Walk Your Way Through History

22 October 2015

Beatrice Blackhurst, Joseph Garstang and John Gregson may not be household names, but they each played an important part in Preston’s First World War story.

Now, thanks to the Preston Remembers project and the Heritage Lottery Fund, walking tours around the city are available which delve into the past of a range of men and women and how their actions impact on Preston today.

To launch the walking tours, a special event with a street theatre group playing the roles of Beatrice, Joseph and John will take place on Saturday 7 November from 11.30am on the Flag Market and at Preston railway station.

The stories are varied, and sometimes brutal, but need to be told so today’s generation know of the sacrifices made by our ancestors.

Beatrice – was part of the suffrage movement and marched for women’s right to vote; she was a founding member of Preston’s Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Free Buffet Association at the railway station.

Joseph – was an absolutist and conscientious objector who refused to take part in any war-related activity; he was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned for his beliefs.

John – was a soldier who lost his life in WWI. Having previously been a soldier in India and a tram driver in Preston, John was also an army reservist. He would have been one of the first to be called up at the outbreak of the war.

Councillor John Swindells, Deputy Leader of Preston City Council, said: “The stories of soldiers being killed in the trenches during WW1 is a history everyone is familiar with and should never be forgotten. Many people have connections with their own family members who were lost.

“What is less well known is the untold effect it had on all corners of society -from people like Joseph Garstang who suffered horrendously for his beliefs – to the families left behind, refugees forced to flee their countries and those soldiers who came back but were forever changed by their experiences.

“It is extremely important to remember the far reaching effects of the First World War and how it changed our society forever. The walking tours tell these fascinating stories and capture the time perfectly.”

  • Performances last 30 minutes each and will be at the following times (alternating between Preston Flag Market and Preston railway station):
    • 11.30am
    • 12.30pm
    • 2.00pm
    • 3.30pm
  • Details on the launch event and each walking tour are available on the Preston Guild City website www.prestonguildcity.co.uk/events/details/4311
  • Photos attached:
    • Beatrice Blackburn at the Preston railway station buffet
    • Joseph Garstang
    • John Gregson in India
  • More information about the Preston Remembers project can be found on the website – www.prestonremembers.org.uk
  • More information about the Heritage Lottery Fund can be found on the website – http://www.hlf.org.uk/
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