Preston Street Names – Chapter 12

People, Places and Directions

There are many streets in Preston derived from personal names, some of which have been explained in the foregoing chapters. There are, however, others which are named after people or families whose connection with the town is not immediately obvious. For instance, Bootle Street and Wilbraham Street off Ribbleton Lane refer to the Bootle Wilbrahams who held the Viscountcy of Skelmersdale and were Earls of Latham.

Cadogan Place off Frenchwood Street is named after the 5th Earl of Cadogan who was Lord Privy Seal and later Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The first Earl was William Cadogan who won military honours at the Battle of the Boyne and was raised to the Peerage by William III.

Cavendish Place in Ashton, Cavendish Road off New Hall Lane, and the newer streets of Cavendish Drive and Cavendish Crescent on the Ribbleton Hall Estate, refer to the Cavendish family whose head is the Duke of Devonshire of Holker Hall. Devonshire Place is on New Hall Lane and Devonshire Terrace on Addison Road (now Blackpool Road). The Cavendishes were Lords of the Manor of Inskip until 1819 when it was given to a younger branch of the family. In 1843 Charles Compton Cavendish sold out to the 13th Earl of Derby, whose successors became Lords of the Manors of Inskip and Great Eccleston. The Derby Arms at Inskip was formerly known as the Cavendish Arms.

The Gerards, who gave their name to Gerrard Street and whose town house named Woodhouse Grove, were related to the Dukes of Hamilton. The 4th Duke married Elizabeth Gerard, the only daughter and heiress of Digby, Lord Gerard. Consequently, the Dukes of Hamilton inherited all of the Gerard’s Lancashire property. The Duke and his Duchess were among the most distinguished occasional residents of the town. They commemorated the birth of their son, James, Marquis of Clydesdale, by presenting a gold mace to the Corporation of Preston. Hamilton Road was the continuation of Gerrard Street to Strand Road, and is now known as Talbot Road.

An early Member of Parliament for Preston was John Otway, who was also Vice-Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster. There is an Otway Street off Ripon Street which could possibly be named after him.

A branch of the Blundell family of South West Lancashire held land and property in Broughton, namely at Durton, Sharoe Green, and Inglehead. They endowed a school in Black Bull Lane, which has long since been disbanded, but their name is retained in nearby Blundell Road, off the Fulwood end of Plungington Road. Eleven of the early mayors of Preston bore the name Blundell; the first being Richard, .who occupied the position in 1385, and the eleventh, Henry, who held it in 1647.

Mill Street off North Road had its name changed to Acton Street about the same time that the Roman Catholic Church of the English Martyrs was being built. Whether the change of name was due to this is open to conjecture, but John Emerich Dalberg Acton, Baron Acton, Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, was a prominent, ardent and outspoken Roman Catholic at this time.

The Butlers of Kirkand Hall, Churchtown, are an old family whose connections with Lancashire go back to the reign of Henry I, at which time they held Weeton, then described as a small fee of the Honour of Lancaster. Their connection with Preston is obscure, but it is possible that Butler Street is named from a member of this family. Lancellot Butler is mentioned in 1741 and 1748 as the owner or occupier of land in Preston, namely a garden and large field known as Corner Gap. This later became the terminal station and goods sidings of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, for which Butler Street is the approach road. There is also a Butler’s Court off Fishergate.

Falkland Street, formerly known as Water Street West, was so named at the close of last century. At this time the Royal Burgh of Falkland was in the news, having just been taken over by the Marquis of Bute who undertook the restoration of the Palace there. Whether he had any commitments in Preston is doubtful, but it may be just coincidence that the Bute Mill in Essex Street and Bute Terrace, not far away on St. Thomas’s Road, were being built at this time.

Drawing of handloom weavers' cottages in Mount Pleasant Preston
Hand-loom weavers’ houses in Mount Pleasant, demolished in 1950. The cobbled streets, once a feature of the town, give a bumpy ride to cyclists and modern traffic, but were ideal-for horses and Iron- shod cart wheels. The cobbles were freely obtainable from the River Ribble, the larger ones were used for the roadway and the smaller ones, known as kidney stones, for the pavements.

