The Old Tram Road Bridge was declared unsafe and has been fenced off. It’s said to cost too much to repair so might be closed for a long time. The Old Tram Road is one of those features of Preston that links to long ago and the industrial heritage.
This is an excellent exhibition at the Harris in Preston, The Museum of the Moon until 24th February 2019. The star exhibit being a 23ft diameter moon hanging over central atrium, at night it’s illuminated. While we were there dozens of school children were visiting and with half term coming up it’s bound to be a favourite and free entry.
Another excellent piece of work is a precise paper model of the Saturn V rocket that took the Apollo missions to the moon. This large model is around 20ft long and built to scale. From the model the rocket stages can be clearly viewed including a model of the Lunar Module that was transported in the rocket.
The actual rocket is a phenomenal size almost like blasting off Blackpool Tower, there is one at the Space Centre in Florida.
The space suit of the Apollo astronauts is shown.
A piece of moon rock.
The model of the moon in context at the Harris Museum of the Moon, Preston.
There is also a computer from the space ship which being in the 1960s is less capable than a cheap calculator depending far more on human skills, as we saw in the movie Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks which required to be manually steered back to earth due to a malfunction.
The exhibition contains many moon oriented themes with poetry, maps, paintings and family activities. Don’t we love the man in the moon.
Every year artists from the PR postcode are invited to submit work to be exhibited and categorised prizes are awarded. The 2019 exhibition finishes on 20th January 2019, below are some photos from the exhibition:
Work continues on the Preston to Bolton and Manchester electrification programme. December 2018 was set as a new target after problems with ground conditions such as old mining works and drifts of soft sand. Pylons for the electric cabling needed to be mounted in metal containers due to soft ground.
Diesels continue to be operated on this section which should be replaced by electric trains when it is complete. It should be noted that train allocation isn’t that simple, trains are exchanged between operators.
As yet Network Rail are still talking about it being complete in December 2018. Although Northern Rail agreed to take handover immediately on the Blackpool upgrade when in reality they needed time to train drivers. Quite likely it won’t make much difference to passenger as a new Winter timetable is about to be issued without knowing if the line will be electrified.
The Friends of the Harris, a registered charity, are working with The Harris to revitalise and do critical repairs to the building and its presentation.
They have held several public discussions and learnt what the public want – such as Preston’s hidden collections on show, new spaces to enjoy, more opportunities to be inspired, and for the Harris to be your place. And here for the others who need it too – forever.
Now, there is a one in 100 year opportunity to make the Harris uniquely special again – for everyone.
Every donation will help show how much support there is and so generate money from larger funders.
The Friends of the Harris have set up a donations page for the public at The Big Give as linked below:
Big Donators are:
Preston City Council
Lancashire County Council
Preston, South Ribble & Lancashire City Deal
Contributions from local people
Arts Council England
The Harris Trust
Trusts and Foundations: Conditional
Heritage Lottery Fund: Conditional
The following are the objectives as shown on the donations page:
We will reinvigorate the Harris, combining the library, museum and art gallery to create exciting new facilities:
Blended library, museum and gallery in a beautifully refurbished heritage space with many more collections on show
Using Preston people’s stories to draw visitors through the Harris and our collections, creating a richer experience
New central ground floor hub for events, meetings and activities
New rear entrance on Lancaster Road with welcome area, stairs/lift, retail and cafe
A better welcome for more people, including young people and those hardest to reach in Preston
» We will open up the Harris, creating new entrances on on Harris Street, Jacson Street, and on Lancaster Road facing Preston Guild Hall
» We will create a new welcome area along with additional lift, stairs, buggy storage, toilets, changing places toilet and lockers
» We will deliver a range of community-led activities to help everyone enjoy, create, learn and make as well as better opportunities for artists
What success will look like
We will welcome 100,000 more people each year; 460,000 annually.
We will use audience research and postcode data to record visits by young people and hard to reach communities
To create the UK’s first blended museum, art gallery and library in a beautifully refurbished space:
» Community-led displays of Harris collections from historic books to contemporary art, encouraging learning and interaction for all ages
» More objects from our collections on show, including those which have rarely been displayed before such as the historic book collection
» We will provide opportunities for local and community creativity to be enjoyed and celebrated alongside artwork of national significance.
» We will refurbish the building with critical repairs to the roof, windows, stonework and rainwater systems to make the building safe for the future
What success will look like
Displays will include objects from our history and art collections, with many not displayed for many years, including historic books
The Harris will be revitalised and busy.
