Preston Guild City • History of Winckley Square
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Preston Guild City

History of Winckley Square

Winckley Square, Preston, Lancashire

Winckley Square is a key part of Preston’s history, and was the brainchild of locally based solicitor William Cross, of whom a portrait hangs in the city’s Harris library.

It was originally established and developed as a restricted development and exclusive residential area, overseen by William Cross and his wife. The first house (now number 7) was built in 1799, its original residents being professional gentlemen and wealthy manufacturers.

Very soon, the Square became home to many influential families, including the Millers (founders of Horrockses), the Addisons (judges, in a house now occupied by Heathcote’s restaurant), and Dr Rigby and his suffragette wife Edith.

However, Winckley Square also played a major cultural and educational role in the city, providing schools and colleges, and also housed Preston’s first public museum.

It also marked the first planned residential expansion of Preston at the beginning of the 19th century, William Cross taking its name from Thomas Winckley, from whom he had purchased Town End Field, the site of Winckley Square.

The fine Georgian townhouses were stepped back from the pavement to allow light to their cellars. An approach of natural building materials, slate roofs and a small number of building designs were used to ensure visual harmony.

The Square’s gardens originally comprised private plots owned by residents. Later it became a public park, which included statue of Sir Robert Peel, erected in 1852, which commemorates the Lancashire born Prime Minister and father of modern policing.

Image: Winckley Square, (Robert Pateson) 1863

Map address for Winckley Square

Winckley Square, Preston, PR1 3JJ