Preston Past: Fishergate,100 years of change (Part 2)
Compare the above image of Fishergate around 1898 with the Fishergate 1952 below. It is interesting to note how much changed in only 50 years or so. Both images show the Gilbert Scott Town Hall, except that in the 1898 image the Town Hall was still in remarkably fine condition; whereas, in the lower 1952 image the Town Hall tower is somewhat truncated due to the fire damage it suffered in 1947.
A little further towards the foreground and on the left side of the 1898 Fishergate image it can be seen that a row of buildings which were the Central Club Meeting Rooms & YWCA seen in the image adjacent left, have been replaced by the Marks & Spencer building as can be seen in the 1952 Fishergate image. These buildings were originally the former meeting place of the Preston Scientific Society and were demolished around 1928 . The magnificant Gas Company offices remain almost the same in both images as this building served its purpose well until it was demolished to make way for St. George’s Shopping Centre in the mid 1960′s. Another great loss of one of Preston’s architectural gems.
The old Post Office building seen to the left of the Gas Offices still remains as the same structure, but as seen in the image of Fishergate 1952, it served the purpose of housing the Kardomah Cafe. Prior to that this building was occupied by Harding’s County Carriage and Motor Works. At a later period and up to 1972, when it was demolished to make way for W.H. Smiths store, this building housed the Punch Bowl Tavern and Cresta fashions.
On that side of Fishergate, from the old Post Office, most of the buildings in the Fishergate 1898 image remained untouched up to the corner of Chapel Walks when, as seen in the Fishergate 1952 image, the building on the corner of Fishergate / Chapel Walks was demolished during this 50 year period and the Commercial Union building was constructed. The two buildings on the far left of the Fishergate 1898 image were also demolished and the two banks, National Westminster (now Skipton Building Society) and Deacon’s (now RBS) had been built in their place. Of interest are the tram lines of 1898 have now disappeared in the 1952 image; although, the original ‘poles’ for the wires serving the electric trams are now seen as street lighting columns.
The image below is a view of the northeastern side of Fishergate facing west. Some of the businesses will easily be recognised by many of the senior readers, then again, even the outline of the buildings will be recognised by virtually everyone today, apart from the Gas Office building to the far left, which is now no longer there. The single storey building just to the right of centre, which, at that time was Redman’s store, will bring back memories to some readers including myself, of a wonderful aroma when entering the shop of cooked meats, bacon and dried fruits.
The buildings in the centre of the image are what were known at that time as the ‘Lancashire Daily Post’ offices later to become the ‘Lancashire Evening Post’ & ‘Farmers Guardian’ offices.
The large white building with the elaborate facade with two central pillars, just to the left of centre, is built on the site which at one time up until 1923, held the premises of a public house known as the ‘Grey Horse & Seven Stars’ and the smaller building next left was also a public house known as the ‘Borough Tavern’. An image of these two establishments can be seen just above to the left.
The Lamb and Flag sign on the Borough Tavern, carved by local sculptor Thomas Duckett, was preserved and is now in the collections department at the Harris Museum. Also shown is J.J. Sergeant’s shop and the Palatine Rubber Company shop which was on the ground level below the Tavern. The facade of the Grey Horse was merely painted to give the illusion of being half timbered.
Towards the far north eastern side and to the end of Fishergate, where it joins Church Street, there is the Town Hall, now replaced by Crystal House. The Town Hall extended between Cheapside and Birley Street.
The adjacent image, which many readers today will probably remember, is that of the Gilbert Scott Town Hall remains, ten years following the destructive fire of 1947. As can be seen, only the ground level exists at this time on the Fishergate side, which remained mainly for aesthetic reasons rather than for any other purpose. Note the ‘Farringdon Park’ bus stop in front of the Town Hall. I wonder how many readers have caught a bus from there in the past.
For comparison, the adjacent image shows the Town Hall during the 1902 Preston Guild. What a difference there is from the upper image! Electric decorative lighting has been strewn all around the building, how wonderful and spectacular it must have looked at night. I wish I could have been there to see it. There are many photographers there to capture something very interesting by the looks of it and it is very possible that some of the photographs they produced are probably being used in some of these ‘Preston Past’ articles.
Next Week: Part 3 of ‘Fishergate, 100 years of change’.
This is a weekly series showcasing photos each week from the brilliant Preston Digital Archive which is an online archive of images of Preston’s past