotional postcards, the Theatre Royal

Preston Theatre Royal Postcard Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Preston Theatre Royal Postcard Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Postcards were often issued to promote events or locations. Above Prestonā€™s Theatre Royal is advertising a play named Beauty and the Barge. The site of the Cinema Royal, in Fishergate, was long associated with performance. It originally opened as the Theatre Royal in 1802 and was rebuilt in 1870. It was rebuilt again in 1959 as the ABC Cinema.

World War I, the Preston Pals are wiped out

Sentimental Postcard from World War I Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Sentimental postcard from World War I Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The outbreak of war in 1914 was the cause of great excitement in Preston. The town was a major railway hub andĀ garrison town. Fulwood Barracks rapidly became swamped with volunteers. The Corn Exchange and even the tramway power station were used for accommodation. A group of 250 volunteers formed the Preston Pals. They headed off from Preston Station to Salisbury Plain for training. However, the early enthusiasm was soon replaced by grief, as the Preston Pals were virtually wiped out in August 1916. Only 50 men survived.

Preston postcards books and publications

There have been some interesting books and publications, on Prestonā€™ postcards.

The Preston The Postcard Collection book by Peter Byron came out in 2019. It was published by Amberley who produce a range of interesting history titles. The format follows a route around the town using original postcards and photographs.

Preston The Postcard Collection by Peter Byrom
Preston The Postcard Collection by Peter Byrom

There is a brief history of Preston and the text is informative and comprehensive.

Church Street from The Postcard Collection by Peter Byrom
Church Street from Preston The Postcard Collection by Peter Byrom

FollowĀ Geoffrey on TwitterĀ for links to the above book, as well as other sources used for this article and more Preston history.

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

Share
Preston in pictures Preston City Mela 2024Preston City Mela 2024Preston City Mela 2024Preston City Mela 2024Preston City Mela 2024Preston City Mela 2024Preston City Mela 2024Preston City Mela 2024 View more
Advertisement
Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up below to receive Blog Preston's email newsletter. It wings its way into inboxes every Sunday and Wednesday rounding up our top stories and more.

Advertisement
News by location

Find news by location, select an area of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

The Preston Guide

Discover local businesses and services near you.

Advertisement
Categories

Find news by category, select an category of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

Blog Preston email updates

Receive our digest of the biggest and best stories every Sunday to your email inbox

We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time from our emails