Find out more about Moor Park's history

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Moor Park timeline

• Preston Moor was not an area of common land, instead the land was chartered to the burgesses as a corporate body in 1253 by Henry III with only the right to ‘graze’.

• Preston Moor has been used since 1542 to hold Guild celebrations, an event every 20 years originating from the renewing of the ‘Guild Membership’.

•In 1642 Preston Moor was the site where differences between Lancashire’s Royalists and Parliamentarians became apparent at a meeting to gain support for King Charles, this was prior to the outbreak of Civil War later that year.

• In the 18th century the area was used for horse racing and the remnant of the starting chair can be found in the park.

• Significantly in 1795 a group of ‘Freemen of the Borough’ met to discuss a complaint that the Moor was being encroached upon by the growth of industrial development. However it wasn’t until September 1833 when legal steps were taken by the borough council towards enclosing a defined area of what remained of the moor, partly for housing development, but primarily to form a public park

• Until the 1850’s the moor was surrounded by fields and no housing had yet been developed but it is evident further south along Southgate and Frank Street several mill buildings had been built.

• The fast-paced level of development and house building between 1850 and 1892 corresponds with the rise of mill building and the growth of the cotton industry in Lancashire and the Industrial Revolution in the north of England. A Conservation Area Appraisal on Moor Park states: “The properties on the western side of Garstang Road and along Moor Park Avenue demonstrate the hierarchy and status associated with land as the grandest houses afforded the views of the park and the furthest away from the park the property was located the less space was given...The area as a whole provides an insight into Preston’s industrial past.”

Moor Park factfile

• Moor Park, Grade II Registered Historic Park Moor Park is Preston’s largest and oldest park and was created from the former Preston Moor measuring 324 acres.

• Preston North End Football Club (PNE) has its roots at Moor Park and the football ground remains at Deepdale. PNE was one of the 12 founder members of the football League in 1888 and the club was its first champion.

• During the First World War the park became the site of a hospital for the war wounded, the Voluntary Aid Detachment hospital opened in 1915 and treated 1,150 patients and closed in 1919. During the Second World War the park was used as a Prisoner of War camp.

Women’s football in Preston

The Dick, Kerr and Co. Ltd based in Preston produced electrical items for locomotives and tramways but in 1915 the factory was turned into a munitions factory for the war effort. This was a common occurrence across the country and factory workers were often women as the men were away at war.

The ‘Munitionettes’ worked in dangerous and dirty environments for long hours and so the government appointed female welfare officers to encourage morale and physical well-being. As part of this agenda sports and physical activities were encouraged including football.

The Dick, Kerr Ladies FC ran from 1917 – 1965 and played an important part in the history of ladies football.

On Christmas Day 1917, 10,000 spectators came to Deepdale, the home of Preston North End, to watch the Dick, Kerr Ladies FC win the first game against Arundel Coulthard Factory 4–0. £600 was raised for the wounded soldiers from this game.

Out of 828 games, The Dick, Kerr Ladies won 758, drew 46 and lost 24.

In 1920, they defeated a French side 2–0 in front of 25,000 people that went down in history as the first international women’s association football game.

The ladies team faced strong opposition by the Football Association (FA), which banned women from using fields and stadiums controlled by FA-affiliated clubs for 50 years. The rule was finally repealed in 1971. The concern of the FA was that women were not physically able to play football.