Creating an inspirational, animated central hub:
» The existing ground floor café area in the rotunda will become the heart of the building – a dynamic hive of activity and events for all ages
» Surrounding the rotunda will be exciting new displays blending books, art and heritage along with an extended café and retail space
» Also on the ground floor will be improved digital access and a multi-use space for meetings, conferences and entertainment.
» Our improved spaces, cafe, retail and meeting rooms for hire will help to generate more income to make the Harris sustainable for the long term
What success will look like
The hub will be filled with a regular programme of activity, aimed at a wide range of audiences.
The cafe, retail and meeting room will attract new users and generate income
Using Preston’s wonderful history and stories to create a richer visitor experience for all ages:
» Local stories will inspire routes around the Harris and our collections, themed on playing, exploring, questioning, creating and connecting
» The themes will inspire local people and provide a safe, welcoming, trusted and accessible place for everyone to enjoy and learn from the collections
» Displays will be community-led, involving young people, those hardest to reach and communities most in need in Preston
What success will look like
Thematic displays will provide a better ‘way in’ to our collections for people, who will comment positively
Community-led displays will mean a longer dwell-time in the galleries
The heritage of the Grade I Harris building will be preserved and protected
The Harris will welcome 100,000 extra visitors each year through our improved displays, facilities and events, including local people and tourists
More young people and more people/communities who are harder to reach and found the Harris inaccessible in the past will visit
The Harris will be more financially sustainable through increased income from better services and contribute to Preston city centre regeneration
The project leaders have considered a wide range of risks relating to the building work and to other factors such as planning delays, staff changes, budget changes and partner relationships. A comprehensive risk register has been developed which assesses the level and likelihood of risk in each case and outlines the mitigation which has been put in place and who is responsible. We would be delighted to provide a copy of this document on request – please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are very grateful to everyone who contributes to this project. Donors who wish to be kept informed will be added to an email mailing list to receive updates several times a year and will be invited to appropriate events such as the re-opening of the Harris building and other celebrations.
Budget – Project Cost: £10,796,693 comprising:
£7,399,348 Building works Repairs to roof, stonework, windows, electrical services. Construction of new spaces.
£705,750 Public activities Collections displays, exhibitions, interpretation, events and community activities for the public
£32,500 Marketing Promoting through press, website, social media, print and other means to local and tourist visitors
£65,990 Staffing Extra staff to help us deliver the project effectively
£460,000 Professional Fees Cost of architects, designers, technical and construction staffing etc
£1,090,000 Contingency Allowance for unforeseen expenses if required
£1,043,105 Inflation Allowance for anticipated inflation
Current Funding / Pledges
Preston City Council £1,000,000 Guaranteed
Lancashire County Council £1,000,000 Guaranteed
Preston, South Ribble & Lancashire City Deal £1,000,000 Guaranteed
Contributions from local people £335,000 Guaranteed
Arts Council England £277,000 Guaranteed
The Harris Trust £100,000 Guaranteed
Trusts and Foundations £250,000 Conditional
Heritage Lottery Fund (applied for – result expected Dec 2018) £4,700,000 Conditional
The Harris is Grade I listed, with collections of British art, history and books and a vibrant events programme.
7 of Preston’s 22 wards are among the UK’s 10% most deprived and it has very high rates of young people not in education or training, of suicide and depression.
With a travel to work population of 420,000, the city centre is on the up, with new bars, cafes, a hotel and a re-energised theatre/concert hall. Now is the time to revitalise our greatest cultural and heritage asset too.
Following great progress in increasing the Harris’ audiences recently and using Harris audience research and Preston’s Equality Data Hub, we have identified the following people who will benefit most:
Families visiting with children
Young people including students
Local people who currently have low engagement with the Harris – often experiencing deprivation
Cultural Tourists – from the 60 minute drivetime to Preston area
The Friends of the Harris were founded in 1972 and we are a registered charity.
Our role is to support all aspects of the Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library which is owned and managed by Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council who will deliver the project.
We have supported multiple projects at the Harris over many years, aimed at a wide range of communities. These have included capital projects, most recently the creation of the £1.8million Discover Preston gallery in 2012.
Head of Culture, Preston City Council, who has extensive experience in leading capital projects in museums and galleries.
Harris Capital Fundraising Manager, who has led the Harris’ fundraising for 20 years, including the £1.8 million Discover Preston gallery in 2012.
Chair, Friends of the Harris, who has led the Friends since 2008 and supported the organisation to fundraise effectively for the Harris
The Friends of the Harris have set up a donations page for the public at The Big Give as linked below
The 26th October 2018 is the 125th birthday of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston. Congratulations!
