Preston History Library

The best and latest history of the town is the second edition of David Hunt’s A History of Preston, which came a century after the previous history, Henry Clemesha’s A History of Preston in Amounderness. Clemesha produced the first ‘proper’ history of the town, his predecessors tending to be antiquarians first, historians second. Their antiquarianism has, in fact, proved to be of immense value to later historians: Anthony Hewitson provides nearly 600 pages of detailed information in his history of the town; Henry Fishwick provides meticulously researched accounts of the town’s most prominent families; Charles Hardwick’s history contains a wonderful topographical tour of the town at the middle of the 19th century; Peter Whittle’s history from the early decades of the 19th century captures the excitement that accompanied the introduction of steam-powered industry; and then there is the ‘first’ historian of the town, Richard Kuerden, whose topographical guide to the town opens a window on life at the end of the 17th century.

Two county histories of Lancashire, Baines’s of 1836 and the Victoria County History of 1912, contain lengthy sections on Preston.

The offerings from these earlier historians of the town have been digitised and put on line at the Internet Archive and/or at Google Books, and can be accessed by clicking on the links below. Other useful sites for on-line books and articles: Hathi Trust, Project Gutenberg and the British Library.


General Histories of Preston

Henry Clemesha: A History of Preston in Amounderness

VCH Lancashire History: Preston Parish
Includes, in addition to the town itself, the histories of Ashton, Barton, Brockholes, Broughton, Cottam, Elston, Fishwick, Grimsargh, Haighton, Ingol, Lea and Ribbleton.

Henry Fishwick: The History of the Parish of Preston

Anthony Hewitson: History of Preston

Charles Hardwick: History of the Borough of Preston and its Environs, in the County of Lancashire

Peter Whittle: The history of the Borough of Preston

Edward Baines: History of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster, Volume 4
These are the ‘Preston pages’ from that volume.

Richard Kuerden: A Brief Description of the Burrough and Town of Preston, and Its Government: Originally Composed Between the Years 1682 and 1686 …


Other titles

W. A. Abram: The rolls of Burgesses at the Guilds Merchant of the borough of Preston, Co. of Lancaster, 1397-1682

W. A. Abram: Memorials of the Preston Guilds

John Bannister: The Street Names of Preston

Barrett: Directory of Preston and District 1907

Barrett: Directory of Preston and District 1917

Barney Smith, curator of the Preston Digital Archive, has added several Preston directories to the Preston Past and Present Facebook group

James Barron: A History of the Ribble Navigation

Henry Clemesha: The Borough of Preston and its Gild Merchant

Richard Cookson: History of Goosnargh

Alan Crosby: Migration to Preston in the fourteenth century: the evidence of surnames

William Dobson: History of Preston Guild

William Dobson: History of the parliamentary representation of Preston during the last hundred years

Henry Fishwick: History of Goosnargh

Anthony Hewitson: Preston Court Leet Records: extracts and notes
See also David Berry’s full transcript of the court leet records.

Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire
Five articles on Preston history from the society’s journal

David Hindle: From a Gin Palace to a King’s Palace? The evolution of the music hall in Preston c1840-1914

Andrew Hobbs: Reading the local paper: Preston newspaper history 1855-1900

Henry Kirby: Preston Guardian Digest

Zoe Lawson: Shops, shopkeepers, and the working-class community: Preston, 1860-1890

Nigel Morgan: Desirable Dwellings: Middle Class Housing in Preston in the First Half of the 19th Century

Tom Smith: History of Preston Parish Church

VCH Lancashire: Penwortham
Includes histories for Farington, Howick, Hutton, Longton and Penwortham.

VCH Lancashire: Walton-le-Dale


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s