Preston Guardian digest – introduction

Preston historian Henry L. Kirby compiled a four-volume digest of articles in the Preston Guardian covering the period from 1844 to 1905 and deposited photocopies at the Harris Reference Library Preston:

A chronological list of some articles and news items about Preston and district in the “Preston Guardian”. Vol. 1, 1844-1860
Kirby, Henry L
Published: Author, 1980

A chronological list of some articles and news items about Preston and district in the “Preston Guardian”. Vol. 2, 1861-1875
Kirby, Henry L
Published: Author, 1980

A chronological list of some articles and news items about Preston and district in the “Preston Guardian”. Vol. 3, 1876-1890
Kirby, Henry L
Published: Author, 1981

A chronological list of some articles and news items about Preston and district in the “Preston Guardian”. Vol. 4, 1891-1905
Kirby, Henry L
Published: Author, 1982

There are three copies of the first volume listed in the Lancashire Library catalogue as held at the Harris Reference Library, two in reference and one on the open shelves; one copy each of volume 2 and volume 3 on the open shelves; and two copies of volume 4 on the open shelves.

Digitised copies of the four volumes are being posted on this site to preserve valuable documents for researching Preston history (the first is already on line, the others will follow shortly): two of the volumes have only a single copy and placing them on the open shelves can result in them being misplaced, as were two of the volumes on a recent visit to the library. A second reason for placing them here is that, unlike with the original typescript, the digitised copy can be searched.

Henry Kirby prefaced each volume with a few words of introduction setting out the parameters of his selection process, signposting further articles of interest and warning that some of the articles could contain information that was ‘inaccurate, or, at least, questionable’.

Henry Kirby’s introduction:

This list of articles and news items lays no claim to completeness. It simply records a collection of readings that have been of interest to the compiler. In the main, the readings concern the changing topographical scene in Preston, references to the town’s strong Free Church tradition, and its historic links with the Temperance and Teetotal Movement. It also includes items of interest that may not be conveniently found elsewhere.

The words “(and subsequent)” following an item indicate that in the week, or weeks, following a certain date, other articles sometimes at length, on the same subject may be found. Occasionally, more than one reference may be found to a subject listed in any one week’s newspaper.

It must not be assumed that in every case proposed ventures (such as the Public Hall in 1844) necessarily came to fruition. It must also be noted that in a few cases (such as John Wesley’s connections with Bilsborrow, recorded in 1898) the information given may be inaccurate, or, at least, questionable. The reference given is that quoted in the newspaper and it may not always be correct.

A brief obituary in the Lancashire Evening Post recorded that Henry Kirby, who died in 2012 at the age of 75, was the author of a number of books and articles on Preston history, and also on Lancashire military history. He served in the Coldstream Guards, being promoted sergeant by the age of 20, and on leaving the army opened a coin and medal dealing business at the Adelphi pub in Preston, operating from there for more than 15 years. Later in life he worked as a council street cleansing worker. [1]

To judge by his Preston Guardian digest Henry Kirby had a very good eye for the salient details in the hundreds of newspapers he examined. He was also the author of several works of local history, some of which are held by the Lancashire Library:

The Preston bank fraud: a transatlantic tale retold

Did you know: a series of interesting and useful facts concerning the history of the town of Preston with some sidelights upon life in the bygone days

Private William Young, V.C.: one of Preston’s heroes of the Great War: East Lancashire Regiment, 1914-1918

A visit to Foncquevillers – supplement to ‘Private William Young V.C., one of Preston’s heroes’

The seven V.C.s of Stonyhurst College – written with Raymond R. Walsh

The Russian guns: the story of Preston’s Crimean War Memorial

Other publications, written with Raymond R. Walsh, which the Lancashire Library does not hold but which are available on Amazon:

Andrew Moynihan, V.C.

Drummer Spencer John Bent, V.C.

Four Blackburn V.C.’s

Private William Young, V.C.

Several photographs and postcards from his collection have been posted on Flickr, simply search for: Henry L. Kirby Flickr Preston

[1] ‘Henry Kirby Obituary’, Lancashire Evening Post, 9 June 2012, https://www.lep.co.uk/news/grandad-had-passion-for-preston-1-4629219.