Three exhibitions are on and these are Whittingham Hidden Lives, Windrush Generation and Preston Indoor Market. All end on 25th November 2018.
Whittingham Asylum was built in 1873, closed in the 1990s and demolished in 2016. This exhibition explores the lives of the patients and their treatment including the special railway line. Whittingham was at one time the biggest mental hospital in Britain.
To complement the national event celebrating the arrival of the SS Windrush 70 years ago bringing people from the Caribbean the Harris has ‘Windrush Generation’ about the lives of the black community in Preston. The exhibition has a 1960’s living room and experiences of the black community in Preston. Plus 6 artworks by Anita George.
The painting below is one of six by Anita George on display celebrating black British artists who broke through in the 1980s. The central portrait is Lubaina Himid, Professor of Contemporary Art at UCLan in Preston who in 2017 was the first black female artist to win the Turner Prize:
Preston Indoor Market Photographic Display by Joseph Gudgeon:
Preston Indoor Market was built in 1972 and closed in 2018. A new indoor market with a modern design has been built under the canopy of the outdoor Victorian Covered Market. In this exhibition Joseph Gudgeon recorded detailed and characterful features and people of the old indoor market before it closed.
Just for the record hoping there’ll be great news in 6 months. After a poor start North End are second from the bottom of the Championship. The season was opened with a win, since there there has been 2 draws and 4 defeats.
Tonight Leeds v PNE. Could this be the start of a comeback. Leeds are top of the league.
It’s 130 years since PNE took part in the opening games of the first Football League season, 8th September 1888, beating Burnley 1-0.
The PNE team that lost to bottom Reading at home last Saturday was:
2. Fisher Substituted for Harrop at 56’minutes
12. Gallagher Substituted for Nmechaat 57’minutes
3. Earl Booked at 90mins
9. Moult Substituted for Burkeat 80’minutes
August 1968 was the month of the last steam services. Preston was involved in these services. Also in August 2018 Alstom officially closed the Strand Road West Works were trams, trains and motors had been built for over a 100 years.
Below is an extract from our website, read the whole page on the link below.
‘In 1968 two trains left Preston on the last standard steam hauled services in the UK. The Lancashire Evening Post of 2nd August 2008 has an article about a book called ‘Steam – The Last Finale’ by Alan Castle. The article relates to the 8.50pm Preston to Blackpool hauled by 45212, and the 9.25pm Preston to Liverpool Exchange hauled by 45318. The latter gaining 80mph across the flat terrain of West Lancashire. Drivers of both trains came from Lostock Hall shed – Bob Barker and fireman Roy Duckworth on 45212 and Ernie Heyes and fireman Tony Smith on 45318. The following day August 4th plenty of special steam hauled trains were run on farewell trips.
The following weekend on August 11th 1968 45110 ran from Liverpool to Manchester and was then replaced by 70013 Oliver Cromwell from Manchester to Carlisle via Bolton, Blackburn and the Settle to Carlisle route. This was the last BR passenger train called the ‘fifteen guinea special’. The return journey was double headed by 44781 and 44871, with 45110 hauling from Manchester back to Liverpool according to Wikipedia. 70013 is said to have returned to its base in Norwich under its own steam.’
A second piece of history this month is the closure of the Alstom factory on Strand Road which was formerly English Electric Traction, Strand Road West Works, Dick Kerrs, where diesel locomotives including the Deltic Prototype were built. It also has a history of building diesel shunters, trams and electric motors.
Barton Grange Garden Centre has opened its big extension – The Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre. Curling, Cinemas, Bowling, Golf Simulator, Crazy Golf, Cafe, Chip Shop Restaurant. All done in the high class Barton Grange style.
We made a visit this morning and were wowed! The cinemas are something else. The curling arena is big, the bowling and golf simulators are the business. The crazy golf area as imaginative as you’d expect. The cafes open at 12 so we didn’t go in, Barton Grange already has the Willows Restaurant and Riverside Cafe open from early, that makes 4 on one site.
To visit take the A6 north towards Garstang and at the roundabout just past Bilsborrow turn in. It’s the grass roofed building about 8 miles north of Preston.
In honour of the hanging at the Harris.
Dear Harris, (abridged)
Is your permanence set in stone?
On the road to death do you tread?
Frequented by the old, neglected by the young,
But the young will polish your dreary lungs.
Will the alien beam of technology blight your splendour?
Yours, Blaze Transformers
A thought provoking piece and nicely written. In reply, apologies for the poetry in advance:
Does splendour and excellence improve with age,
Does fashion change though the beam be the rage,
A classical line loving the light,
Was it that ‘Everything is going to be alright’,
Ideas and energy expanding thought,
Bringing your offspring to see what were,
The good old days of 2 nought 2 nought.
