Family fun: Dates to delight in new Preston city walk by Friends of Winckley Square

If you fancy a date with a difference Preston is the place to be this summer!
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It’s not romance which is in the air but history. For, in a bid to attract visitors of all ages back to the city centre, share the joy of the city and boost the local economy, two Preston residents have penned a family friendly free guide.

It is called ‘Going on a Date: A City Centre Datestone Walk’. The booklet, produced by the Friends of Winckley Square (FoWS), has been written by Steve and Pat Harrison. They say it will appeal to all age groups, but will make a particularly good late summer holiday or weekend activity for those looking to entertain youngsters.

What is the Guide about?

The front and back of the Datestone walk guideThe front and back of the Datestone walk guide
The front and back of the Datestone walk guide
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The new booklet reveals information about and aspects of Preston you may never have known.

Steve said: “The aim is to have a lively, fun, interesting activity in Preston’s historic centre, for individuals and for families spanning the generations.

The booklet contains a city centre map with certain streets highlighted, along with images of the datestones to be found. The fun is finding them in a specific street; they are not all easy to spot!”

Both Steve and Pat worked in education and education publishing. Pat is chair of FoWS and Steve is a FoWS’ volunteer. Both are champions of the city they love.

Pages from the Datestone walk guidePages from the Datestone walk guide
Pages from the Datestone walk guide
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Steve continued: “The walk contains help on how to understand datestones, some are in Roman numerals, so we have included help on how to convert Roman numerals into modern dates. There is guidance for children who may need help understanding AD and BC, and what to do when the effects of the weather have eroded key parts of information on the datestone.

“There is also advice on how to avoid falling into the trap of thinking all dates on buildings refer to the years of its construction. For example, one landmark building has a date above the door, but that date refers to when the institution was established in a different part of town, not to the building itself.”

Nor does the booklets scope start and end in the city. Steve said: “There are suggestions too for more detective work once users have returned home. The skills acquired in carrying out the activities will be life skills which can be applied far and wide. It would be great if people who enjoy the walk produce their own for the areas where they live.”

How do I get a copy?

Pages from the new Datestone walk guidePages from the new Datestone walk guide
Pages from the new Datestone walk guide

The 16-page walk is being provided free of charge by the Friends of Winckley Square. It is available in libraries, in the Avenham Pavilion, in the Town Hall, St Wilfrid’s church and the Central Methodist Church and in shops, cafes and restaurants near Winckley Square and the city centre.

Stumped for answers?

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No cheating allowed … but the main page of the FoWS website contains a link to a list of the specific locations where all the datestones can be found just in case anyone gets frustrated seeking out some elusive sites. See The site also gives details of events, walks and talks and the history of Winckley Square. New Friends are welcome.

If anyone has difficulty finding the answer sheet contact [email protected]

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