Streets that have been named from the builder and his family must be numerous, but it is difficult to trace them all. Mason Street, Agnes Street and the Mason’s Arms refer to the builder and his wife; Barlow Street and Ellen Street have a similar relationship. Swarbrick-Street, off St. Paul’s Road, was one of the streets that enclosed Swarbrick’s Builders Yard. Armstrong Street, off Blackpool Road, Ashton, was one of several streets built in the 1880’s by the Armstrongs who had their own brick and tile kilns at Higher Bartle. Leeming, a builder of some reputation, was responsible for the building of numerous small back-to-back terraced houses for mill workers in the Dale Street and Manchester Road districts. The middle section of what is now Manchester Road was named Leeming Street. The adjoining streets had names that belied their sombre uniformity, namely Paradise Street and Silver Street, while Dale Street could be approached from Golden Square. Among other idyllic-sounding names were the previously mentioned Pleasant Street and Pleasant Bank, and a Mount Pleasant off Corporation Street.

A religious trend predominates in the names of some streets in the upper New Hall Lane area, with Elijah Street, Samuel Street and Francis Street. The last-named is now Dundonald Street, the name change being necessary to avoid confusion with Francis Street in Ashton. Also off New Hall Lane is Calverley Street, which may be a mistaken spelling of Calvary. Nearer to the town centre is Saul Street, while off London Road there is a Sion Hill and a Sion Close, and off Poulton Street in Ashton there was an Angelus Street.

Streets and squares with the names of saints are usually found around the church that bears that particular name, but in the district bounded by Deepdale Road, St. George’s Road, St. Paul’s Road, and St. Thomas’s Road, are other saints that are unconnected with any religious house. St. Stephen’s Road runs parallel with St. Georges Road and is crossed, in turn, from west to east by St. Philip’s, St. Christopher’s, St. Michael’s, St. Cuthbert’s and St. Anthony’s Roads. An older street off St. George’s Road is St. Anne’s Street; this was formerly known as Glover Street, but had a change of name which put it in line with the other saints. Off Skeffington Road is St. Chad’s Road and, through an archway off Alfred Street, was a secluded row of houses known as St. Mary’s Gate but together with Alfred Street, this area has been demolished. The site is now occupied by part of Visionhire’s car park and the northern end of the bus station. Abbey Street and Priory Street, both situated in the Maudland district, have names that can be related to the nearby site of the St. Mary Magdelen Spittal. Bishopgate, a narrow street that runs off Ormskirk Road, was formerly known as Bishop Street. This could be from a personal name, as could Vicar Street (sometimes spelt Vlcker Street), although the last-named might refer to a cleric as the street runs behind the site of the recently demolished Trinity Church.

The streets between Burrow Road and Argyle Road were being built in the years 1887-90 when James Burrow was Mayor. The streets are bounded on the west by St. Paul’s Road and on the east by Deepdale Road. The names adopted appertain to English counties, namely Norfolk, Suffolk Stafford, Dorset, Nottingham, and Somerset. This was, presumably, to link up with the names of the earlier Sussex and Essex Streets on the west side of St. Paul’s Road, those who named them apparently being unaware that these referred to dukes rather than counties. Leicester Road, also built in the last decade of the 19th century, followed the same mistaken idea. It adjoined Kent Street which, as mentioned earlier, was named from the Hanoverian Duke of Kent. Other ‘county’ streets, unconnected with any of the above, are Surrey and Rutland, both off New Hall Lane, and the older Cumberland and Westmorland Streets, both off Lancaster Road. There is also a Westmorland Terrace off Addison Road.

The main roads out of most towns take the name of the town or district where they are heading, and virtually all towns have a London Road. Preston is no exception; an extract from ‘Preston and its Environs’ in 1857 says of London Road:

The present excellent road from Stanley Street to Walton Bridge was cut about 1812. The old way passed over the Swillbrook a little to the right of the new road and descended towards the bridge by the valley in Mrs. Walmesley’s Strawberry Garden.

