On this day … 22 February 1896

Miller Arcade Preston

The Preston Guardian reported the laying of the first brick of the Miller Arcade, bringing to life the vision of Preston dentist Nathaniel Miller, who owned the site, realising his dream of providing Preston with a Burlington Arcade of the North.

The man charged with transforming Miller’s vision into reality was the Birmingham architect Edwin Bush, who had won the commission with the drawing pictured above, (from the Harris Museum’s photograph collection). He went on to establish himself as an architect in Preston, and his other projects included the Empire Theatre on Church Street.

The Miller Arcade opened in 1899, having replaced a block of buildings, including The Shambles built by the Molyneux family at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The pepper pot turrets on the drawing were included in the finished building, but were replaced in the 1920s for safety reasons.

At that time the building included a hotel, the Geisha Ballroom and a Turkish baths. It is now a Grade II listed building.

Front cover of Meccano Magazine

In June 1947, it featured on a rather odd front cover of the Meccano magazine. The oddity being that the cover also shows the old town hall, which had burned down some three months earlier on 15 March.


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