Readers’ letters

Avenham Park  a Victorian gem but pigeon droppings greet visitors at the entrance (inset)                                    Pictures: Andrew Atkinson
Avenham Park  a Victorian gem but pigeon droppings greet visitors at the entrance (inset) Pictures: Andrew Atkinson
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Health hazard in city’s jewel

Visitors to Preston’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’ Avenham Park, entering from the riverside of the River Ribble, are welcomed to what can only be described as a shocking sight – piles of pigeon droppings, something that can be a potential health hazard.

Avenham Park, managed by Preston City Council, is located in Preston’s Conservation Area. It leads down to the banks of the River Ribble, and was designed and built in the 1860s.

The south entrance, near to the popular Continental public house, is plagued by pigeon droppings – some over an inch deep. It is taking the shine out of what is otherwise a magnificent setting.

The park is Historic England Grade II listed, featuring a number of historical structures, including The Belvedere, The Swiss Chalet, a statue of The Earl of Derby, the Boer War Memorial and Riverside Walk, near to the Cafe. It is something that Preston can be proud of.

The park, one of two city centre Victorian parks in Preston, alongside Miller Park, features the recently refurbished ‘Grotto’ Water Falls and the Japanese Garden areas.

Part of a multi-million pound Heritage Lottery Funded restoration project, both Avenham and Miller Parks have undergone a huge facelift during the last few years.

They were among parks, including ones in London, Bracknell and Bedfordshire, that were given grants totalling £9.47m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG), money from the two Lottery distributors’ joint Parks for People programme.

One grant saw Avenham and Miller Parks granted £1.75m – in the wake of it being deemed one of the finest examples of traditional Victorian parkland in the North West.

The parks have been described as ‘Victorian gems’ – among Lancashire’s most beautiful places – and are frequented by families with young children and senior citizens.

Yet piled-high pigeon droppings welcome visitors approaching through ornate railway arches near to The Continental.

Pigeon droppings, also known as guano, can have a detrimental effect on health.

This is especially the case for those with a pre-existing respiratory condition, if they come into contact with well dried guano. The inhalation of dust can irritate the bronchial passages.

Breathing dust or water droplets containing contaminated bird droppings can lead to Psittacosis, a rare infectious disease caused by bacterium called Chlamydia psittaci, with symptoms being flu-like illness and pneumonia.

Salmonella can also be present in some bird droppings, causing significant diarrhoea, which is a concern with families taking young children onto the park.

Andrew Atkinson via email

Our tribute to Chris Miller

On behalf of the boat owners in Preston Marina and so many others, I would like to pay a tribute to Chris Miller who passed away on September 25.

As chairman of the 1992 Guild Maritime Week, Preston Yacht Club commodore for many years, director of the Preston Maritime Festivals 1995-99 and, in my current role more recently, I have depended on Chris in many ways and grew to know him so well.

He was a man of unstinting generosity who contributed hugely to sailing in and from Preston by his enthusiasm and energy.

Nothing was ever too much for him.

He suffered setbacks in business but came to be the living proof of the adage that ‘you can never keep a good man down’. He survived it all and achieved so much. We will miss him very much.

Andrew Harris

Commodore, Preston Keelboat Club

‘Feasible but dangerous’

I spoke to Prof Ingraffea, of New York’s Cornell University, a few days ago and asked him about Cuadrilla’s plans to drill the complex geology at Preston New Road.

“I understand that established oil and gas companies prefer to drill parallel to a fault, whereas Cuadrilla is planning to drill right through faults, both laterally and vertically, is this feasible?” His reply was: “Feasible, but dangerous, and ignores the experience of more competent operators.”

Cuadrilla is not an established company. It has only attempted to frack one well, and that was a spectacular own goal – it caused a 2.3 magnitude tremor which deformed their own well over a significant interval, and led to an 18-month long moratorium.

It had no better success with any of its other Fylde wells either, as not even the drilling went according to plan! With the decision on fracking in the Fylde due, is Sajid Javid aware of the above? And if he overrules Lancashire County Council, I hope he can justify such a high risk strategy,

T Froud, Lytham

Background to Job’s gravestone

The picture in Looking Back (LEP October 3) shows the gravestone of Job Crossley who was born in 1896. As James Crossley’s letter states, he was the son of William and Jane Ellen Crossley (nee Rogers). William was the son of William and Jane Crossley. Jane Ellen was the daughter of Job and Ellen Rogers. William and Jane Ellen married at St Mary’s (CoE) Church in 1894. A search of census returns and Lancashire births, marriages and deaths indicates Job was their only child. It is likely he was named after his maternal grandfather.

Before he enlisted he was employed as a cotton weaver. He served with the Royal Field Artillery, and was serving in B” battery, 277th Brigade (3rd West Lancs.) when he died. His service record was probably destroyed when the War Office repository was damaged during an air raid in September 1940. His medal card indicates he disembarked in France on October 1, 1915. He was killed in action on October 5, 1917. His grave in Bailleul Communal Cemetery extension is III. E. 118.

His name appears on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and on the memorial at St Matthew’s Church, Preston.

Adrian Kay via email