Glynis and David Castle, grandchildren of James Towers, and Chloe Nelson, his great great grandaughter at the opening of the road in his memory
The recent naming of the new Broughton By Pass as James Towers Way recognises the achievements of the late James Towers VC as a holder of the Victoria Cross for his bravery in 1918. It illustrates the fact Preston has never been lacking in its recognition of the brave military, and the streets of Preston are steeped in memories of battles fought. Back in the 17th century, when the Civil War dominated life, Preston was a Royalist stronghold and the skirmishes that took place in the town are remembered in our street names.
When the Duke of Hamiltons forces clashed with Oliver Cromwells army under the leadership of General John Lambert on Ribbleton Moor in August 1648, their names were set to live on down the centuries. We have a Cromwell Road, Cromwell Street, Olivers Place and indeed a Hamilton Road, Lambert Road and Langdale Road, all carrying the names of generals who led the fighting. While Stuart Road recalls the Royalists.
In the 18th century, thousands of pro-Catholic, Jacobite rebels were forced to surrender in the Market Place. Many of their lives were cut short, but their names have spanned the centuries. The church of the English Martyrs stands on Gallows Hill where many of the surrendering soldiers were beheaded. In the vicinity of the church are a number of streets that carry a martyrs name; Kenmure Place and Derwentwater Place being a reminder of two young soldiers dedicated to the Stuart cause, both being beheaded at Tower Hill in London in 1716. Butler Place and Muncaster Road are named in remembrance of William Butler, a conspicuous Papist, and Roger Muncaster, an attorney, both of whom were hanged on Gallows Hill in 1716.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
Likewise, Richard Shuttleworth and William Arkwright, who were also hanged and decapitated, have their names on Shuttleworth Road and Arkwright Road to remind us of those cruel days. Lockhart Road is so called in honour of Captain Philip Lockhart, of Carnforth, who was shot in Preston in December 1715 along with three others.Lovat Road gets its name from Lord Lovat who was connected with the first rebellion in 1715 before deserting to the opposite side and being pardoned.Thirty years on he was back with the Jacobites and, after being imprisoned, he was beheaded on Tower Hill.
Other streets which get their name from the 1745 conflict include Elcho Street and Elcho Terrace, a reminder of Lord Elcho, a colonel at the time, and Elgin Street is named after the Burgh of Elgin where Bonnie Prince Charlie prepared for the bloody battle of Culloden in April 1746. The battles at sea have also left their legacy in our thoroughfares with the likes of Rodney Street named after Admiral George Brydges Rodney, famous for clashes with Dutch, French and Spanish fleets, and Vernon Street named in tribute to Admiral Edward Vernon who captured Portobello in 1739 following a battle with the Spanish fleet.
That other Admiral, Horatio Nelson, was so good we used his name twice with the old Nelson Street and present day Nelson Terrace and of course his battles are remembered with Trafalgar Terrace and Nile Street.That other historical great, the Duke of Wellington, proved popular in the Ashton area of the city with a Wellington Street, Road and Terrace. One of Wellingtons great commanders was Lord Hill, a general of distinction whose name graces Hill Street and Hill Place. Quite naturally we also remember the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 with Waterloo Road.
When the Crimean War was fought in the middle of the 19th century there was massive growth taking place in the industrial life of the town and many streets were named in recognition of the heroic soldiers of the time.Raglan Street carries the name of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces and Campbell Street carries the name of the officer who succeeded him. Cardigan Street has nothing to do with woolly jumpers, but remembers Lord Cardigan who led and survived the Charge of The Light Brigade, and Wetherall Street remembers an officer who fell in the charge.
The fighting over the River Alma produced a hero in Delacy Evans and his name adorns two streets in the Plungington area. Cambridge Street honours the Duke of Cambridge, a young and successful commander in the Crimea, and Villiers Street pays tribute to George Frederick Villiers who was Secretary of State at the time. Inkerman Street is yet another reminder of the battles of the Crimea when the Russian foe was defeated.
Havelock Street and Terrace were named in honour of Sir Henry Havelock, a battle hardened veteran who was a leading figure in the Indian Mutiny and the Relief of Lucknow. Sir Charles Napier was similarly honoured with Napier Street, as was Lord Ripon with Ripon Street, recognising the Viceroy of India, while other generals from the India troubles were remembered when they named Hammond Street and Miles Street.
Death in Khartoum made Major General Charles Gordon a national martyr and Gordon Street was given his name. It was an Egyptian mutiny that took place in Alexandria that led to the naming of Seymour Street and Willis Road, with an admiral and a general being thus remembered, while Viscount Garnet Wolseley earned much recognition with Wolseley Road, Terrace, Place and Court honouring the Commander-in-Chief.
When they developed the fields around Meadow Street into a housing estate, Prussia was threatening Denmark and subsequently regions in the news were used with the naming of Holstein Street, Jutland Street, Schelswig Street and Danewerke Street adding a foreign flavour to the area.The Boer War at the dawn of the 20th century led to the naming of property in the Tulketh Brow area with Mafeking Street, after the siege in that town, and Ladysmith Street, Kimberley Street, Colenso Road and Belmont Street all getting names from battle grounds during that particular conflict.
While the Earl of Dundonald is not forgotten with Dundonald Street named after the man who led the Cavalry Brigade into Ladysmith. Arnhem Road commemorates the battle of Arnhem and Dunkirk Avenue reminds us of the spirit instilled by Sir Winston Churchill, whose name is on the street signs of Churchill Road in Brookfield, while is father Lord Randolph Churchill is recalled with Churchill Street. Certainly, the battles of old have played their part in Preston street names, why else would we have a Zulu Terrace on Ripon Street?