Winckley Square

The statue of Robert Peel, at the east entrance to the Square
Georgian buildings on the east side of Winckley Square
Winckley Square gardens

Winckley Square is situated near the centre of Preston, Lancashire, England, at the west end of Avenham.

The square was first established in 1801, around Town End Field owned by Thomas Winckley, as an exclusive residential area for the town's gentry. It is now occupied mostly by insurance, legal and other business offices, although some residential developments have recently been made. The square's gardens, now an open public park, originally consisted of private plots, each owned by a resident.[1][2][3] A statue of Sir Robert Peel stands on one side of the central gardens opposite Cross Street, erected by public subscription in 1852.[4]

An Italian-style villa was built in 1850 on the south corner of Cross Street (number 11), which was later used as a County Court office from the 1940s. It was demolished in 1969. On the opposite corner (number 10) was the Winckley Club, a gentlemen's club, and next to it, in Cross Street, the Literary and Philosophical Institution (later called Dr Shepherd's Library and Museum), both built in 1846 and both now demolished.[5][6]

Winckley Street lies between Winckley Square and Preston's main street of Fishergate. Today it is home to mainly professional and religious service providers, including solicitors practices, a translation company, a Jesuit presbytery (taking up the majority of the northern buildings adjacent to St Wilfrids Church) as well as restaurants.[7]


Winckley Square has been the home of several schools.

Preston Grammar School

Preston Grammar School dated back to the 15th century. In 1841 it moved to new premises in Cross Street next to the Philosophical Institution. In 1913 it relocated to Moor Park, and closed in 1967.[8][9] It is not to be confused with the former Preston Manor County Grammar School in London.

Notable alumni

Preston High School

Preston High School for Girls once occupied 5 Winckley Square. It was superseded in 1907 by the Park School for Girls, which educated younger girls in Winckley Square and older girls in Moor Park Avenue. It closed in 1967.[11]

Preston Catholic College

Preston Catholic College was a Jesuit school for boys, which opened in 1865 and closed in 1978, when its sixth form merged with Winckley Square Convent School and Larkhill Convent Grammar School to form Cardinal Newman College. At its peak in 1970, it occupied most of the west side of Winckley Square. Alumni include television football pundit Mark Lawrenson[12][13] and head of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Gregory Doran.[14][15]

Winckley Square Convent School

Former convent school, on the corner of Garden Street, 2007
Plaque on the site of the Holy Child Jesus Convent

In 1875, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus formed a girls' convent school from the merger of its three convent schools, St. Walburge's of 1853, St Mary's of 1871 and English Martyr's of 1871. The new school was at 23 Winckley Square, the former home of Thomas Batty Addison, once the Recorder of Preston. As the school grew, it came to fill the whole block between the streets of East Cliff and Garden Street, reaching a peak of 850 pupils in 1962. In 1978 it suffered the same fate as the neighbouring Catholic College, the site closing in 1981. The buildings are now used as offices and a Paul Heathcote restaurant.[16]


  1. Sartin, p.43
  2. Hunt, p.173
  3. Garlington, p.10
  4. "History" > "Peel Statue" at Winckley Square accessed 11 December 2007
  5. Garlington, p.13
  6. Hunt, pp.173175
  7. Google Maps at
  8. Garlington, p.72
  9. Hunt, p.175
  10. "Federick Dale Banister". Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  11. Garlington, p.73
  12. Ross, D. (2002) "Mark Lawrenson; Confessions of a soccer", The Independent, London, 27 May 2002, accessed online 27 November 2007
  13. Jones, M. (2004), "Exclusive: My Catholic School Hell by Lawro", Sunday Mirror, London, 23 May 2004, accessed online 27 November 2007
  14. "Gregory Doran" in A Dictionary of the RSC by Simon Trowbridge, accessed 27 November 2007
  15. "Othello: The Director" on the RSC website, accessed 27 November 2007
  16. Garlington, pp.8084


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Coordinates: 53°45′22″N 2°42′07″W / 53.756°N 2.702°W / 53.756; -2.702

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