Blue plaque unveiled on restored Georgian townhouse in Winckley Square

Posted on - 18th July, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Redevelopment, Winckley Square
The blue plaque unveiled to remember Thomas Leach. Left to right: Patricia Harrison, Councillor Yakub Patel, Oves Timol and Zulfiqarali Lokhat.

A Preston businessman who helped spark many city firms into life during the industrial revolution has been remembered with a blue plaque.

Entrepreneur Thomas Leach began his career in Fishergate selling draperies, hosiery and haberdashery and went on to become a prominent investor in the city.

His trade cards and biographical data are featured within the British Museum’s archive of well-known national merchants.

Read more: A step back in time to Winckley Square’s history including 5 Camden Place

In 1834, at the age of 52, Thomas built his family home at 5 Camden Place, facing Winckley Square, and lived there for 20 years until his death in 1856.

The blue plaque has been placed on the wall of the property which has now been restored from a derelict grade-II listed Georgian townhouse into a contemporary townhouse along with nearby aparthotel Winckley Square Residences.

Before and after of how 5 Camden Place and surrounding buildings looked

5 Camden Place was the childhood home of Samuel Leach, one of Thomas Leach’s four children, and in his autobiography Samuel gave an important record about what it was like to live on Winckley Square and describes his life before getting married in 1923.

The property is also an example of a blind window, an architectural and historical quirk. This is where windows were deliberately bricked over to avoid the ‘window tax’ brought in to help fund the Napoleonic wars.

Read more: Preston’s ‘woman of firsts’ honoured with a blue plaque

The blind window in Camden Place

Chair of Friends of Winckley Square (FoWS) Patricia Harrison said: “We are delighted that another notable Prestonian has been recognised with a Blue Plaque. This is the third Blue Plaque to be unveiled in the last year thanks to the sponsorship of the business owners of each of the buildings who have taken a great interest in the wonderful Heritage of the Square and supported FoWS volunteers.”

Mayor of Preston councillor Yakub Patel said: “It’s wonderful to see Preston’s civic society being strengthened and proud history being celebrated through these collaborations between local business owners and FoWS volunteers who research, lead guided walks, give talks and run lots of exciting events attracting hundreds of people.”

Read more: Preston’s lost Shambles, demolished to build Miller Arcade

Managers of the Winckley Square Residences, who undertook the restoration, Zulfiqarali Lokhat and Oves Timol, said: “We are delighted to have successfully opened a luxury boutique aparthotel in the heart of Preston. This has directly supported the regeneration of Winckley Square Gardens and has helped boost the local economy. As Prestonians born and bred, it has been an arduous but rewarding endeavour to painstakingly restore this historic and beautiful townhouse from its previously neglected state.”

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