Back in 1992 in faraway New Zealand a professor of botany published a guide to Preston entitled The Street Names of Preston. Prof Peter Bannister published the book to mark the 80th birthday of the author of the book, his father, John Bannister, on the 28th of November of that year. Little is known about Mr Bannister (any information gratefully received). He was clearly a native of the town, describing playing as a child in the vast Corporation depot between St Paul’s Road and Deepdale Road (Deepdale youngsters were still playing there forty years later).
Mr Bannister adopted a themed approach to his tour of Preston, adding considerable more information than a mere listing of streets. Unfortunately, while he adds a bibliography he does not supply references to support his assertions and much of the evidence is not to be found in the sources cited in the bibliography. Some of his assertions are plausible, others less so. Thus his treatment of the origin of the street name Main Sprit Weind is plausible: he argues that it is a corruption of Mains Pit Weind, mains being another word for a cockfight bout, pit the cockpit and weind another word for lane, giving Cock Pit Lane (see also). Less plausibly, he argues that the various streets near the Moor Brook named Bloomfield took their name from the field ‘where iron ore was smelted in charcoal-fired bloomeries’. Where was the iron ore? Where was the charcoal?
Chapter 1 provides a potted guide to the origin of street names. Mr Bannister takes a nice sideswipe at the Central Lancashire Development Corporation which he felt showed little sense of place when planning the New Town, ‘…it is hard to believe that anyone with an interest in the district could saddle a place with a name like Golf Village’. In Chapter 11 there is a very good treatment of the many streams that once cut through the town from east to west: all now culverted but still flowing underground.
The Street Names of Preston is republished here to make a scarce resource by a writer with a lively style available to a wider audience. There is one copy held at Lancashire Archives, three at Preston’s Harris Reference Library and some in New Zealand libraries; no other copies can be located. Mr Bannister must be long dead, his son died in 2008. Republication seems to meet the wish of Prof Bannister in publishing the book as a tribute to his father, but if the copyright holder objects this online version will be taken down.
The original bibliographic information:
The Street Names of Preston
Privately published in Dunedin, New Zealand by Peter Bannister for his father’s 80th Birthday, 28th November 1992
Published by: Peter Bannister, 106 D London Street, Dunedin, New Zealand
Printed by: Printing Department, University of Otago
Mr Bannister did not include a list of contents which has now been added or list the streets he included. Anybody seeking information on particular streets can find it by using the search box on this page
All illustrations are by Mr Bannister
Preston in the 17th-Century: from a manuscript compiled by Dr Kuerden 1684
This is the topographical section of Richard Kuerden’s guide to the town  together with additions from College of Heralds manuscript and annotations by Charles Hardwick.  Another treatment with a plan of the town in the late 17th century can be found here.
Fields, Woods and Open Spaces
Writers, Artists and Adventurers
The Royal Line
Houses, Farms, Buildings, Landlords and Tenants
Premiers and Statesmen
Local Members of Parliament, Mayors and Dignitaries
Trades and Professions
Battles and Intrigues
People, Places and Directions
History of the Borough of Preston Peter Whittle
History of Preston Anthony Hewitson
History of the Parish of Preston H. Fishwick (1900)
Preston and its Environs Charles Hardwick (1857)
History of Preston in Amounderness H. W. Clemesha (1912)
Ancient Houses of Preston W. Dobson
Preston Court Leet Records Anthony Hewitson
St. John’s, St. George’s, St. Paul’s, Holy Trinity (Bishop’s Transcripts Lancashire Record Office)
Plan and Survey of Preston 1684 unknown
Map of Preston 1774 George Lang
Map of Preston, circa 1807 Wm. Shakeshaft
Map of Preston 1838 J. J. Myers
Map of Preston 1889 W. Brown
Map of Preston 1926 Ordnance Survey
Street and Trade Directories 1845-1938
Preston Pilot Newspapers 1858-1860
Preston Guardian Newspapers 1900 onwards