From the best pubs in town to the historical origins of the Market Square, it’s well-known that many Prestonians know their city like the back of their hand. However, there are some lesser-known Preston facts which visitors to the city may not have heard of.
We’ve searched high and low and discovered some of the best-kept secrets that Preston has had up its sleeve over the years!
Preston Opened the First Ever KFC in Britain
In May 1965, the first Kentucky Fried Chicken store opened to Preston locals at 92 Fishergate. This was, in fact, the first US fast food chain to open in the UK – it wasn’t until nine years later that Britain was graced with a McDonalds! Lancashire’s own Ray Allen hatched the expansion plan of KFC’s across the country after meeting with Colonel Sanders himself in ’63.
Even to this day, they’re still serving that famous ‘secret recipe’ chicken at the very same store!
The Word ‘Teetotal’ Was Created in Preston
Known as ‘the practice or promotion of complete personal abstinence from alcoholic beverages’, the term ‘teetotal’ is a well-known word which is used all over. Did you know, however, that the teetotalism movement began right here in Preston?
In 1833, early nineteenth-century Prestonian Joseph Livesey founded The Preston Temperance Society, and soon afterwards the term ‘teetotal’ was born. In fact, Preston’s 1859 Abstinence Memorial in the city’s Cemetery has been awarded Grade-II listed status.
Charles Dickens Found Inspiration in Preston
One of the most famous writers of the Victorian period, Charles Dickens, visited Preston back in January 1854 as a journalist. He stayed at the Old Bull hotel, which is now known as the Bull & Royal. Dickens visited Preston during the great ‘Lock Out’ of 1853-1854, an industrial conflict which closed the cotton industry for seven months.
During the period of April to August 1854, ‘Hard Times’ was written, with Dickens setting the novel in Coketown – a fictional depiction of Preston at this time.
Preston Has the Tallest Spire in England
Did you know? The spire on Preston’s St Walburge’s Church is famous for being one of the tallest in England! The Roman Catholic church was built in the mid-nineteenth century by Jospeh Hansom, a Gothic Revival architect who also designed the hansom cab. The steeple is made up of limestone sleepers which originally carried the weight of the Preston and Longridge railway. It is recorded in the National Heritage List as a Grade-I listed building. You can see it clearly on Preston’s skyline when looking from the Docks!
After Cathedrals in Salisbury and Norwich, St Walburge boasts the third tallest spire in the United Kingdom, and its 309 ft tall spire is the tallest on a parish church.
Preston Has the Longest Row of Red Phone Boxes
The famous row of red public telephone boxes lined along Preston’s Market Street is actually known as the longest row of these old-style phone booths in the country!
The classic red kiosks are synonymous with the UK, and we think it’s only right that they create a great focal point at this popular Preston location.
So, did any of these Preston secrets surprise you? Or were you up to scratch on your Prestonian trivia? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter if you have any more fun facts about our beloved city, we’d absolutely love to hear them!
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