Joan spies a pizza Preston history

Surprise: Joan Cookson with the picture. She is on the left on the original picture

Surprise: Joan Cookson with the picture. She is on the left on the original picture

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Joan Cookson couldn’t believe her eyes when she popped into a newly-refurbished Preston restaurant.

Joan called in to Pizza Express and to see a vintage photograph of her uncle at a local mill as part of the restaurant’s tribute to the local cotton industry.

And she got the surprise of her life when she saw the picture next to it … of herself when she was a sewing machinist.

Joan, 86, of Fulwood, saw the photograph of her uncle, John Lee, in an article about the restaurant’s transformation in the Lancashire Evening Post recently.

Each PizzaExpress restaurant is individually designed – often using well known places, people or historical events from the area as the basis.

The artwork displayed at Preston includes vintage photography of cotton workers in the factory environment and a series of screens reflective of the fine thread spun by a spinning mule.

The photograph of John Lee, a winder and spinner, was taken at Horrockses Crewdson Yard Works in the 1930s.

Joan’s photograph was taken while she was a machinist at Horrockses in the 1950s.

The Evening Post gave permission for both of the pictures to be displayed in the new-look restaurant.

Joan said: “I just couldn’t believe it at first.

“There was a picture of my Uncle John and then, next to it, one of me!

“It brought back lovely memories – I had a wonderful time working at the mill.

“I particularly liked listening to the BBC’s Workers’ Playtime on the radio.”

Preston branch manager Lisa Jefferson said: “We couldn’t believe the coincidence and wanted to mark the discovery by presenting Joan with framed copies of both photographs.”