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Preston’s lost garages and what is left of the West Lancashire line?

Posted on - 26th November, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Preston News, Preston Railway Station, Transport
Sizer’s Garage Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Sizer’s Garage Pic: Preston Digital Archive

There are some interesting connections between early motor car makers and the railways in Preston. In the early 20th century Preston had a good number of motor car garages. It was a major county town that was situated on a lot of through routes. These ran both north /south and east /west. Road improvements went hand-in-hand with the development of the motor car. The garage above was named New Bridge Garage to celebrate the building of the Penwortham ”new” bridge in 1915.

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On another transport note, the Ruston and Hornsby cars mentioned in the ad were only made for a short time, between 1919 and 1924. They were very expensive and heavy. The rail connection comes with the Ruston and Hornsby company; they were far better known for making railway locomotives.

The “new” Penwortham bridge in 1955 Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The “new” Penwortham bridge in 1955 Pic: Preston Digital Archive

In the 1955 image above, there is an elaborate roundabout that has now gone. However, the most changes have occurred a bit further south.

Penwortham bridge and the West Lancashire rail terminus

The rail terminus of the West Lancashire railway Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The rail terminus of the West Lancashire railway Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Above the West Lancashire Railway once crossed the Ribble, over a fairly substantial bridge and viaduct. The viaduct has long gone. The old bridge supports have been repurposed to carry a pipeline. Most of the green field sites in the earlier image are now covered in housing.

The course of the old West Lancashire line and the repurposed bridge supports Pic: Google Earth
The course of the old West Lancashire line and the repurposed bridge supports Pic: Google Earth

Bradshaw’s Ford car dealership

1922 Ad for the Ford Model T Pic: Preston Digital Archive
1922 Ad for the Ford Model T Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Bradshaw’s Ford dealership on Marsh Lane had a long history, with the building not being demolished until 1991. They began by selling the Model T in 1913 at £270, which was a very low price for a car at the time. The Model T was made in the UK from 1910. A typical dock labourer in Preston would have been on around 7s per week in 1913. The Ford Consul had gone into production in 1951 and was part of the Zephyr range. It was priced at £732. Average wages in 1952 were £10 per week. However, this was a period of austerity and around 30 per cent of income went on food as opposed to 10 per cent today.

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Bradshaw’s Garage ad from 1952 Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Bradshaw’s Garage ad from 1952 Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The garage remained until 1991.

Bradshaw’s Garage in Marsh Lane Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Bradshaw’s Garage in Marsh Lane Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Read more: Dig into more Preston history with Geoffrey

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