The Citizen, Thursday, 5th April, 2001
Miller's successor returns for historic tour
to his
Preston cotton manufacturer Mr Thomas Miller

THE great-great grandson of Preston cotton manufacturer Thomas Miller is to return to his ancestral roots later this month to plant a tree in the town. London theatre director Robin Miller will pick up a spade and dig deep to plant a tree in picturesque Winckley Square, Preston, on Thursday, April 12, at 2.30pm. He is also expected to unveil an original art collection at the town's Harris Museum, including a special collection of family photographs dating back to 1850.

His family's connections with the town date back to the nineteenth century when Thomas Miller was a senior partner in a local cotton firm, which employed hundreds of people. He resided at 5 Winckley Square a house he built which became Junior Park School and is now part of Preston College.

It was here that Mr Miller and his wife raised two sons and three daughters. The couple had nine servants at the house before acquiring number seven on the square now Napthen, Houghton and Craven solicitors in 1851.

Mr Miller died in 1864 just one year after giving the gardens of his properties to the people of Preston. Nowadays people young and old still enjoy Miller Park in Avenham.

At his funeral 3,000 mill workers lined the streets of Winckley Square alongside bosses and residents of the town to pay their last respects.

Emma Heslewood, keeper of social history at the Harris, said: "Robin Miller has an extensive collection of family photographs since 1850. Although we are still in the early stages of negotiation we hope that we can display the photographs and the paintings for Preston public to see."

If you are interested in finding out more information about Thomas Miller or Winckley Square log on to for details.

The Harris Museum is currently developing a website on the cotton industry in Preston entitled “Follow the Yarn” featuring information about Mr Thomas Miller. It will be on-line at the end of this month. Call the museum on (01772) 257112.

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© The Citizen April 2001
© Photograph - the collections of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston.