Stories from Discover Preston

Teetotal teapot

Dicky Turner invented the word teetotal in 1834. He shouted ‘Nothing but tee-total will do!’ at one of the weekly temperance meetings in Preston – repeating the 't' for emphasis.

This teapot is one of the earliest examples of the word. It quickly became popular in Britain and America to describe total abstinence from alcohol. This picture shows a teetotal teapot from 1834-40.

It's a fact!

History was made in Preston on 1 September 1832 when Joseph Livesey led six others in signing a pledge of total abstinence from alcohol. Preston became the birthplace of teetotalism with Livesey as its figurehead.

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Portrait of Tom Finney

Edward Robinson painted this Portrait of Tom Finney in 1951

Preston North End produced one of the greatest footballers of all time. Sir Tom Finney was born in Preston and, apart from appearances for other teams during the Second World War, PNE was his only club. Even though his extraordinary skills made him a target for vicious tackling, he never retaliated and was never booked.

Throughout his post-war footballing career, he ran a plumbing and electrical firm with his brother Joe. He was known as the ‘Preston Plumber’ and spent six to eight hours a day on the family business, as well as training and his other football commitments.

It's a fact!
Tom Finney was born in Preston on 5 April 1922, the year PNE reached the FA Cup final and a Guild year. In his autobiography, Sir Tom writes, ‘When I popped up on the scene, Preston was throwing a party’.

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Preston Butchers' Association banner

Preston Guild is the only surviving Guild celebration in Britain. It dates back to 1179 when Henry II granted Preston the right to have a Guild.

Guilds were groups of tradesmen, organised by profession, and membership was tightly controlled. The Guild system allowed market towns like Preston to govern themselves and regulate trade.

This banner is the Preston Butchers’ Association banner, made for the 1882 Guild trades procession by Thomas Chaloner, a banner painter at 122 Friargate.

The butchers were well-established tradesmen in the town and walked proudly with their coat of arms in the 1762 Guild. The Butchers’ Company coat of arms includes winged bulls and the boars’ heads, which Thomas Chaloner included in the design of the banner.

The reverse of the banner is decorated with a cow and a flock of sheep. It was carried in other Guilds including 1952, and was given to the museum in 1991.

The banner was first carried on Monday 4 September 1882 when Preston’s butchers walked proudly along Fishergate wearing these embroidered badges.

It's a fact!
The butchers traded from the Old Shambles on Lancaster Road until they were relocated to make way for the Harris Library, Museum and Art Gallery.   


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Horrockses Fashions dress

Horrockses Fashions dress, 1950s

World famous Preston cotton manufacturers, Horrockses, launched a ready-made fashion label in 1946 which became a popular fashion brand in the 1950s. Their dresses were worn by the Queen and Princess Margaret and featured in top fashion magazines.

Horrockses Fashions’ success was based on their use of quality cotton fabrics, cutting-edge textile designs and dress styles based on the latest catwalk fashions.

The London-based design team, led by John Tullis, ensured the dresses were beautifully styled and cut from an extraordinary range of printed fabrics. The fabric was ‘DGS503’, a high-quality cotton sheeting made in Preston, which was robust, soft and draped well, and withstood regular washing.  

Horrockses Fashions acquired exclusive use of designs by leading British artists including Eduardo Paolozzi, Alastair Morton, Graham Sutherland and Pat Albeck. Horrockses also used their fashion brand to sell sheets and towels, with adverts making clever reference to the dresses.

This dress is by Paolozzi and was acquired for the Harris collection with the assistance of the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Art Fund and Friends of the Harris.

[Logos: V&A, Art Fund and Friends]

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The Ribchester helmet

This is a replica of a helmet from the 100s, which was part of a hoard of Roman cavalry sports equipment found in 1796 and now displayed in the British Museum. The helmet was worn by the main trooper in sports displays and drills at Ribchester fort and decorated with a crest and streamers.

Find out more about the Ribchester hoard at the British Museum

Image ©Trustees of the British Museum

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The Poulton Elk

The Poulton Elk

Evidence of some of the earliest evidence of settlers in this area, found under a bungalow!

The impressively complete elk skeleton on display in Discover Preston was found by accident in July 1970, when John Devine demolished an old bungalow to begin work on a new family home. 

The skull and a broken antler were spotted one afternoon while John was preparing the new foundations with his digger. In the days that followed, his neighbour Tony Scholey began to assemble the bones, helped by his friend Jim Audus, a member of Poulton Historical Society. They were cleaning the bones when they made a remarkable discovery – a curious carved object which appeared to be man-made. 

News spread and archaeologists came to recover and record any bones still in the ground. On 12 August they revealed the rear leg bones and discovered a second object carved from bone, similar to the first. These were barbed points made by ancient hunters – the earliest evidence of people in north-west England.

How old is the Elk? Using the latest technology available, we have been to determine that the Poulton Elk is around 13,500 years old.

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