Likewise, the road to the north took the name of the county town, Lancaster, although the continuation of the road from Moor Lane junction is now Garstang Road. This section of the road north was built in 1817, it cut through Gallows Hill and Withy Trees Farm to join up with the old road at the Black Bull. A by-pass road, built in the 1920’s, skirts the north of the town from east to west. It starts from New Hall Lane by the Cemetery as a completely new road which joins up with the Serpentine Road bordering Moor Park, then on to Addison Road with a new bridge to cross the railway at Oxheys, then another new section to cross the canal and join up with Long Lane, Ashton. The chief aim of this road was to take the East Lancashire and West Yorkshire traffic, enroute for Blackpool, away from the town. It was known for some time as the Arterial Road, later to officially become Blackpool Road along its entire length, from the Cemetry to Ashton and beyond. Other names pertaining to direction are Ribbleton Lane, Longridge Road, Fylde Road, Ashton Street, Woodplumpton Road, Marsh Lane, and Cottam Lane. Streets with names denoting their position rather than direction are North Road, South Gate, East Street, East View, East Cliff, West Cliff, West View, etc.

The rapid growth of the town during the latter half of the 19th century, when new streets and row after row of terrace houses were being hastily built, led to a duplication of street names. From time to time it became necessary to have a revision of names and make appropriate changes. Manchester Road, for instance, has been called King Street, Leeming Street, Water Street, and the upper section Factory Brow and Frenchwood Square. Park Road has recently become Ringway, and Park Street, which branched off Park Road, is now Guy’s Row to distinguish it from Park Street off Manchester Road.

Fenkell Street, so named in the 17th century, was the eastward continuation of Churchgate. Churchgate itself stretched from the junction of Fishergate and Cheapside, past the Parish Church, to the Bar at Cocker Hole. Eventually the whole length, from Birley Street to Mill Bank became Church Street. The name Fenkel, sometimes spelt Finkel or Finkle, is a street name found in many northern towns, and denotes a street or lane with a bend. The Old Shambles, originally the Narrow Shambles, is now Birley Street. The Broad or Straight Shambles became Lancaster Road. Vicarage Alley is now the Old Vicarage, a short street that connects Tithebarn Street with Lancaster Road and, as the name implies, was the site of the original St. John’s Vicarage. Market Street was known as Back Lane in the 17th century and took the name Market Street after the Covered Market was erected. Fryars Wynd, which ran across the south end of Friargate, had a name change to Anchor’s Weind after an inn of that name. A section of it still exists and is used as the goods entrance to the town centre shops and warehouses, but is now called Anchor Court. In the 1830’s, two new streets were created in order to facilitate the movement of traffic between Friargate and Back Lane. The first to make the union was appropriately called Union Street, the other, which joined Back Lane alongside Chadwick’s Orchard, became Orchard Street. A narrow passage making the same connection was Lill’s Court, which also served as the back entrance to the Old Britannia Inn, whose landlord in 1818 was John Lill. Marsh Lane was originally Fryar Lane; later, when the canal bisected the lane and had to be bridged, the upper length became Bridge Lane and then Bridge Street. Canal Street was the name of the street which led down to the canal from the lower end of Friargate, it is now known as Kendal Street, and the section beyond Corporation Street is now incorporated into the Polytechnic College Complex. Running parallel with and on the west side of Orchard Street was Dirty Alley, so named in 1739 when John Colley was summoned before the Court Leet for not keeping it in good repair. This thoroughfare was later called Black Horse Lane and is now Lowthian Street.

At the time of writing, new changes are still being made within the original town boundary, while beyond, the former Preston Rural District is now becoming enveloped in an ever-increasing urban sprawl – new roads, avenues, drives, closes and crescents, rather than ‘common streets’ are being created almost daily. These can be the subject for someone in about 50 years’ time, but I have confined my research to the area within the older town boundary, where all the streets and places mentioned can be found in pre-1950 maps and street directories.

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