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The first post World War II Preston Guild, 1952, in colour

Posted on - 24th September, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Flag Market, History, Preston City Centre, Preston Guild, Preston News
Highways Department 1952 Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm
Highways Department float Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm

The first post World War II Preston Guild was held in 1952. It was still largely a black and white world, photographically. However modern AI technology can add a splash of colour to a drab scene. This is not historically accurate but gives a pleasing effect. AI Colour by Pallette.fm. The first image shows a highways department float. Preston was to lead the way in interurban transport with the M6 motorway. 1952 was a time of austerity tinged with optimism. It was the year after the Festival of Britain and people were looking forward to a brighter future. However, food rationing did not end fully until 1954.

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The 1952 Guild

Horrockses float Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm
Horrockses float Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm

During the 1952 Guild, a parade of floats travelled through the town. The latest technological breakthrough was television. TV was restated in 1946, but not many people had sets, and there was only one channel. The BBC started broadcasting TV in 1936. Horrockses textiles were still very prominent in the town. The float reads “The Greatest Name in Cotton” hence the dresses on display.

The Market Square in 1952 Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm
The Market Square Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm

The Harris and Sessions House were floodlit for the Guild celebrations. Quite a contrast to the wartime blackout. A Preston Corporation bus waits in the background. The curvaceous car on the right is a Standard Vanguard, the first post-war design by the Standard company. It remained in production until 1963.

Preston Public Hall

Preston Public Hall in 1952 Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm
Preston Public Hall Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm

Another 1952 event was the Guild Ball at the old Public Hall. The Mayor and Mayoress, Mr and Mrs John J Ward JP appear at the bottom left.

Unfortunately much of this ornate building was demolished in the late 1980s. The only surviving part is the Corn Exchange frontage. The complex was built in 1824 and was partly rebuilt in 1882. The hall itself was 147 feet long and 63 feet wide and could seat 1,500 persons. The building was also renowned for its powerful organ. The organ cost £3,000 at the time and was saved when the building came down.

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The park performances

Avenham Park performers in 1952 Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm
Avenham Park performers Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm

Various events were held in Avenham Park. One was a history pageant on the subject of Merrie England. Nationally 1952 saw the death of George VI. Interestingly, considering the current ULEZ controversy in London, December 1952 saw over 4,000 die in the capital, due to thick smog caused by coal fires and vehicle pollution. On a lighter note, it was also the year that Singing in the Rain was released in cinemas. 

Merrie England performance in 1952 Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm
Merrie England performance Pic: Preston Digital Archive and Pallette.fm

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