On this day … 1 January 1870

West Lancashire Railway Station, Fishergate Hill Preston
The Fishergate Hill terminus of the Preston-Southport railway. Source: Barney Smith’s Preston Digital Archive.

The Preston Guardian announced a proposed direct Preston-Southport Railway. Progress was slow: work started in 1873 but the line wasn’t opened until 1882, just in time for the Preston Guild of that year.

In fact, according to the Liverpool Mercury’s report, the line had started operating before the official opening to transport the crowds heading for Preston for the guild celebrations. The paper reported that several people caught the train back in search of accommodation in Southport because none was to be found in Preston.

Shortage of accommodation was a perennial problem at Preston guilds, resulting in ‘scandalous’ charges. The reporter sent by The Times to cover the 1802 guild was aghast:

The scarcity of beds is so great there, that the most exorbitant prices are demanded. A Stationer, near the Market Place, has had the modesty to ask one hundred guineas for three beds and a fitting room. An old woman residing in a cottage asked twenty-one guineas for her wretched beds, filled with chaff; four guineas are paid for the standing of a carriage in an inn yard, and sums in proportion are paid for horses.

A guinea was worth getting on for £50 in 1802.

Returning to the railway, the original terminus for the Preston-Southport line was the old Fishergate Hill station (see picture), but when the line was taken over in 1897 trains were routed to the main Preston railway station, although the Fishergate Hill station, which had continued to operate as a goods station, was brought back into service for special trains during Preston Guild.

The Beeching Axe spelled the end for the line in 1964.

More information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Lancashire_Railway

One thought on “On this day … 1 January 1870

  1. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these daily posts. Not only are they interesting in them selves but the comments that elaborate on the sources are helpful for context and the links to the sources open a treasure trove of possibilities. Great idea and beautifully executed. Many thanks.


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