View From Preston Bus Station

Preston Bus Station is a landmark building in the city, and was once the largest Bus Station in the world. Above the main concourse are 8 floors that make up the Car Park, and the view from the top floor is outstanding…

Bus Station

Preston Bus Station

The Bus Station was built between 1968 and 1969, by Ove Arup & Partners, a firm from London. In keeping with the types of building all over the country built at that time, it was built with a brutalist design. With space for 80 buses, 40 along each side, it became the largest in the world, and today is claimed to be one of the largest in Europe still. Above the main concourse are the rows of car parking spaces, which four on this side, and four in between these on the other side. The building is linked to Preston Guildhall by a covered walkway, making it the unofficial Guildhall Car Park.

Recent plans to demolish the building were thankfully fought off, and it has now been given protected Grade II Listed Status, and is going to be revamped as part of a wider plan for Preston.

Bus 1

This is a panoramic I took looking South across Preston City Centre, and a number of landmarks are visible from here. Starting at the far left, the spire just past the rectangular building is that of Preston Minster, dedicated St John the Evangelist, which is located on Fishergate, the main shopping street in the city. Built between 1853 and 1855, it replaced a long line of Churches on the site, with only the base of the tower surviving from the previous incarnation from 1814. The Church was upgraded to Minster Status in 2003, 3 years after Preston itself was granted City Status, and this marked the new status. Whilst it is technically still a Parish Church and performs as such, it is officially title as a Minster, which is an honorific title.

To the right of the Spire is Preston Guildhall, which is comprised of both sections between the Spire and the rectangular brown tower to the right. It opened in 1973, and is a major destination in the city for performances, theatre productions and much more. The University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) also holds their Graduations there, and I am happy to say that a few weeks before writing this I graduation with my Foundation Degree in Computer Aided Engineering in the main hall inside the Guild Hall, and hopefully I shall be there again next year when I receive my Bachelors Degree. A millionaire invest has recently bought the Guild Hall and plans to modernise it and make it one of the standout attractions of the city, and I can’t wait to see the results.

The square brown tower is the top of the Harris Museum, one of my favourite buildings in Preston. It sits in a large square which includes the old Market, and the Preston Cenotaph. The Museum opened in 1893, and houses the Library, Art Gallery and Museum for the city. These features had long been a wish for the people of Preston, and in 1877 Edmund Robert Harris (1804 – 1877, Preston Lawyer) left £300,000 to the city to build them. A Library was set up in the Town Hall in 1879, and a Museum on an adjacent street in 1880. Due to their popularity it was decided to build a purpose built building for all the features together, and the Harris Museum was the result.

Directly to the right of the Harris Museum, with the slim brown tower,  is Sessions House (1900 – 1903), a Grade II Listed Building that contains the city courts. The next building along on that row is Preston Town Hall (home to Preston City Council), a newer building that replaces the original Victorian Town Hall of 1862 that sadly burnt down in 1947. If you look between the Harris Museum tower and the Sessions House tower, you can see an office block, which sits on the site of the original Town Hall.

To the left of the tall office block at the front on the right of the picture is the St John’s Shopping Centre, one of three in the city, the other two being the Fishergate Centre opposite the station, and the St Georges Centre coming off Fishergate Street.

Bus 2

On the left of this picture is a large Premier Inn, the large brick building located on the Preston inner ring road. Just to the right and behind it, is Lancashire County Hall, the home of Lancashire County Council. It opened in 1882, and was the new home of the County Council after they moved from their former home in Lancaster. Preston was chosen as the new location due to its central location within Lancashire, so the Council were closer to the main communities.

The main train station is located out of shot behind Premier Inn, to the left of County Hall, and trains running West and North run directly past County Hall which sits overlooking the train line. If you look at the centre of County Hall, there is a small grey tower in front of it, this is the top of the Corn Exchange, a Public Hall built in 1822 as a place for local tradesmen to meet.

Bus 3

This is the view from the Bus Station looking South. Preston is surrounding by the Lancashire Hills on all sides, so it’s almost in a flat valley between them. Rural Lancashire is well known for it’s hills, which lead into the Pennines, part of the Highland Region across North Wales and North West England/Yorkshire.

There are a few things to see from this angle, most notably St Pauls Church, which you can see over the road just next to the Green Bush at the far left. This was originally the Anglican Parish Church for this part of Preston, built between 1823 and 1825. The Architects for the project were Henry Hutchinson (1800 – 1831, English Architect) and Thomas Rickman (1776 – 1841, English Architect from Berkshire), who were working in partnership together. The building was later extended, with the addition of a Chancel and Baptistry in 1882. Sadly it is now redundant and hasn’t been in use as a Church since 1979. In 1981 Red Rose Radio bought the building, and today two other stations operate from here, called 97.4 Rock FM and Magic 999.

Bus 4

Next, if you look at the Chimney in the centre of the picture, there are 2 small towers to the right of it. To the right of the 2nd and taller tower is a squat rectangular building, which has 5 rectangular windows across the top floor at the front. This is the Museum of Lancashire, and the buildings to the left of it, although many are obscured by the tree line, make up HMP (Her Majestys Prison) Preston. The Museum is located in the old Courthouse, called Sessions House as is the modern one I mentioned earlier. Designed by Thomas Rickman again, it was completed around 1825, and is one of the oldest buildings in the whole city. I am unsure when the Museum actually moved into the building, but as the new Courthouse in the City Centre was in use by 1903 it must have been around then or later. There are many fascinating exhibits inside showing local history, people and even a Victorian Classroom. On the top floor is a courtroom where you can even don a judges wig and gown and sentence a fellow visitor!

Towns in Lancashire from Oldham to Wigan were also at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, and Manchester became the worlds first industrialised city by the 1830’s. Preston soon followed, and there are a number of Chimneys surviving, as it was once a major producer of Cotton, with widespread factories.

Bus 5

To Football Fans, this is an important landmark, to the North East of the Bus Station. Deepdale Stadium is home to Preston North End, the local Football Team, since 1878. It was also previously the home of the National Football Museum, however that has now moved to the Urbis building in Manchester city centre. Preston North End (PNE) are notable as they were one of the founding teams of the Football League, first team to win the League and the FA Cup, and they were also the first team to survive a full season unbeaten, between 1888 and 1889.

The Stadium can hold 24,500 spectators, and has a statue of Sir Tom Finney (1922 – 2014) outside, one of the teams best players who also played for the England National Team.

In the foreground is a building called Deepdale Hale, which was formerly the West Wing of the Preston Royal Infirmary, built between 1869 and 1870.  The building has a crown spire on the central tower, and metal spires at each corner on the tops of the others.Next to that directly to the right and behind it, is Deepdale Hall. It was originally built between 1829 and 1833, with enlargements around 1926. It formed the main part of the Infirmary, but today both buildings are residential complexes, after the hospital closed in 1987. A new hospital called the Royal Preston Hospital was opened in 1983 by Princess Diana (1961 – 1997, late Wife of Princes Charles, heir to the British Throne), at the far North of the city, near where the M55 (for Blackpool) and the M6 (For Scotland, Lancaster and North, Birmingham and South) meet.

Preston is a fascinating city with lots of history, and if I have piqued your interest,  check out my dedicated post on the city of Preston here, and the stunning riverbank walks in the city here.

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