Monday, 13 May 2013

Tell us your Broadgate story

Have you got a great story to tell about Broadgate?

Maybe it's a story about a relative that lived here, a memory from your childhood, or something that happened that made you laugh. Maybe it's a real piece of Preston history. Maybe it's a photo of somewhere in Broadgate that you're really proud of.

Whatever it is, send it to and I can post it up onto the 'Broadgate is Great' blog for you.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Rob Roy

"I had hardly joined our English friends when I became sensible that our cause was lost. Our numbers diminished....and at length we were cooped up by a superior force in the little town of Preston. We defended ourselves resolutely one day. On the next, the hearts of our leaders failed and they resolved to surrender at discretion. To yield myself up on such terms were to have laid my head on the block. About twenty or thirty gentlemen were of my mind. We mounted our horses and placed my daughter, who insisted on sharing my fate, in the centre of our little party. My companions, struck with her courage and filial pity, declared that they would die rather than leave her behind. We rode as a body down a street called Fishergate, which leads to a marshy ground or meadow, extending to the river Ribble, through which one of our party promised to show us a good ford. This marsh had not been strongly invested by the enemy, so that we had only an affair with a patrol of Honeywood’s dragoons, whom we dispersed and cut to pieces. We crossed the river, gained the high road to Liverpool and then dispersed to seek several places of concealment and safety."

Can there be any doubt that Sir Walter Scott had actually ridden or walked down Fishergate Hill and was familiar with the terrain before he wrote that passage from Rob Roy.

I was aware that the passage existed and thought it timely that I should devote a column and bring it to your attention. However, I couldn’t find the words during a flick through the pages. And I’m so glad that I could not. I resolved to read the book and what a story it is. The language ( though at times unintelligible ) is quite wonderful. Here’s a typical example of one of the characters:
For rather than any good action should walk through the world like an unappropriated adjective in an ill-arranged sentence, he is always willing to stand noun substantive to it himself.

The book is a quite thrilling adventure story but not, as it happens, about Rob Roy but mainly about the youth of one Francis Osbaldstone who discovers that the love of his life Diana Vernon has many dangerous secrets in her native county of Northumberland and the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland just prior to the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. And what a character Diana is – it is difficult to believe that this was written in 1817.

Having said that it is an adventure story it is also a brutally honest account of what life was like for Scottish people during that time. The novel was incredibly popular when it came out in three volumes and it is said that one ship travelling from Leith to London carried nothing but this book as cargo.

Robert Louis Stevenson, who loved it from childhood, regarded Rob Roy as the best novel of the greatest of all novelists and even today I think it stands with anything written over the last 200 years.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Mile Stones

In the last column the solution to the strange stone marker on Broadgate was revealed. It marked the eastern boundary ( EB ) of the Legal Quays ( Lc ) of the Port of Preston Customs Area. So this month I thought I’d knock off the other marker just in front of it and then I could move on to pastures new.

No such luck. One thing leads to another - which in this case is the sound of my head hitting the desk in frustration. However, let’s start with my glass half full and write down what I have found out so far.

At the end of last year I went to the Records Office and found a map dating from the mid 1800’s where a Milestone was clearly marked at the spot where this stone thing is.

So, what is a Milestone. The Romans laid good metalled roads to move soldiers and supplies quickly across their Empire. The Latin for thousand was ‘mille’ and the distance was 1618 yards; the eventual British standard mile was 1760 yards. After Roman times, roads developed to meet local community needs: in 1555, an Act of Parliament made local parishes (or often townships in the North) responsible for their upkeep and boundary markers became important. In 1697, the Justices were ordered to erect guideposts at cross-highways and on the moors. From 1767, mileposts were compulsory on all turnpikes, not only to inform travellers of direction and distances, but to help coaches keep to schedule and for charging for changes of horses at the coaching inns. The distances were also used to calculate postal charges before the uniform postal rate was introduced in 1840. At the height of the turnpike era, there were 20,000 miles of roads with milestones.

That’s pretty clear isn’t it. At the end of Meath Road, on Broadgate, there is a Milestone. If you look on the top you will a distinctive mark. It is called a bench mark and is an Ordnance Survey arrowhead sign found on walls, bridges, churches and specially erected triangulation pillars where the altitude above sea-level has been accurately measured by surveyors. The arrowhead points to a horizontal line above it which marks the exact altitude.

It’s pretty obvious that it marks the distance of one mile from here to the centre of Preston. But does it? I’ve had a look in the centre of Preston and can’t find its counterpart. I’ve walked down Leyland Road to try and find a Milestone there. I can’t find anything. Actually that’s not true. I found a stone marker with FP 66 on it and I’ve no idea what that is.
And that’s where my glass becomes half empty. I’m left with the mystery of when our Milestone was put there, did it measure the distance into Preston, did it measure the distance South across the river over the old bridge or some other route earlier in time before 1759.
Answers gratefully received before it drives me round the bend.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

A Voice for Broadgate

The Lancashire Evening Post has just posted a link to 'Broadgate is Great' from their blogs page.
They describe us as 'A community blog written by one man for Broadgate Preston'.
In fact the blog is written by 4 men, myself, Terry, Faron and Chris, and there's always space for anyone else who wants to write here about some of the great things going on in Broadgate -and we could certainly do with a few female bloggers to make up for our gender imbalance.
If you're a budding Broadgate blogger, pass us your article, and it shouldn't be long before you see it up here!

Friday, 16 April 2010

stone marker

First of all I want to make it quite clear that I was guided by Geoff Tyrer to the photo which can be found on the flickr website under ‘Stone Marker, Broadgate’. It was taken quite recently by ‘Nog Tow’ who seems to be a mine of information about the history of Preston.

Let’s go back a bit. I started off wondering about the stone marker against the river wall opposite Meath Road. I couldn’t find anything in the Reference Library, couldn’t find anything on the Internet, couldn’t find anyone who knew what it was. So what next?

What next is what I should have done in the first place. I asked in Broadgate News for information. First of all Kath Wallace told me that she’d been told that the stone was there to mark the end of the jurisdiction of Preston Docks.

Then George Cameron remembered ( somehow ) that there had been something in the Lancashire Evening Post back around 1990. He was pretty sure that the article in the paper mentioned that the inscription stood for Eastern Quay Legal Boundary. This ended the limit of Port Dues.

And finally Geoff handed me a print out containing the above photograph together with the following ( and many thanks to everyone for their help ):

This stone marker ( one of two – the other is missing ) marked the eastern boundary ( EB ) of the Legal Quays ( Lc ) of the Port of Preston Customs Area that was set up by the Ribble Navigation Committee in 1844. The way the ‘4’ was represented had yet to be standardized. It was common to see it backwards now and then. There are at least 2 gravestones in Preston churchyards with backward ‘4’s. – Nog Tow.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Broadgate Wordled

Wordle: Broadgate Is Great

Click on this picture to see a Wordle of the Broadgate is Great blog.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Umberto's and the Monks

I know it's not quite in Broadgate, but it's not far, and today, at about 7pm I spotted two heavily bearded monks in brown cassocks running across Fylde Road and diving into Umberto's. Does anyone know who they were and what they were doing at Preston's most famous Fish shop?

No jokes about chip-monks please...