Coordinates: 53°45′32″N 2°41′56″W / 53.759°N 2.699°W / 53.759; -2.699

City of Preston
Beacon Fell is the highest point in the district
Beacon Fell is the highest point in the district
Official logo of City of Preston
Proud Preston
Shown within Lancashire and England
Shown within Lancashire and England
City of Preston is located in England
City of Preston
City of Preston
Shown within England
Coordinates: 53°45′N 2°42′W / 53.750°N 2.700°W / 53.750; -2.700
CountryUnited Kingdom
RegionNorth West England
Guild Merchant charter1179
City status2002
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district
 • Local AuthorityPreston City Council
 • Leadership:Leader & Cabinet
 • Executive:Labour
 • MPs:Mark Hendrick (Lab),
Ben Wallace (Con),
Mark Menzies (Con)
 • City & Non-metropolitan district54.9 sq mi (142.3 km2)
Highest elevation
873 ft (266 m)
Lowest elevation
0 ft (0 m)
 • City & Non-metropolitan district147,835 (Ranked 146th)
 • Density2,690/sq mi (1,039/km2)
 • Urban
365,000 (Central Lancashire)
 • Ethnicity
82.3% White British
11.6% S.Asian British
2.6% White Other
1.1% White Irish
1.5% Mixed Race
1.1% Black British
1.0% E.Asian and Other
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
Area code(s)01772, 01995
ISO 3166-2GB-LAN
ONS code30UK (ONS)
E07000123 (GSS)
OS grid referenceSD535295

The City of Preston (/ˈprɛstən/ (listen)) is a city and non-metropolitan district in Lancashire, England. On the north bank of the River Ribble, it was granted city status in 2002, becoming England's 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.[1] The City of Preston district has a population of 147,835 (2021),[2] and lies at the centre of the Central Lancashire sub-region, with a population of 335,000.[3]

The district, formerly known as the Borough of Preston, is named after the urban settlement of Preston which lies in the south of the district, and also contains nine civil parishes.


In 1974, the non-metropolitan district of Preston was formed from the County Borough of Preston, Fulwood Urban District, and a major part of Preston Rural District. The district was granted city status in 2002.


Preston City Council

For historical political control and leadership, see Preston City Council elections.

Preston City Council
Preston City Council.svg
Neil Darby,
Liberal Democrat
since 18 May 2022[4]
Matthew Brown,
since 17 May 2018[5]
Seats48 councillors[7]
Political groups
Administration (30)[6]
  Labour (30)
Opposition (18)
  Conservative (11)
  Liberal Democrat (7)
Next election
May 2022
Meeting place
Preston Town Hall, from the Guild Hall balcony - - 161713.jpg
Preston Town Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston PR1 2RL
Entering the city centre from Fylde Road
Entering the city centre from Fylde Road

The City of Preston is divided into 16 district council wards represented by 48 councillors. In 2017 there are about 6,000[8] electors per ward, expected to rise to about 6,300[9] electors per ward by 2023. Preston City councillors serve a four-year term. Preston City Council is elected "by thirds", 16 at a time. One councillor from each ward is elected every year for three years. Every fourth year there are no Preston City Council elections, Lancashire County Council elections taking place instead. Like much of the United Kingdom, Preston has a ceremonial mayor, who holds the role of the first citizen of the city. The role dates back to 1327, and the current mayor is Councillor Javed Iqbal, who is the 963rd Mayor of Preston.[10]

Preston operates a Leader and Cabinet system. The current Leader is Councillor Matthew Brown.[11]

There are 48 elected councillors, who meet every two months at the full council meetings. However, most of the decisions are made by a cabinet composed of the Leader of the Council and nine Cabinet Members:[12]

These decisions scrutinised by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which has a cross-party composition.[12]

The city is divided into districts, which are in turn divided into wards.

