A Timeline of Preston

By Tim Lambert

1179 Preston is given a charter (a document granting the people certain rights). Preston is a small market town with perhaps 1,500 people.

c. 1260 Franciscan friars (called Grey friars because of the colour of their costume) arrive in Preston

1539 Henry VIII closes Preston friary

February 1643 During the Civil War parliamentary troops capture Preston. The royalists quickly recapture the town in March 1643 but soon withdraw.

1648 A Scottish army invades England but is totally defeated near Preston

1680 Preston has a population of about 3,000 making it a fair-sized market town

1699 Preston is lit by oil lamps

1715 A Scottish Jacobite army enters Preston and many of the people are sympathetic. English troops surround Preston and the Scots surrender. Afterward, 12 people are executed for treason.

1771 The first cotton mill opens in Preston. Stagecoaches begin running from Preston to Wigan and Warrington.

1792 A canal is built from Preston to Lancaster

1800 Nightwatchmen patrol the streets of Preston

1801 Preston has a population of 11,887. By the standards of the time, it is a large town and it is growing rapidly.

1809 A dispensary opens where the poor can obtain free medicines

1816 The streets of Preston are lit by gas

1824 A corn market is built

1832 There is an outbreak of cholera in Preston. The town gains a piped water supply.

1838 The railway reaches Preston

1841 The first museum in Preston opens

1848 There is another epidemic of cholera in Preston

1851 Preston has a population of 69,361

1855 A cemetery opens in Preston

1864 Miller Park is laid out

1867 A new Town Hall opens in Preston. A cattle market is built. Moor Park opens.

1870 Preston Royal Infirmary opens

1879 Horse-drawn trams run in Preston. A free library opens in the town hall.

1881 The first telephone exchange in Preston opens

1892 Albert Edward dock is opened

1893 The Harris Museum and Art Gallery opens

1896 The Leyland Steam Wagon Company is formed

1901 The population of Preston is nearly 120,000

1903 Sessions House is built

1918 Aircraft manufacture begins in Preston

The 1920s The cotton industry in Preston collapses

1926 A cenotaph is built in Preston

1939 A rayon factory opens in Preston

1944 Sixty-one people are killed when a plane crashes in Freckleton

1950s Immigrants from India, Pakistan, and the West Indies came to Preston. The cotton industry continues to decline.

1958 Preston by-pass is built

1964 St Georges Shopping Centre is built

1979 The Courtaulds Factory closes

1999 Preston Town Hall is refurbished

2001 A Football Museum opens in Preston

2002 Preston is made a city