Premiers and Statesmen
Undoubtedly one of the most brilliant of British statesmen was William Pitt, who entered Parliament at the age of 21. In 1782, when only 23, he became Chancellor of Exchequer and one year later became Prime Minister, an office which he held for seventeen years. He inherited his parliamentary eloquence from his father, William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham, who also had a long and distinguished career as a statesman. Two of Preston’s 18th century streets, Chatham Street and Pitt Street, are named in their honour.
Fox Street was named after Pitt’s most formidable opponent, Charles James Fox. Although not popular in Parliament, he did sterling work in getting the Anti-Slavery Bill passed and in Parliamentary reform. One of his adversaries was Lord Frederick North who became Prime Minister in 1770 but, in spite of their opposite views, Fox and North formed a Coalition Government in 1783. Although it might be thought that North Street off Walker Street gets its name because it heads north, it actually refers to Lord North.
The Corn Laws and Free Trade were vital issues during the premiership of Sir Robert Peel, in which Cobden, Bright and Villiers forced Peel to lower the Corn Duty to one shilling per quarter. On the opposition side was Lord George Bentinck who, with Peel and Cobden, give the names to the streets off Maudland Bank. Bright Villas on Victoria Parade (Ashton), and Bright Terrace on New Hall Lane are named after John Bright.
In 1846, Lord John Russell succeeded Peel as Prime Minister, a position that he held until 1852. He was again Premier from 1855 to 1866. He is named in Russell Street off Avenham Lane. A close associate of Russell was Sir William George Venables Vernon who, after his father (Edward, Archbishop of York) took over the Harcourt Estates, adopted the name Harcourt. He was educated privately in Preston before he went to Trinity College, Cambridge. It was in Preston that he witnessed the poverty and distress during the Bread Riots of 1842. Harcourt Street off Plungington Road takes his name. Another associate was George William Frederick Villiers, Earl of Clarendon, who, as previously mentioned, was opposed to Peel’s policies. He held office as Lord Privy Seal and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. When Russell came to power he entered the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Clarendon Street and Clarendon Place in the Avenham district bear his name.
Thomas Townshend, Viscount Sydney, Secretary of State under Pitt, was involved in the decision to establish a convict settlement in New South Wales, Australia. His name was given to Sydney, Australia’s biggest city. Sidney Street, Sidney Street West, and Sidney Place were situated together at the junction of Moor Lane with North Road, now overbuilt with council flats. There was also a Sidney Street which was the continuation of the southern end of Emmanuel Street, according to an 1880 map.
On the south side of New Hall Lane, a number of streets were named after 18th and 19th century parliamentarians. Walpole Street is named after Sir Robert Walpole Orford, generally known as Robert Walpole, Prime Minister from 1721 to 1742. Pakington Street was named after John Somerset Pakington, whose name was originally Russell. He was the maternal nephew of Sir John Pakington, whose Baronetcy of Hampton became extinct on his death in 1830. Pakington had it revived and became Baron Hampton. Hampton Street off Tulketh Brow refers to the same family. Pakington was Chief Civil Service Commissioner from 1875 until his death in 1880.
Churchill Street refers to Randolph Churchill, father of the late Sir Winston Churchill. He was very vociferous in Parliament and, with Sir John Gorst, Arthur Balfour, and one or two others, vehemently opposed Ewart Gladstone’s Liberal Government. Balfour Road was being built at the Fulwood end of town when Balfour was Prime Minister in the years 1902-1905. Benjamin Disraeli, or ‘Dizzy’ as he was affectionately known, became Prime Minister in 1874, a position that he held for six years. His policies were much favoured by Queen Victoria and, like Randolph Churchill, he was politically biased against Gladstone. He held the title of Earl of Beaconsfield and, apart from his political career, was a very successful novelist. Disraeli Street, Beaconsfield Road and Beaconsfield Terrace are all in the New Hall Lane district.
Several 19th century statesmen are named in the group of streets off Peel Hall Street, Deepdale. Favoured here is Aberdeen Street after George Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen, who was Foreign Secretary in Peel’s Government and was previously Secretary for Foreign Affairs under Wellington. The next parallel street is Golbourne Street, named after Henry Goulbourn, Chancellor of the Exchequer under Wellington and later under Peel. Neighbouring Herbert Street refers to Sidney Herbert, Baron Herbert of Lea. He was Secretary of War during the Crimean War, and it was through his office that Florence Nightingale was sent out to the war zone. Gladstone Street is also among this group of streets, as is Graham Street. Sir James Robert George Graham was Home Secretary in Peel’s Government and, later, in Aberdeen’s Coalition Government, he was given a post in the Admiralty. A short street that ran off Peel Hall Street had the name Baring Street, relating to Sir Francis Thomhill Baring who was Chancellor of the Exchequer 1839-41, and First Lord of the Admiralty 1849-52. His brother, Thomas, was Member of Parliament for Huntington in 1844. They were members of a family who came to this country in the early 18th century and set up in business as cloth manufacturers in Exeter, later becoming bankers.
