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Introducing The Lilywhite Suite and the History of Preston’s Nickname

A good number of teams aren’t invincible, but some are. A good number of teams aren’t local institutions – institutions, nonetheless, that can be traced back to 1863 – but the Lilywhites certainly are.

The origins of Preston North End, or The Lilywhites as they are also known – can be traced back to a number of unusual sports such as cricket, rugby and even athletics.

Nevertheless, the meaning behind Preston North End’s iconic nickname continues to interest people so, we thought as The Shankly Hotel Preston is soon to open a suite named in their honour, we’d take a closer look at the reasons why Preston are lovingly known as The Lilywhites.

The Invincibles of 1888-89

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Preston North End turned professional in 1885 and, from August that same year to April 1886, they went undefeated. Another astonishing season worthy of note and acclaim was the 1887/88 season when they won 42 consecutive matches, beating such teams as Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Derby County and notably Hyde United, who they crushed 26-0 – a result that remains the biggest victory in an FA Cup match.

Such was the club’s dominance, they were dubbed ‘The Invincibles’ – long before Arsene Wenger’s amazing Arsenal team of 2003-04 – and, in 1888 they achieved the double. This remarkable feat earned them a distinctive privilege: Preston North End can wear their home colours whenever they wish, even if that means the home team has to change.

The Lilywhites


You’d be forgiven for thinking that Preston’s colours have always been white, however, The Invincibles had played in blue and white hooped shirts and navy-blue shorts up until 1887. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1888 season when the blue stripes were banished that Preston earned the nickname The Lilywhites.

From 1888 onwards, Preston have sported a crisp white shirt and a pair of dark blue shorts. This famous kit also inspired Tottenham Hotspur to wear a white shirt and similar coloured blue shorts.

Like the club colours, The Lilywhites’ badge similarly has had a single-minded, white colour scheme, namely a white paschal lamb at the forefront for centuries. The lamb is the patron saint of Preston, while the initials ‘PP’ – which are also colourless – are taken to mean “prince of peace.”

The Lilywhite Suite at The Shankly Hotel Preston


Named in honour of Preston North End’s famous nickname, The Lilywhite Suite in The Shankly Hotel Preston, with its opulent furnishings and white lily laden awning, is guaranteed to impress. Whether your wedding is an intimate occasion or an extravagant spectacle, The Lilywhite Suite is the perfect place to say, “I do”.

This spacious and wonderous wedding venue – which also doubles as a conference space – features quaint period pieces, heavenly decorations and an awe-inspiring roof laden with hundreds of ivory-coloured flowers symbolising humility and devotion. A wedding or conference at The Shankly Hotel Preston is sure to be memorable.


Whether you’re a Lilywhite’s fan or not, this elegantly restored building is the perfect place to don your wedding dress – as colourless as Preston North End’s strip – and celebrate in style amongst your 350 proud guests.

We can’t wait to open The Lilywhite Suite and see it become one of the best places to get married or hold a conference in Preston. If you’d like any more information, contact us today on 0151 236 0166.

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