Preston

Preston is a city and the administrative centre of Lancashire, England, located on the north bank of the River Ribble. It is an urban settlement and unparished area that when combined with surrounding rural civil parishesforms the City of Preston local government district of Lancashire. The whole district obtained city status in 2002, becoming England’s 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. The settlement, or unparished area, of Preston has a population of 114,300, the whole City of Preston district has a population of 132,000 and the Preston built-up area has a population of 313,322.

Preston and its surroundings have provided evidence of ancient Roman activity in the area, largely in the form of a Roman road which led to a camp at Walton-le-Dale. During the Middle Ages, Preston formed a parish and township in the hundred of Amounderness and was granted a Guild Merchant charter in 1179, giving it the status of a market town. Textiles have been produced in Preston since the middle of the 13th century, when locally produced wool was woven in people’s houses. Flemish weavers who settled in the area during the 14th century helped to develop the industry. In the early 18th century Edmund Calamy wrote that Preston was “a pretty town with an abundance of gentry in it, commonly called Proud Preston”.  The most rapid period of growth and development in Preston’s history coincided with the industrialisation and expansion of textile manufacturing. Preston was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, becoming a densely populated engineering centre, with large industrial plants.

The town’s textile sector fell into a terminal decline, however, from the mid-20th century and Preston has subsequently faced similar challenges to other post-industrial northern towns, including deindustrialisation, economic deprivation and housing issues.

Preston is the seat of Lancashire County Council and home to Preston North End F.C., one of the founder members of the Football League and the first English football champions.

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