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Workers' Housing in the Victorian Era

Upper Class Homes

Black and white photograph of the exterior of Singleton Hall, Preston.  It shows a large, grand house with a square tower on one end.  Four people standing outside.
Singleton Hall, Preston in 1870

Wealthier people, however, built their houses away from the filth from the factory chimneys or on the outskirts of town.  These houses were often large, luxurious and expensively decorated, as the two photographs of Singleton Hall in Preston show.

Photograph taken in the 1870s of the interior of the drawing room at Singleton Hall, Preston, showing expensive furniture and objects.
Drawing Room at Singleton Hall, Preston c.1870


Whinfield House

Black and white photo of Whinfield House, Preston showing a grand entrance with a horse drawn carriage and footman waiting outside.
Whinfield House in Preston

The 'To Let' advert copied below is for Whinfield House, and was printed in the Preston Guardian on 15 April 1882.   What does it tell you about the lifestyle of the people living here? 

Ashton-upon-ribble, Preston. - to be let, for a term of years, the charming residence “Whinfield,” situate on the banks of the Ribble.

The residence contains four entertaining rooms, eight bedrooms, the usual offices, extensive gardens, hothouses, conservatories, vineries, ample stable accommodation, with gardener’s and coachman’s cottages, together with four acres of pasture land.

Whinfield is of recent construction, admirably designed, and one of the most beautiful suburban residences in Lancashire.

– For cards to view and terms, apply to Mr. Joseph Harding, Lune Street, Preston. 


History of Whinfield House

Whinfield House was built by the Pedder family on their Ashton estate overlooking the River Ribble. The Pedders made their fortune by founding the Old Preston Bank, but in 1861 their wealth came to a sudden end when the bank ran into debts, causing a national scandal. The bank had to be closed and the Pedders had to sell their estate and its contents in order to pay off the bank’s debts.
Avenham Lane, Preston was a wide street with grand houses in 1862.
Avenham Lane, Preston 1862
Whinfield House was then bought by Edmund Robert Harris, a wealthy Preston solicitor, who lived there until he died in 1877. A number of public buildings in Preston, including the Harris Free Library & Museum, were built with money he left to the town of Preston. 
After Harris died, the house changed owners many times until it was finally demolished. Most of the estate was bought by Preston Town Council in 1937 and is now Ashton Park.


Accommodation - Space for people to live or work in
Admirable - Something that is good and should be admired
Ample - As much or more than is needed
Conservatory - Room with glass walls and roof
Demolished - Completely destroyed
Luxurious - When something is comfortable and expensive
Outskirts - The edges of something
Scandal - An event that shocks people 
Solicitor - A lawyer who works on legal documents like wills
Suburb - An area mostly made up of houses and on the edge of town