Parks and Sports
Preston played a significant role in the development of sports and recreational facilities across the region and nationwide, and can boast some of the oldest parks and open spaces in Lancashire and the North West, many of which are now listed.
Each has its own unique identity, history and design, enjoying a range of uses from sports to local events or just a great place to walk and unwind.
Writing in 1955, The Making of the English Landscape, W. G. Hoskins’ mentioned:
‘Open spaces inside the older towns vanished rapidly … only Preston managed to save its commons from the vultures and to transform some of them eventually into public parks’.
Indeed, Avenham & Miller Parks provides some of the earliest municipal walks in the country, purchased by the Corporation in 1696. One of the largest parks, Moor Park, was established as a common by Henry III in 1235. In time it hosted Preston’s first organised football and cricket matches. This lead to the establishment of amateur leagues and the world renowned Preston North End FC, founder members of the Football League and its first title winners.
Sport was never just for the boys either, Preston’s Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC becoming the most successful women’s amateur football team in the history of the game.
To this day, Preston continues to offer the modern visitor and resident a number of award winning leisure centres, and established local beauty spots like Winckley Square, a restful haven in the heart of the city, once private gardens for its exclusive residents.
Image: Dick, Kerr's Ladies FC, 1921