Writers, Artists and Adventurers
Poets, playwrights, authors, and artists figure greatly in local street names, especially in Ribbleton. Here, the older streets are Shakespeare Road and Tennyson Road, both running off Acregate Lane. These are followed by Bard Street and Thompson Street, the last named after Francis Thompson, Preston’s own poet. Newer streets built by the Council, and private builders on both sides of Ribbleton Avenue have kept up the trend with Chaucer Street, Burns Street, Wordsworth Road, Emerson Road, Browning Road, and Browning Crescent. Rydal Road and Grasmere Road are names from places associated with Lakeland’s best known poet. Grasmere Road formerly ran off Ribbleton Road and Wordsworth Road was the road between Ribbleton Methodist Church and the school.
Off Ribbleton Lane are Poynter Street, Landseer Street, and Ansdell Street – all famous artists. Liverpool-born Richard Ansdell, who painted ‘The Stag at Bay’ needs no introduction, nor does Sir Edward Landseer, R.A., the celebrated animal painter and designer of the lions that grace the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. Sir Edward John Poynter, R.A. was famed as an artist in water colours and as a designer in fresco, mosaic, stained glass, and pottery. In 1896, he was elected President of the Royal Academy. Also off Ribbleton Lane is Fitzgerald Street, Edward Fitzgerald is best known for his translation of the works of Omar Khayyam.
Moving over to New Hall Lane are Waverley Road and Waverley Park, which together with Ivanhoe Terrace, refer to the works of Sir Walter Scott. Scott’s Court which connected Mill Bank, Church Street, with Edmund Street also referred to Sir Walter. It is in the Edmund Street district that the person who was responsible for naming the streets showed that he knew his poets and writers but slipped up on the spelling. Edmund Street and Spencer Street were named after Edmund Spenser, while Carlisle Street and Carlisle Terrace have nothing to do with the Border city but are intended to refer to Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish writer. In this same group of streets was a Homer Street and a Dryden Street, but together with Spencer Street, they have been swept away to make room for high rise flats and maisonettes.
Other early streets that favour poets and writers are Milton Street and Byron Street, both off Moor Lane. A loner is Ruskin Street at the southern end of Manchester Road, as is Grasmere Terrace on St. Thomas’s Road. High up on the frontage of the terraces, the stone faces of the Lakeland poets stare out across Moor Park. Elliott Street off Aqueduct Street takes its name from Ebeneezer Elliott, a Yorkshire-born poet and social reformer. He was greatly concerned about the exploitation of children, especially orphans, in the cotton mills.
An early 19th century street is Newton Street, originally running from Park Road to Deepdale Road, but since realigned to fit in with the new Council estate. Sir Isaac Newton is well-known for his scientific work and observations, although most people associate him only with a falling apple. There is also a Newton Road in Ashton, but this possibly refers to the nearby hamlet of Newton rather than to Sir Isaac.
Slightly beyond the end of Newton Street on Deepdale Road is Stephenson’s Terrace, an impressive row of Regency-style residences. They honour George Stephenson, the pioneer of steam locomotion. Behind the Terrace is the original terminal station of the Preston to Longridge Railway, one of Preston’s earliest railway ventures, on which work started in 1838 and the line officially opened on the 1st of May 1840. The station was later sited further along Deepdale Road after the line was connected to the main Preston Station by a tunnel from Maudland to St Paul’s Road. The original terminus became the Deepdale Coal Sidings.
In the mid-19th century there were several expeditions to the Arctic Regions, principally to pioneer a North West Passage to the Bering Straits and the Pacific. Many lives were lost in these attempts, among them Sir John Franklin with nine of his officers and fifteen men. Captain R. Collinson was sent by the Government to search for Franklin but, apart from finding his winter quarters on Beechy Island, no trace of this ill-fated expedition was found. In a further search that left England in 1850, Collinson reached Victoria Land within a few miles of Point Victory where the fate of Franklin would have been ascertained. In this last voyage, Collinson navigated the second North West Passage, a similar passage having been made some months earlier by Captain R. McLure. Collinson Street off Ribbleton Lane honours Captain Collinson’s achievements.
An American expedition, under the leadership of Dr. E. K. Kane discovered, among other things, the Humboldt Glacier, the world’s greatest, which is 45 miles wide at its seaward end. In 1875, following Kane’s discoveries, the British despatched the ‘Alert’ under Commander A. H. Markham and Captains G. S. Nares and H. W. Fielden, and the ‘Discovery’ commanded by Captain H. F. Stephenson and Lt. L. A. Beaumont. Beaumont made discoveries along the north coast of Greenland, while Markham and the ‘Alert’ reached a higher latitude and wintered further north than any ship had done before. Off Tulketh Brow can be found Kane Street, Nares Street, Markham Street, Alert Street and a row of houses called Alert Terrace.
Moving to warmer climes and to what was then known as Darkest Africa, brings to mind the Prestonian, Aloysius Smith, who penetrated the remoter parts of that continent as a trader and mercenary soldier. His exploits .were immortalised in a book by an American authoress entitled ‘Trader Horn’. Horn Street was a cul-de-sac that, until recently, ran alongside the former Park Lane Cotton Mill, now Askew’s Book Supply Company. It was originally called John Street North, the change was necessary to avoid confusion with similarly named streets in the town. Trader Horn Smith was born in nearby St Ignatius Square.