Area: 142.22 kmē 

Preston is a city and local government district in North West England. It is the administrative centre of Lancashire, and is on the River Ribble. Preston was granted the status of a city in 2002, becoming England's 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth's reign.

Preston forms part of a conurbation with Chorley and Leyland which according to the 2001 census had an overall population of 335,000. Of this, 184,836 lived in the Preston urban sub-area: the figure for those living within the city limits is lower at around 130,000.

Preston City Council and South Ribble Borough Council are planning to seek to merge to form a unitary authority, independent from Lancashire County Council, under the recent Local Government White Paper

During the Roman period, the road from the Setantian port of Neb of the Nese passed one mile north of Preston. At Tulketh-hall in Preston, that road intersected the road from Languavallium in Cumberland to Condate in Cheshire.

In Ripon in 705 the lands near the River Ribble were set on a new foundation, and the parish church was probably erected. Later Edward the Elder passed the lands to cathedral at York and then from successive transfers the lands were passed round between churches, hence the name Priest's Town or Preston. An alternative explanation of the origin of the name is that the Priest's Town refers to a priory set up by St. Wilfrid near the Ribble's lowest ford. This idea is reinforced by similarity of Preston's crest bearing a lamb with St. Wilfrid's banner (Walsh and Butler 1992).

The right to hold a Guild Merchant was conferred upon the Burgesses of Preston by a charter of 1179; the associated Preston Guild is a civic celebration held every 20 years

The strategic location of the city, almost exactly mid-way between Glasgow and London, is demonstrated in that decisive battles of the English Civil War (1643) and the first Jacobite rebellion (1715) were fought in Preston.

In 1825 Preston was in the hundred of Amounderness, in the deanery of Amounderness and the archdeaconry of Richmond. The name of Amounderness is more ancient than the name of any other Wapentake or hundred in the County of Lancaster, and so Preston dates from at least the High Saxon period. Served by the River Ribble, Preston was one of the principal ports of Lancaster. King Charles I demanded a quarter more ship money than from Lancaster and twice as much as from Liverpool.

Industrial Revolution
The 19th Century saw a transformation in Preston from a small market town to a much larger industrial one, as the innovations of the latter half of the previous century such as Richard Arkwright's Water Frame (invented in Preston) brought cotton mills to many Northern English towns. With industrialisation came examples of both oppression and enlightenment.

The town's forward-looking spirit is typified by its being the first English town outside London to be lit by gas. The Preston Gas Company was established in 1815 by, amongst others, a Catholic priest: Fr. Joseph "Daddy" Dunn of the Society of Jesus.

The more oppressive side of industrialisation was seen on Saturday 13th August 1842, when a group of cotton workers demonstrated against the poor conditions in the town's mills. The Riot Act was read and armed troops corralled the demonstrators in front of the Corn Exchange on Lune Street. Shots were fired and four of the demonstrators were killed. A commemorative sculpture now stands on the spot (although the soldiers and demonstrators represented are facing the wrong way). In the 1850s, Karl Marx visited Preston and later described the town as "the next Saint Petersburg" [3].

The Preston Temperance Society, led by Joseph Livesey pioneered the Temperance movement in the 19th Century. Indeed the term teetotalism is believed to have been coined at one of its meetings. The website of the University of Central Lancashire library has a great deal of information on Joseph Livesey and the Temperance movement in Preston [4].

Preston was one of only a few industrial towns in Lancashire to have a functioning corporation (local council) in 1835, its charter dating to 1685, and was reformed as a municipal borough by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. It became a county borough under the Local Government Act 1888. In 1974, county boroughs were abolished, and it became the larger part of the new non-metropolitan district of Preston in Lancashire, also including Fulwood, Lancashire and part of Preston Rural District