Throughout the ages, Preston has been a Royalist stronghold: so it seems only natural that many streets bear reference to this fact. Very early English kings are featured in the names of streets built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Alfred and Edgar named streets that ran off North Road, the last remnant of Edgar Street serves as the eastern exit to the Central Bus Station, while Alfred Street lies somewhere beneath part of Visionhire’s car park and the northern end of the bus station.
Of the Danish line of English kings, Egbert, Harold and Canute were names favoured by mill owners for the streets that they built in the Kent Street/St. Paul’s Road area to provide accommodation for their workers. In the same district, the Royal Dukes of the Hanover period provided the names for Kent Street, Essex Street, Sussex Street and Brunswick Place. Hanoverian Georges are honoured in the name of Great Georges Street, and the House of Hanover in Great Hanover Street and Hanover Street. The last-named being the access road to Hanover Mill. Each of these streets had their own ‘pub’. The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Kent are still in business, but The Duke of Hanover had a change of name to the New Park Inn when anything that had a hint of German origin was not only detested, but was considered bad for trade. The Duke of Brunswick went out of business, but the Brunswick Mill, which has been used for several different trades since it was a cotton mill, still retains its name. Brunswick Place which led to the mill, however, has had a change of name to Rye Street. Whether this was due to the war or because there was a Brunswick Street in Avenham is not certain.
A ‘Royal Flush’ of street names occurs in the London Road/Manchester Road area, with Princess Street, Duke Street, Queen Street, and King Street. King Street was the name given to the upper end of Manchester Road, this section was later called Leeming Street and eventually the whole length of the road, from Church Street to Frenchwood, became Manchester Road. Fulwood has its Kings Drive, but this goes back only to the reign of George V, while still newer thoroughfares in the same district are Queens Drive, Princes Drive, Regent’s Drive, Royal Avenue and Windsor Drive.
King William IV, the last king of the House of Hanover, who came to the throne in 1830, is remembered in the name of William Street and the King William IV Hotel in London Road, opposite Grosvenor Street. Robert Grosvenor, Earl of Westminster, officiated at the coronation of William IV, at which time he was made a marquis. The coronation is also remembered in Ashton, where there was a Coronation Road and a Coronation Avenue, both off Long Lane (now Blackpool Road). These have since had a change of name, but the adjoining Grosvenor Place still exists. There is also a Grosvenor Terrace on Garstang Road, Fulwood. William IV’s previous title, the Duke of Clarence, also occurs in the name of a ‘pub’, in Clarence Street off Marsh Lane, and Clarence Terrace on St. Georges Road. His queen gives her name to Adelaide Street and his mother, the wife of George III, to Charlotte Street off Manchester Road and also to Charlotte Street in Fulwood. Other queens are Elizabeth and Isabella in the Lancaster Road/Walker Street district. Caroline, wife of George II, names a street off New Hall Lane and Charles I’s queen, Henrietta, names a street off St. Mary’s Street.
The accession of Queen Victoria to the throne in 1837 coincided with an upsurge in the population of Preston, mainly due to incomers seeking employment in the new cotton mills. At this time there were already more than forty mills in full-time operation. An ever-expanding number of streets was spreading out from the town centre, many honouring the Queen and her Prince Consort. Victoria Street runs from Fylde Road to Moor Lane, with an adjacent Victoria Place; Victoria Road is the continuation of London Road into Walton-le-Dale. The mill owners, business and professional men had their more palatial residences in Ashton and Fulwood, with Victoria Parade and Diamond Jubilee Terrace in Ashton and Queen’s Road, Victoria Road and Victoria Terrace in Fulwood. There is also a terrace named Victoria Parade on New Hall Lane and several Victoria Terraces throughout the town. Adjoining Victoria Parade on New Hall Lane is Queen’s Terrace, while the Queen’s Buildings are in Fishergate and, as already mentioned, a Queen Street off London Road.
Prince Albert is remembered in the name of Albert Road off St. George’s Road, Albert Road in Fulwood, Albert Street off Syke Hill, and Albert Terraces in Garstang Road, Tulketh Brow, New Hall Lane, and Higher Bank Road in Fulwood. Incidentally, Sumner’s Hotel on Watling Street Road was formerly the Prince Albert Hotel, while there is a Prince Regent and a Prince Consort Hotel in the town. There is a Regent Street in the Avenham Park area, and there are Albert Buildings in Corporation Street.
The opening of the Preston Docks in 1892, by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) had practically no in fluence on Preston’s street names. Apart from naming the dock as Albert Edward Dock, the only other references to his visit that I can find are the Prince of Wales Cottages on Tag Lane, Ingol, and the Prince of Wales Terrace on Waterloo Road. These last-named, however, refer to his first visit to Preston, when he laid the foundation stone to commence the building of the dock in 1885. The Princess of Wales, later Queen Alexandra, was slightly more in favour. Apart from Alexandra Street off London Road and Alexandra Terrace on New Hall Lane, she had the Princess Alexandra Inn named after her, and her name in cast-iron letters above the entrance to Alexandra Mill.
Albany Place in Ashton, Albany Villas on Brackenbury Road, and Albany Terraces in Garstang Road and Brieryfield Road commemorate Prince Leo George Duncan Albert, Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria who died at the early age of 31. Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught, the seventh son of Queen Victoria, is named in Connaught Road off South Meadow Lane.
The Royal House of Hanover has been already mentioned. Other royal families are named in Tudor Avenue, Stuart Road, and Windsor Avenue. The last-named also occurs in Penwortham, and as Windsor Road in Walton and Windsor Drive in Fulwood.
The royal residences do not feature much in Preston’s street names. Buckingham Street off Marsh Lane and Osborne Street off Christ Church Street are the only ones within the old borough. Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and Balmoral Castle in Scotland were two of Victoria’s favourite residences, and these were the proposed names for streets off Woodplumpton Road in Ashton, but for some unknown reason were never used. There is an Osborne Road in Walton-le-Dale.
St. Paul’s Road has its Imperial Terrace, and there was an Imperial Yard which enclosed the Imperial Cinema of Mill Bank, Church Street, both now vanished under Preston’s post-war slum clearance scheme. There is a Coronation Crescent in the Frenchwood district that commemorates the crowning of our present queen, Elizabeth II.