Preston has some of the most enduring Twinning relationships in the United Kingdom.
The city is located on the north bank of the River Ribble and is the administrative centre of Lancashire, England. The City of Preston local government district obtained city status in 2002, becoming England’s 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Preston has a population of 114,300, the City of Preston district 132,000 and the Preston Built-up Area 313,322. The Preston Travel To Work Area, in 2011, had a population of 420,661,compared with 354,000 in the previous census.
Preston and its surrounding area have provided evidence of ancient Roman activity, largely in the form of a Roman road that led to a camp at Walton-le-Dale. The Angles established Preston; its name is derived from the Old English meaning “priest’s settlement” and in the Domesday Book is recorded as “Prestune”. In the Middle Ages.
Preston was a parish and township in the hundred of Amounderness and was granted a Guild Merchant charter in 1179, giving it the status of a market town. Textiles have been produced since the mid-13th century when locally produced wool was woven in people’s houses. Flemish weavers who settled in the area in the 14th century helped develop the industry. In the early-18th century, Edmund Calamy described Preston as “a pretty town with an abundance of gentry in it, commonly called Proud Preston”. Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning frame, was born in the town.
The most rapid period of growth and development coincided with the industrialisation and expansion of textile manufacturing. Preston was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, becoming a densely populated engineering centre, with large industrial plants. The town’s textile sector fell into terminal decline from the mid-20th century and Preston has subsequently faced similar challenges to other post-industrial northern towns, including deindustrialisation, economic deprivation and housing issues.
Preston is the seat of Lancashire County Council, houses the main campus of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and is home to Preston North End F.C., a founder member of the Football League and the first English football champions.
Preston twinned with Nîmes, France in 1955, again with textiles being the common interest.
Nîmes derives its name from a spring in the original Roman village. Veteran soldiers who served Julius Caesar during his Nile campaigns were rewarded with the land of Nîmes, which was the route that connected Italy and Spain.
This French city gave the world denim. This hard wearing cotton cloth was originally known as ‘de- Nîmes’ before it was shortened down to denim.
Nîmes is home to the Pont du Gard Bridge and the Arena of Nîmes which were both built around 100 AD.
The city has expanded considerably since the 1960s with a population now 151,000, attracting population from its rural hinterland.
Its economy is dominated by administrative and service activities and a refurbishment of the city centre has further enhanced its tourist appeal. Traditional industries such as the manufacture of textiles, clothing, and shoes have all declined.
A group of French students came to Preston for two weeks in February 2019 to take part in an English Language course as well as meet some of Preston’s business and political leaders.
Preston and Recklinghausen have been town twins since 1956. Recklinghausen is the northern-most city in the Ruhr-area of Germany with a population of 114,000.
Recklinghausen also hosts an annual Light Show at the end of October. In 2015, their light shows theme was ‘sister cities’ and Preston’s emblem was lit up on the front of one of the buildings.
It was originally a Saxon settlement that became an imperial town under Charlemagne. The discovery of coal in the locality during the 19th century led to rapid industrial development, but the old town centre and numerous park areas were preserved.
In 2016, Recklinghausen and Preston shared their 60th twinning partnership anniversary where Preston representatives invited Recklinghausen civic guests for a two-day stay in Preston.
Almelo is a City in the Netherlands that is 15 miles west of the German Border.
It is Preston’s oldest twin town after they became partner towns in 1948. Almelo’s connection with Preston is that they are linked with textiles, with the main industry being cotton.
Almelo was once the flourishing centre of the textile industry in Twente. A number of old buildings have been preserved and are a reminder of a time when the textile city was at the core of industrial development along the canals of Overijssel.
Many other beautiful spots in Almelo have been preserved, with the town now relying heavily on the service industry and some manufacturing and transport firms.
At its 70th twinning partnership event in 2018, the Mayor of Almelo gave the Mayor of Preston a circular dish that is on display inside the Town Hall.
Kalisz and Preston became twinned towns in 1989 and Kalisz is the oldest city in Poland.
95% of the city was destroyed and the population dropped to just 5,000 after World War I which they had to rebuild from scratch.
The city now has a population of just over 100,000. Now industrialized, Kalisz specializes in textile production, a trade begun during the 15th century. Engineering and food processing are also important to the local economy.
The City contains many scenic parks and historic churches, as well as a theatre and regional museum.
Preston Ukulele Strummers Society went on a trip to Kalisz in July 2018 and said it is similar to Preston because it has a great café and bar culture.
During its 30th twin town anniversary with Preston, the mayor of Kalisz came to be given a guided tour of UCLan and took part in other events around the city.