Yours Made in Preston
First there was Tornado, then there was Typhoon and what next? The concept for the anticipated next aircraft project at BAE Systems in Lancashire and the Royal Air Force has been announced as the Tempest, photographed below.
A concept design for a two engine fighter bomber with a capability to fly unmanned. The UK government has allocated £200m a year for 10 years and there is a partnership with BAE Systems, Rolls Royce engines, MBDA missiles and Leonardo of Italy plus of course UK MOD and RAF.
As usual the partnerships for the next European Combat Aircraft are being debated with rival offerings from the big players. Earlier this year Airbus and Dassault of France announced they would partner for the next Future Combat Aircraft project excluding the UK. The UK continued with its discussions with Japan, Sweden and Turkey. More recently, in fact this week, the head of Airbus proposed that BAE Systems merge its military aircraft business with Airbus and there is talk from France and Germany for the UK to join their project to strengthen European Security. Slightly ironic considering the UK is being excluded from the European GPS system due to security. The difference between politicians and industry perhaps.
The RAF is looking to be flying the Tempest by 2035 along with the Typhoon and Lightning II (F35). As future partners are unknown it can’t be said what the future workload will be locally. A partnership including France is likely to result in a debate about who leads and who gets which juicier parts of work. Other partners are likely to allow the UK to lead the project which usually means designing and building the forward end and cockpit. In any event it’s likely that Final Assembly which involves test flying will be in the UK, hopefully at Warton, for RAF aircraft.
At the Farnborough Air Show the UK also announced that Typhoon will be used as the bridge for technology on the Future Combat Aircraft. Several upgrades will be introduced later this year and future technology used to keep the Typhoon in service for another 30 years.
Work in Lancashire continues on Typhoon manufacture and development, F35 rear fuselage work is ramping up. Other concept projects like Taranis and now Tempest will hopefully lead to another 30 years of work taking the local sites to over 100 years old.
The latest exhibition at the Harris is ‘Comics’. 23rd June to 23rd September 2018. Three large rooms of comic artwork, much of it original so no photography allowed of single pieces of work. Who knew that the artist of the Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx was from Preston and started at the Lancashire Evening Post, Leo Baxendale 1930 – 2017. That’s some time ago so the exhibition takes in the old, nostalgia, and the new. Good to read those old comic strips. Some of Roy of the Rovers as well. Well presented and worth seeing.
Northern are getting a lot of stick for delays to trains in the North West but is it fair? Since the new timetable came in on 20th May with the newly electrified track and new upgraded trains the system seems to be out of control. Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, seems to be making the most noise, or at least getting the most publicity.
On the face of it trains are being cancelled at a moments notice due to lack of drivers. Yet behind the scenes is a web of organisations scurrying about hiding behind customer facing Northern.
For weeks we heard the 20th May timetable was being agreed by Network Rail far too late. Normally there are months to plan driver rostering and training. But the delay to the Blackpool line, being announced only a week before due date meant there was no time to train drivers on the new route.
Also the electrification of the Bolton section of the route has been delayed until December. This means the electric trains can’t be used on the Blackpool, Manchester routes via Bolton and diesels are needed. Yet those diesels were meant to be used on other services.
Couple that to delays to Scottish Rail train deliveries. Northern were due to take trains from Scotland but these are being delayed because Scottish are receiving their new trains late.
There has been an industrial dispute at Northern about the use of guards that will have affected services, but that has been rumbling on for over a year. Overall most of the problems have been caused by other people and not Northern, so give them a fair do.
After announcing a month ago that Ikea would be the key store at the new retail area at Cuerden, 3 miles south of Preston, it’s been announced they’re pulling out. Ikea claim costs and delays no longer make the store viable. In its place Lindsay Hoyle MP for Chorley has suggested a new Central Lancashire Hospital is put on the site.
Image of the area at the end of the M65, from South Ribble Council website:
Discussion has been underway about combining Preston and Chorley Hospitals at a new site. Both hospitals are on constrained sites and Chorley is smarting at not being big enough for 24hr A&E. This proposal appears to make a lot of sense. The site being on the edge of 3 motorways. Its downside could be congestion at such a major crossroads and whether it will attract other new building around its edges creating constraints on expansion once again. Also comparing the current Preston site with this one, it isn’t that much bigger unless additional land is taken. Is this green belt?
Car Parking is a key factor for staff and patients at hospitals and one located away from housing will need a lot of transport. Having been to Preston hospital a few times it’s obvious that Preston is very poor for parking. Preston also has a huge expanse of single storey building which appears to be a big waste of space. Updating an existing site can be very disruptive and that area is congested enough.
