Preston 1914

Preston provided 2,000 of the 10,000 men who arrived in Lewes on 12th September 1914. What does the Preston press say of the men and the place they had come from?


Preston Herald


Saturday 8th August : 

German Reverse

Belgians Victorious

Two corps held up at Liege and French pushing back into Lorraine.

Germany asks for 24 hours armistice.

Rumours of a Great Naval Battle.

Crowds still congregate in the vicinity of the barracks. Special cars put on to convey batches of reservists to the railway station.


400 reservists rejoin. Nominally 800.


Price Rises and Commandeering of horses and vehicles.

Cotton goods to Austria – business closes.

Price rises of flour.

Mills closed or closing with stockpiles.

Impossible to ship stock due to costs of war insurance.

Weavers on short hours or worse.

Dire for trade of food stuffs and cotton goods.

Striking Speech of Chairman of Preston Sessions


Mr H W Worsley-Taylor

My recollection goes back – though very dimly back – to the dark sad days of the Crimean War – but as those events were, they are nothing compared to the sadness which we must contemplate in the conflict into which we have been drawn against our will.


When war was declared upon us, every man and woman … an undivided nation.


There are two duties which lie upon us, our duty to our country and our duty to one another …

Every single man, in their thousands, in the Navy, of both regular and reserve, have gone out, and may be now fighting in the North Sea. They have gone out to protect the interests of their country. The question remains, what are those who are young, active, and strong, who have not gone, going to do? Are they going to sit still, and let those men who have gone fight for them? I don’t think so. I think the youth of England is going to rise and enrol themselves, if not for foreign service, at least to guard their own shores.

There is bound to be suffering and privation. Our mills cannot go on, commerce is at a standstill. Want of work means want of wages; and want of wages means a difficulty of buying the wherewithall to live. Many here will remember the days of the cotton famine. In those days strong men banded together to do what they could to alleviate that distress.’

Call on something similar to occur alongside Government initiatives.


Saturday 15th August 1914 : 

Preston Women’s Social and Political Union

Suspending all hostilities and activities at once now that their political prisoners have been released.


The Great War

More French and Belgian Successes

Cavalry Combats

Heavy German Casualties


Fear of spies and the consequences

A pedlar shot by a sentry near Ormskirk.

William Dawson (62) passing over the canal bridge on the Liverpool-road when he was challenged. Offering no reply, he was shot. The bridge has been under strict military observation for more than a week.


Rapid decline in certain sectors of employment

300 Dock Labourers idle.

Owing to the cessation of wood pulp trade from the Baltic with Preston. Canadian pulp unlikely to arrive before late December. Looking for alternative employment.


Recruiting at Fulwood Barracks

Joining at the rate of 150 per day.

A tremendous response but there is room for thousands more.


Terrific recruitment, but the system couldn’t cope

Clerks and typists are needed at once for the Army Service Corps.

Payment of recruits commences with enlistment and continues until their attestation is completed, when they are handed over to the depot staff and house in the barracks for drill and equipment under army conditions.


National Relief Fund Appeal.


Stories from Belgium

Remarkable and shocking story of Mr Edwin Grenfell, who had lived near Namur for several years. An inspecting engineer representing a London firm, friends with a German officer in the same line of work, found to have incriminating documents in his possession.

German plans had been laid for a long time, long before there was any general thought of the European conflagration … discussed the possibility of the invasion of England, to completely destroy London with Zeppelins, and having rendered the British fleet helpless, to Land troops in Scotland.


Fear of Aliens

All Austrian, Hungarians and  All Germans resident in Preston now required to register themselves.



As a precautionary measure, the railway Lines through Preston, Public buildings and certain Stores, are being guarded by armed sentries, some of whom will not be in uniform.

Don’t loiter, especially after dark, obey andy challenge … will otherwise run the risk of being fired at.


Saturday, 22nd August 1914


A tip for the troops

Anoint your feet with vaseline.

Appeal to employers to keep old and unfit in full or part employment while seeing that every young fellow between 19 and 30 joins the Regular Army, for the duration of the War.

Opportunity to sell secondhand motorcars.


Saturday, 29th August 1914

A letter from a merchant in France: –

An Astrologer saw it coming …


Saturday, 2nd September 1914

To Hell with Germany

Rector of Kirkham’s Impassioned Appeal

Remarkable recruiting meeting


Monday 28th August : Kirkham Square, Monday evening.

Kirkham Prize Band. A call for recruits. 120 came forward. Assembled in the square Tuesday morning at 9.30 and marched off to Preston.

Why a) Britain sticks to her agreements c) Germany plans to subjugate Britain having conquered Belgium and France d) Britons neve have been slaves.

There was no doubt Germany determined to invade England after crushing France.

Admonishes the men of Kirkham and Wresham … who have not done their duty to the present.

Preston, through Catholic Woman’s League, ready to welcome Belgium refugees … but there are none yet this far north.


What’s Your Opinion?


Sports Events Cancelled

Rugby Union cancelled all engagements, while football continues. Writer suggests that every unmarried man age 18 to 41 entering any football ground be presented with the coward’s badge – the white feather.


Huge impact on employment in cotton mills.

Saturday, 3rd October 1914 : 

Over half the mills are closed down this week.


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