A tale of two belvederes

Earl of Derby statue in Miller park Preston Lancashire UK
View from the original site of the Avenham belvedere in Miller Park, looking towards the site of the Walton Hall belvedere a mile away across the Ribble. The statue of the 14th Earl of Derby now surveys the scene. Image: Karl Davison at Wikimedia Commons.

For a brief period in the middle of the 19th century two belvederes or summer houses faced one another a mile apart across the Ribble at Preston: one newly built in Miller Park and the other falling into ruins at Walton Hall. Together, they symbolised a shift in the social and political leadership of Preston from the end of the 18th century and into the 19th century, from the landed gentry of the county to the cotton lords of the town.

Another parallel between the two districts was the fountain a gentleman in Walton-le-Dale built in his back garden that was the same size as the one in Miller Park. The gentleman was cotton lord William Calvert, probably the wealthiest resident in the village. Possibly he took his inspiration from the Miller Park fountain.

Full story: A tale of two belvederes.

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