On this day … 17 February 1900

The Preston Guardian carried news of the relief of the siege of Kimberley in South Africa during the Boer War and the mobilisation of Preston reservists to serve in the war. The town of Kimberley had been under siege by the Boers for 124 days before it was relieved by cavalry led by Lieutenant-General John French. The siege is commemorated in Preston in Kimberley Barracks on Deepdale Road.

Many Preston streets have Boer War names, with the biggest concentration on an Ashton housing estate built a few years after the war. It is at the top of Tulketh Brow, alongside the canal, and all its streets take their names from that war: Belmont Road and Colenso Road (battles), Kimberley Road and Mafeking Road (sieges), Ladysmith Road (siege and battle).

According to John Bannister in chapter ten of his The Street Names of Preston, ‘on Tulketh Brow, on the door stoops of a house, are the stone heads of Roberts and Kitchener. Field Marshal Roberts was the Supreme Commander of the South African Campaign, and Lord Kitchener his Chief of Staff. … ‘

Elsewhere in town, according to Bannister, Boer War generals were commemorated: General Sir Redver Buller and Lieutenant-General Lord White, who both headed the British forces in South Africa, were given a Buller Street and a White Street in the Canary Islands district of Deepdale, but those names were lost when they were replaced with birds’ names. There is a Buller Avenue in Penwortham.

According to Bannister, Methuen Avenue off Garstang Road, Fulwood, is named for another Boer War general, Lord Methuen, and Hunter Street off Pitt Street is named for General Hunter (he does not give his source, and the street itself does not appear on maps or in directories). He believed that Milner Street off St George’s Road may refer to Alfred Milner, later Viscount Milner, High Commissioner for South Africa during the war.

The music hall jingoism that accompanied the troops off to fight in South Africa did not survive the carnage of the First World War. Only two street names recollect that war: Haig Avenue off Inkerman Street and Allenby Road off Duchy Avenue are named for two of that war’s generals.

There is a similar dearth of street names marking the Second World War: the Dunkirk evacuation is remembered in Dunkirk Avenue off Cadley Causeway, while Acregate Lane South on the Callon estate was renamed Arnhem Road after the war. Winston is honoured in the name of Churchill Road on the Brookfield Estate.

A South African war memorial erected in the Market Place was moved to its present site in Avenham Park (pictured above) after the First World War to make way for the cenotaph.

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