Northcote Road off Hartington Road, Northcote Terrace, and Iddesleigh Road off New Hall Lane, refer to Stafford Henry Northcote who, as a Conservative, held several important offices in Parliament. After the elevation of Disraeli to the Lords, he became the leader of the Conservatives in the Commons. When Salisbury became Prime Minister, he took the titles of Earl of Iddesleigh and Viscount St. Cyres.
Lord Salisbury is well-favoured with street names. There is a Salisbury Road off Euston Street and another in Ribbleton, also a Salisbury Street and a Salisbury Terrace on New Hall Lane. He was leader of the Conservative Governments in the periods 1885-86, 1886-92, and 1895-1902. He was considered to be one of the best Foreign Secretaries that Britain has ever had, a position he held from 1880 and throughout his premiership.
Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert, as Lord Carnarvon, was Viceroy of Ireland from 1885 until his death 1n 1890. Prevlous to this, in successive governments under the Premrership of Lord Salisbury, he held the office of Under Secretary for the Colonies and Secretary of State. Other stalwarts of Salisbury were Lord Hartington and Sir Stafford Henry Northcote. Hartington Road and Carnarvon Road, with the previously mentioned Salisbury Road and Northcote Road, are all in the Lower Fishergate Hill area.
Lord Melbourne was Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister, Melbourne Street off Walker Street and Melbourne Road off Woodplumpton Road are the only two to bear his name.
Selbourne Street and Selbourne Place, Frenchwood, take their name from Roundell Palmer, later to become Lord Selborne. As a lawyer and Member of Parliament, he was an adherent of Robert Peel. In 1849, he became a Queen’s Counsel and in 1861 he accepted the office of Solicitor General and a knighthood from Lord Palmerston. Under Gladstone he was offered the Great Seal which he accepted with the title of Lord Selborne. Also in the Frenchwood area are James Street, Herschell Street, and Halsbury Street. Henry James, Lord James of Hereford, was a compatriot of Herschell in Ewart Gladstone’s Government. He was offered the office of Lord Chancellor but declined it in favour of Herschell. From 1895-1902, James was Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster. Farrer Herschell, created Baron Herschell, was appointed Solicitor General in 1880 by Gladstone. At the age of 49 he was Lord Chancellor, a position that he held until Gladstone’s administration fell, but was again Lord Chancellor from 1892 to 1895. Hardinge Stanley Gifford, Earl of Halsbury, held the office of Lord Chancellor longer than anyone else, with the exception of Eldon. In 1899, he was created Earl of Halsbury and Viscount Tiverton. Eldon Street and Eldon Terrace, at the opposite end of town, refer to the above-mentioned John Scott Eldon, who entered Parliament in 1782. He held office as Attorney General, later as Lord Chancellor under Pitt, and then again under Lord Liverpool. Liverpool Street, which formerly flanked the Covered Market, was named after Robert Banks Jenkinson, Earl of Liverpool, who became Prime Minister after the assassination of Spencer Perceval in 1812. He was in office until 1827 when he was compelled to resign because of a paralysis from which he died on 4th December 1828. Earl Street on the opposite side of the market also refers to him.
Lauderdale Street off Fishergate Hill, Lauderdale Road, Ribbleton, and Maitland Street in the New Hall Lane area refer to James Maitland, Member of Parliament from 1780-1789. In 1806 he was made a Peer of the United Kingdom as Baron Lauderdale and was Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland.
Augustus Henry Fitzroy, 3rd Duke of Grafton, was descended from Henry Fitzroy, created Earl of Euston in 1672, and Duke of Grafton in 1675. He was the First Lord of the Treasury under Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham. Grafton became Prime Minister, but only nominally during Chatham’s illness towards the end of 1767. In North’s Ministry he held the post of Privy Seal. He is named in Grafton Street, Grafton Terrace, Fitzroy Street, and Euston Street, all in the Fishergate Hill district.
Camden Place, Avenham, is named after Charles Pratt, 1st Earl of Camden, who was Lord Chancellor in 1766. He was created Baron Camden of Camden Place, Kent, in the previous year, 1765, and eleven years later was raised to the dignity of an Earl, taking the titles of Earl Camden and Viscount Bayham.