• Thu. Sep 22nd, 2022

Lost Mills of Preston and a survivor, color photos from 1960

ByStephanie M. Akbar

Aug 21, 2022
Avenham Street Mill in 1960, now a car park Pic: N Keith Scott

Preston in 1960, and many Victorian mills are still in operation. The Avenham Street Mill dominates the area, but is now a car park. However, the brick building further up the street has survived as an Italian restaurant.












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The corner store is still a focal point and supermarkets are just beginning to appear.

N Keith Scott has a roll of the latest color film and begins to record early post-war life in Preston.

Rushing to the corner store for a meat pie.  Ladyman Street 1960 Pictured: N Keith Scott.
Rushing to the corner store for a meat pie. Ladyman Street 1960 Pictured: N Keith Scott.

TVs are popular in Preston

A multitude of antennas.  Isherwood Street, 1960 Photo: N Keith Scott
A multitude of antennas. Isherwood Street, 1960 Photo: N Keith Scott

Rationing is over and every house on Isherwood Street seems to have a television. Most televisions in 1960 were hired and manufactured in the UK. There was a large manufacturing base in the north of England, supplying the television industry.

The sets were very expensive and prone to breakdowns. Valves were used and were probably made by Mullards in Blackburn, as was the picture tube (Simonstone of 1960).

There were only two black and white TV channels. The most common screen size was a whopping 17 inches, down from the pre-war 9 inches. As it happens, Coronation Street started on ITV in 1960.

A 23-inch HMV television from 1960, a high-end model Photo: Valvepage.com
A 23-inch HMV television from 1960, a high-end model Photo: Valvepage.com

BBC2 arrived in 1964, although you would have needed a new TV and antenna to pick up the high definition 625 line service of the time. Color broadcasts began in June 1967, however, only on BBC2, until November 1969. For Christmas 1969, BBC 1 and ITV broke out in colour.

The first BBC2 color identifier from 1967 Pic: Wikmedia
The first BBC2 color identifier from 1967 Pic: Wikmedia

No more lost mills

Leighton Street Mill in 1960 Photo: N Keith Scott
Leighton Street Mill in 1960 Photo: N Keith Scott

Another lost mill was on Leighton Street. This area has now been redeveloped into the UCLan campus. However, there is still a part of UCLan named Leighton Building. This unit is made of red bricks and mimics the look of the old mill.

Leighton Street today, Leighton Building is in the center Pic: Google maps
Leighton Street today, Leighton Building is in the center Pic: Google maps

Donkey stones, smoking chimneys and empty streets

Great Townley Street in 1960 Photo: N Keith Scott
Great Townley Street in 1960 Photo: N Keith Scott

The following photo is fascinating for several reasons. One is the complete absence of parked cars, another is the lady donkey stoning the steps.

Donkey stones were a kind of soft stone block. The stones of different colors were rubbed on wet steps, to create a decorative edge. It was a Nordic tradition that was already dying out in the 1960s. The last donkey stones were made in 1979. Finally, the mill engine revved up, creating clouds of black smoke.

Interestingly, Great Townley Street did not succumb to 1960s bulldozers and looks very similar today.

A rare surviving mill

Aqueduct Street Mill in 1960 Photo: N Keith Scott
Aqueduct Street Mill in 1960 Photo: N Keith Scott

The 1960 photo above is also full of nostalgia. A first “invalid cart” lies on the sidewalk, while a motorcycle and a sidecar emerge from Bold Street.

The passing white vehicle is a Co-Op Electric Milk Float. Today, milkmen are rarer; some still used a horse-drawn chariot in the 1970s.

Fortunately, Aqueduct Street Mill is still very much alive and used as an industrial park. The railway bridge is visible in both images. However, the block in the front right has become a ubiquitous parking lot. What was once the interior is still painted white.

Aqueduct Street Mill today Pic: Google Maps
Aqueduct Street Mill today Pic: Google Maps

More in the Instant Years series, coming soon.

Read more: See the latest news and headlines from Preston


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