Also there are plans to combine pathology at Preston, Chorley and Lancaster at a site near Lancaster University. This will need samples carried back and forth throughout the day.
Another factor is whether more smaller hospitals should be built. There is one at Clifton near Lytham for Dermatology and that has a very relaxed atmosphere. Plus the talk of care and convelescent sites to take the strain off big hospitals.
Overall it sounds a good scheme. There is talk of prefabricated fast build hospitals, could this be one?
If you know the Harris, is an icon ‘Hannibal’s Sister’ or ‘Pauline in the Yellow Dress’? Your choice, but on 28th April we took in a talk by two Sisters from the St Elisabeth Convent in Minsk about creating religious icons. In the afternoon you could make your own icon but that was booked up. The Harris has a lot on at the moment and we followed up by viewing the special exhibitions; Lubaina Himid: Hard Times, The Courtauld Connection, Before Sound and The Gentleman’s Wardrobe. The strange thing about the Harris is there is something new everytime you go, although the staff claim it was always there, is it an in joke?
Starting with the icon talk we learnt that creating icons is an exacting task taking several weeks, starting with the wooden base and building it up. Especially a large one, perhaps with many figures and painted for a special family event. As well as the icon studio the Convent works to help the destitute. There was a display of fine icons and some made for a cheaper budget. It was fascinating to listen to and meet the Sisters from Minsk, Belarus.
The Lubaina Himid Exhibition Hard Times contains several works including the Turner Prize winning work. Also on the stairs in the gallery are 2 more works and another in the Fine Art Gallery as part of the Harris collection. The adjacent rooms have items by other artists that are part of the exhibition.
Preston once had a large rayon producing factory owned by Courtauld’s. A display in the Fine Art Gallery shows the history of the factory and the lives of the workers. This is set around a painting by Eugene Boudin on loan from the Courtauld Gallery in London. The painting was selected by former employees. See our separate write up.
The Gentleman’s Wardrobe is a work around the story of male carers who feel they were let down by the system. Their voices can be heard inside the wardrobe while you can sit inside with the doors closed for the full experience.
Preston Street Style is a longer term exhibition. Preston is my Paris is a clever take of an advert and was used in the 2012 Preston Guild. An exhibition of street clothing through time. I can’t help but admire who-ever thought of Preston is my Paris, it’s one of those phrases that comes to mind in certain places in Preston, ironic perhaps. In Certain Places is familiar too.
Yes, a good day at the Harris.
The electrified line between Blackpool and Manchester is slowly re-opening. Driver training is underway and limited rail services to Blackpool are being introduced as described below. Also Bolton station will be closed on certain weekends as below.
On Monday 16th April diesel services will start between Blackpool North and Manchester Airport, these trains are hourly. Other services will be operated using buses from Blackpool to Preston for the week 16th to 20th April.
From Saturday 21st April a full service will be run although the line through Bolton is closed at weekend except on the 21/22 April and 19/20 May.
On May 20th the summer timetable will begin and electric trains should operate from Blackpool North to Manchester, Liverpool and London. Services to Leeds via Blackburn will remain diesel operated. As is the service to Blackpool South.
The Preston to Blackpool Timetable for the weekdays 16th to 20th April is linked below
It’s recommended you check the time of your train if going to Blackpool or via Bolton as the timetable changes, often at short notice.
No blog is complete without a mention of Preston’s Fishergate bollards. Lancashire County Council think they can be seen from the moon. Yet several motorists only feet away have actually gone over the top of them.
These bollards have their own Twitter account and have been put up for an architectural prize such is their splendour.
The circled bollard is obvious, who would not see that! Especially at night or in heavy rain surrounded by other traffic.
The Preston Courtaulds factory operated from 1939 to 1981 producing Rayon. The display at the Harris shows a video of its history along with worker’s stories, maps and a painting from the Courtauld Gallery in London. The painting was selected by former workers and is on loan at the Harris until 20th May 2018.
Painting by Eugène Boudin, ‘Deauville’ painted in 1893.
The first Ikea in Lancashire is earmarked for the proposed 160 acre Cuerden retail site at the end of the M65 other retailers are being discussed. This nice green field site is another extension to the built up area south of Preston.
The Victorian Covered Market has been updated with a stylish structure creating an internal market space under the canopy. On entering from Orchard Street there are 3 smart stalls, as it’s just opened there are a few stalls still being made. The Earl Street entrance is for butchers. At the time some of the stalls were still being fitted out.