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Talk in Preston about historic diary saved from the incinerator

Posted on - 3rd December, 2023 - 8:00pm | Author - | Posted in - City Centre, History, Preston City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston
The Lancashire Distress - The Soup-Kitchen, Crooked Lane. Taken from The Illustrated London News Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The Lancashire Distress – The Soup-Kitchen, Crooked Lane, Preston. Taken from The Illustrated London News Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The next of Preston Historical Society’s monthly talks is about the diary of a Lancashire weaver.

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Luckily the document survived the days when material of immense value to future generations was routinely consigned to the scrap heap.

In this case, the diary was very nearly loaded into the municipal incinerator, but thankfully one of the workers recognised its value and saved it from the flames.

It’s an especially important historic document because while there are plenty of diaries written by members of the Victorian middle class, there are very few by members of the working class.

The former county archivist, R. Sharpe France, who was also chair of Preston Historical Society, described its rescue: “Only by the greatest of good fortune has this fascinating diary been preserved. In 1947 it was picked off a heap of rubbish by a labourer who was feeding the furnace at the Clitheroe destructor.

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“He had the good sense to see that here was something out of the ordinary, and took the book to the late Mr. Arthur Langshaw, who deposited it in the Lancashire Record Office after unsuccessful attempts to trace its source.”

The diary records desperate times in the 19th century when the weavers and their families needed soup kitchens to save them from starvation.

The talk by Stewart Turner is at the Central Methodist Church in Lune Street on Monday 4 December from 7pm to 8.30pm. Tickets are £5 on the door.

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