The Regulation of Winckley Square
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In the Lancashire Record Office, there is a “Draft Agreement on the Regulation of Winckley Square” (Ref. DDPd 11/60). It is dated 1807 and says:

"Whereas the Sd several Persons Parties to these Presents are seized of or entitled to Houses or Lots for building Houses upon in a Square in Preston called or to be called Winckley Square... And whereas the Sd Wm Cross being greatly interested in promoting the building of good Houses and laying out the Sd oblong Piece of Land for the Convenience and Comfort of the Inhabitants of the Sd Square... hath agreed to permit the Sd Piece of Land to lie forever open and unbuilt upon... And the Sd other Parties to these Presents have agreed to join with the Sd Wm Cross his heirs and Afs in the Expense of laying out the Sd oblong piece of Land as Pleasure Ground and of forever hereafter keeping the same in neat order... The Houses in the Square to be built three Stories high and to be uniform in front as near as may be so as to correspond in general appearance with the houses built by the Sd John Gorst and John Dalton and not to be of less annual value than forty pounds."

There were to be no Factories Steam Engines disagreeable work or undertaking – nor any warehouses Necessary Houses Midden Steads – no Shop Tavern Inn or House of Public Entertainment. The Interior of the Sd oblong piece of Land was to be laid out as Pleasure Ground, and the Residents were to have the keys of the General Entrance Gates.

Lastly, the Proprietors were to meet every 15th of April and 15th of November at Mr Cross’s office when a majority should have power to regulate the Planting, Lighting and Cleansing of the Square.

The visual appeal of Winckley Square owes much to the undulating parkland around which the buildings are grouped. The square was laid out as an exclusive residential area at the very beginning of the nineteenth century. There was no overall building plan, no attempt to produce a grand formal design, and the result was a pleasing diversity of buildings and styles. Winckley Square was the most exclusive residential area in early nineteenth-century Preston, and remained so until the 1860s and '70s. The square continued to provided homes for Preston's leading citizens until the inter-war years [see Decline and Fall].

The South-West Corner This view shows the southern side of Winckley Square in 1862. Most of the houses in the square were of a restrained classical style. The "General Entrance Gates" were closed at night time to provide additional privacy to the occupants of the grand houses.
The South-West Corner The south-west corner of Winckley Square in 1862. The gentry of Victorian and Edwardian Preston employed their own architects and displayed their own aesthetic tastes. The result was an effective "unity in diversity" as these photographs illustrate.
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