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Discovering Preston’s Statues and Memorials

Sir Tom Finney statue

Preston is home to some of the most beautiful, mysterious and spectacular statues and memorials in the country.

Whether they are commemorating a poignant moment in history, a hero of the poor, soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country or footballing legends, this city is very proud of its heritage.

Take a look at some of our favourite monuments in Preston and the stories they tell.

Preston Cenotaph

Preston cenotaph
Source: Preston Remembers

A beautiful monument dedicated to soldiers from Preston who died in World War One and Two, the Preston Cenotaph stands proudly in Market Square.

First unveiled on 13th June 1926, the memorial was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott with sculptural work by Henry Alfred Pegram.

The Preston Cenotaph features the figure of ‘Victory’ whose arms are raised, holding up laurels wreaths in either hand. At the very top of the monument there is an empty coffin with cherubs and strands of foliage carved around it.

The main inscription reads:

Be ever mindful of the men of Preston
Who fell in the Great Wars
1914-1918 1939-1945
This land inviolate your monument 

The names of those World War One servicemen honoured are contained in a Roll of Honour located in the Harris Museum.

It’s one of the most famous in our list of Preston’s statues and monuments.

The Preston Martyrs Memorial

Preston Martyrs

Preston Martyrs

On Saturday 13th August the Lune Street Riots took place in Preston, which were part of the 1842 ‘Plug Riots’. These riots centred around the depression in 1841, which resulted in wage cuts of over 25%.

Influenced by the Chartist movement and the government’s rejection of the petition for ‘People’s Charter of 1838′, disputes spread throughout the North West of England.

The strike in Preston began on 12 August 1842 after a large meeting of around 3,000 cotton workers at Chadwick’s Orchard, now the site of Preston’s Covered Market.

On Saturday 13 August, the strikers moved into the centre of town where they met Preston officials accompanied by soldiers from the 72nd Highlanders and members of the County and Borough police. Their final confrontation was on the bottom of Lune Street outside the Preston Corn Exchange.

Violence broke out between the strikers and Preston officials.

The Preston Martyrs Memorial was erected in 1992 to commemorate the deaths of four cotton workers who were shot by the military during the conflict.

Sculpted by George Young, it was inspired by Goya’s painting ‘The Third of May 1808’, which memorialises Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies.

It was hoped that the placing of the memorial in Preston would remind people now and in the future that “Never without sacrifice have gains been made towards justice and democracy”.

Sir Robert Peel

Robert Peel Preston

Sir Robert Peel

Erected in 1852, this statue celebrates Sir Robert Peel who was born in Lancashire.

He was twice Prime Minister and also helped to create the police force. But the statue was mounted in Winckley Square by public subscription in honour of Peel’s success in repealing the Corn Laws.

When Sir Robert Peel, the current Prime Minister of the time, succeeded in the abolition of the Corn Laws in 1846 he was held in great esteem by all affected making him a much revered hero of Britain’s poor.

The statue was carved by celebrated sculptor, Thomas Duckett senior in his studio in Avenham Road.

Sir Tom Finney – The Splash

Sir Tom Finney Statue Preston

Sir Tom Finney statue

One of the most spectacular of Preston’s statues and monuments, this stunning sculpture celebrates Sir Tom Finney.

Sir Tom Finney was an English footballer, famous for his loyalty to the League club, Preston North End, where he made 569 appearances.

For his charitable work, he was appointed an OBE in the 1961 New Year Honours, a CBE in the 1992 New Year Honours and was finally knighted in the 1998 New Year Honours.

On 31 July 2004, Finney unveiled the water feature sculpture The Splash, by sculptor Peter Hodgkinson, which stands outside Preston North End football stadium.

The sculpture was inspired by the 1956 Sports Photograph of the Year which features Finney beating two defenders at a waterlogged Stamford Bridge.

Stone Vikings

Stone Vikings Preston
Source: Blipfoto
Viking stone statues
Source: The Silicon Tribesman

Proudly standing at the side of the roundabout near junction 31A in Longsands, Fullwood, these mysterious stone Saxon soldiers have become part of the landscape for over 14 years.

Preston has always had ties to Viking history. The amazing Cuerdale Hoard, which is the greatest Viking silver treasure trove ever found outside of Russia, was discovered on the south side of the River Ribble, near Preston.

The 14th Earl of Derby

earl of derby

Miller Park

Situated in the beautiful Miller Park in Preston, this statue commemorates the 14th Earl of Derby, who was once the Member of Parliament for Preston and later became Prime Minister on three occasions.

Known as Edward George Geoffrey Smith-Stanley, he was the longest serving leader of the Conservative Party and one of only four British Prime Ministers to have three or more separate periods in office.

The statue was unveiled in front of 40,000 people in May 1873 and cost around £2500.

Preston South African War Memorial

Preston South African War Memorial
Credit: Dorothy Williams
Preston South African War Memorial - statues and memorials
Credit: Dorothy Williams

This memorial is dedicated to the men of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment who lost their lives in South Africa, featuring 86 names in total.

The Preston South African War Memorial originally stood in Market Place in the centre of Preston, but in 1919 it was moved to its current home in Avenham Park.

It takes the form of an obelisk mounted on a large pedestal with a two-stepped base and is decorated with four bronze plates.

The memorial was designed by T Hodglinson and manufactured by W L Holland.

We hope you’ve enough learning about some of Preston’s most beautiful monuments, if you think we’ve missed any let us know in the comments! 

If you’re looking to come and visit Preston and spot some of these amazing statues and memorials, check out the Harris Hotel which is expected to be completed this year! Check our Facebook for regular updates. 

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