Preston Guild City • Social and Political Movements
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Preston Guild City

Social and Political Movements

Sir Robert Peel Statue, Winckley, Preston, Lancashire

There has always been a strong link with people in Preston to work for social and political reform, playing a significant role in national campaigns. It was here that radical Henry Hunt fought for and won an election, defeating future Prime Minister Edward Stanley, the Earl of Derby, gaining a parliamentary seat during the implementation of the Reform Act.

During the Industrial Revolution, a number of Prestonians campaigned for factory reform, and a statue still stands in Winckley Square in gratitude to the work of another Prime Minister, Robert Peel, on this issue.

The temperance movement and teetotalism have a major link to the work of Joseph Livesey with the city’s university housing the Livesey Collection, including the British National Temperance League archive and first temperance pledge signed in Preston.

Preston also played a major role in the improvement of the living and working conditions of towns, thanks to the work of the Reverend John Clay and Henry Pilkington, and through pioneering work by Sir Charles Brown.

The Women’s Suffrage movement has several important links to Preston, not least through the activism of suffragette Edith Rigby and the work of Preston artist Patti Mayor.

Image: Statue of Robert Peel, Winckley Square