Dozens of people reacted with shock when photos of the skip and its contents were shared on Facebook.
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An “astonished” Nigel Law posted: “Just been to the Guild Hall and saw this skip outside the Harris. They are throwing out many things including these old maps! If you are interested get there today before the rain comes!”
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Eric Wilson responded: “Cannot understand how they are being allowed to discard these items in such a way as they are the property of the people of Preston and as such should be offered to them.”
Michael Cooke said: “This is terrible, the folks of Preston should be able to have these.”
Linda Catterall said: “Why on earth wouldn’t they offer these to the public before throwing them out? Even if they are not the originals, others may like to have them.”
When asked by the Post, Preston Council explained that the maps were copies and the originals are safely stored.
A Harris spokesman said: “Regarding everyone's concerns about the maps seen in the skip located outside the Harris, please be aware these are all reproductions and not the original maps.
"All the original Harris collections and library material has been safely and securely packed and stored throughout the redevelopment project.
"Where possible we have worked with local groups to recycle items no longer needed and deposited items with the County Council Archive until we re-open. All material disposed of have been checked by the County Council Archive before being skipped.”