The Lancashire Evening Post, Friday, 13th April 2001
A Miller returns
back to his roots
Preston cotton manufacturer Mr Thomas Miller By Emma Broom
THE history of one of Preston's most affluent families was brought into the spotlight with a visit from the great-great grandson of cotton manufacturer Thomas Miller.

In the shadow of a building erected by Miller, his descendant, Robin, returned to his ancestral roots to plant a tree in the centre of Preston.

London theatre director, Robin, dug in deep to plant a cherry tree in Winckley Square, close to a house built by Miller, now part of Preston College but recently put up for sale.

Robin Miller, great-great grandson of cotton manufacturer Thomas Miller FIRST LOOK: Robin Miller, left, pays a visit to the park given to the town by his great-great grandfather, cotton manufacturer Mr Thomas Miller, above.

He also took a walk round Miller Park, an area owned by the family and given to the people of Preston a year before Miller died.

His family's connections with the town date back to the 19th century when Thomas Miller built up the thriving cotton spinning business at Horrockses Mill, employing hundreds of local people.

He lived at No 5 Winckley Square, a house he built himself, which Robin hopes will one day be open for the people of the town to admire.

It was here that he and his wife raised two sons and three daughters. The couple had nine servants at the house before acquiring the neighbouring house, now Napthen, Houghton and Craven solicitors.


Miller is also credited with building the turreted tower of Singleton Hall, which remained as the family home until 1946.

On his second visit to Preston, Robin Miller said: "I came here once and fell in love with the place. I hope one day that the house on Winckley Square will be restored and the people of the town will be able to go in and see how my family lived."

Emma Heslewood, keeper of social history at the Harris Museum, said: "Robin has a few things belonging to Thomas Miller in his possession and he wants to give them a home eventually. He is very interested in Preston and the roots he has in the town."

Thomas Miller was a keen art collector until his death in 1865. At his funeral, 3,000 mill workers lined the streets of Hinckley Square, alongside bosses and residents, to pay their last respects to the influential tycoon.

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

The Harris Museum is currently developing a website on the cotton industry, entitled Follow the Yarn. It will feature information about Thomas Miller and will be on-line at the end of the month. Contact the museum on (01772) 257112 for more information.

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, April 2001