The Lancashire Evening Post, Friday, 31st January 2003
Council paves way for an 'ugly' future?

COBBLESTONES: City's heritage comes under attack from modern development

By Alan Burrows
HISTORIANS fighting to preserve Preston’s Victorian past today expressed dismay that Frenchwood’s cobbled streets are to be torn up.

Hundreds of cobblestones along Selborne Street have already been ripped out and replaced with Tarmac.

The move has led to fears that part of the city’s heritage could be concreted over by modern development.

Councillor Andy Campbell, Preston Council’s portfolio holder for the environment said: ” Selborne Street is part of a major renewal scheme to replace the badly damaged and worn cobbles that have made the road uneven.

“It’s unfortunate in some ways to lose the cobbles, but they just can’t cope with modern day demands and have had to be removed.

Historic Lancashire Cobbles
“Further streets at James Street and Tower Street are also due to be resurfaced.”

Two years ago residents kicked up a fuss when traditional pavement flags were replaced by what they saw as “ugly” Tarmac.

During the 19th Century surviving photographs show majestic swathes of broad empty streets, with only the odd horse-drawn cart and tram as traffic.

Preston historian Stephen Sartin, a curator at the Lancashire County Museum Service, published a book following the discovery of 1,500 plate glass photographic slides in Blackburn Library.

Some 50 slides, which were taken in 1911, have been included in the book Preston in Focus. Mr Sartin said:” These cobbled streets which must have been such a familiar site in the town a few decades ago are all too few.

“If they have survived until this day, every effort, and I am sure most people would agree with me, should be made to keep them.

“If work hasn’t already started I would say hold on before you do it. It is al too easy to rip up these cobbles.

“If they were saved I would say they should be preserved for a future age to see.”

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, January 2003