Following a boundary review, the May 2019 election was held on 16 new wards, with three councillors in each ward. The election resulted in 30 Labour Party councillors, 9 Conservative Party councillors and 9 Liberal Democrats councillors. The May 2020 elections were deferred until May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the 2021 Preston City Council election, the Council consisted of 30 Labour Party councillors, 11 Conservative Party councillors and 7 Liberal Democrats councillors.

The local areas of Preston can be found at Districts of Preston.

Freedom of the City

Freedom of the City has been granted to:

Lancashire County Council

Further information: Lancashire County Council elections

The City of Preston contains nine Lancashire County Council electoral divisions, with one county councillor in each district.


The City of Preston is currently divided between three Westminster constituencies, namely Preston, Wyre and Preston North, and Fylde. The three seats are all safe seats, with all Members of Parliament holding over 50% of the vote for their respective parties.

Historically, Preston has been divided between such constituencies as Preston North, Preston South, and Fylde South, although until 1885 it comprised one constituency called Preston, which actually included most of West Lancashire.

Minster Church

Like numerous other major English towns granted city status since 1889, Preston has no Anglican cathedral (see City status in the United Kingdom). Instead, following the granting of city status in the Queen's Golden Jubilee year in 2002, Preston's parish church was elevated by the Church of England to the status of Minster Church in June 2003.


Physical geography

Topography of the City of Preston
Topography of the City of Preston

The City of Preston district is a transitional region between coastal plain, river valley and moorland. The west of the district lies within the flat coastal plain of the Fylde. The southern border is the River Ribble which meanders through a flood plain in a wide, steep-sided valley. The northeast of the district lies within the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Beauty.

The highest point is the summit of Beacon Fell at 266 m (873 ft) above sea level, an isolated fell two miles south of the main range of Bowland Fells just outside the district boundaries. The lowest point lies on the River Ribble in the southwest corner of the district. The Ribble here is tidal and therefore virtually at sea level. The course of the river west of Preston was artificially straightened in the 19th century, to ease passage of shipping to the docks.

The southern one-third of the district, most of which is covered by Preston and its suburbs, drains into Savick Brook running east-to-west and then turning south into the Ribble. The lowest section of the brook has been widened into the Ribble Link which connects the Lancaster Canal to the Ribble. The central and northern parts of the district drain into south- and west-flowing tributaries of the River Brock, itself a tributary of the Wyre whose estuary is at Fleetwood. The Brock forms part of the district boundary on the west and north sides of Beacon Fell. A small part of the district along the eastern boundary drains into the east-flowing River Loud, a tributary of the Hodder.

The lowland area in the north and east of the district, between Beacon Fell and the Fylde, is a dairy farming area, particularly noted for its cheesemaking dairies. Six of the ten Lancashire Cheese dairies listed on the British Cheese Board's website in 2011 are located in the City of Preston district (and the other four are only a few miles outside).[15] Beacon Fell Traditional Lancashire Cheese is a Protected Designation of Origin cheese named after Beacon Fell.[16]

At 53°45′N 2°42′W / 53.750°N 2.700°W / 53.750; -2.700, Preston city centre is approximately 27 miles north west of Manchester, 26 miles north east of Liverpool, and 15 miles east of the coastal town Blackpool.

Like most of inland Lancashire, Preston receives a higher than UK average total of rainfall, and is slightly colder. On 10 August 1893 Preston entered the UK Weather Records, with the Highest 5-min total rainfall of 32 mm. As of November 2008 this remains a record.[17]

See also: Preston, Lancashire — Climate

Areas and estates

Further information: List of places in Preston

As with many cities, Preston has developed from a number of former towns and villages.

Civic geography

Civil parishes in the City of Preston

The southern part of the district is mostly urbanised but the northern part is quite rural. The current borders came into effect on 1 April 1974, when the Local Government Act 1972 merged the existing County Borough of Preston with Fulwood Urban District and part of Preston Rural District. Preston was designated as part of the Central Lancashire new town in 1970. The former Preston Rural District part of the district is divided into a number of civil parishes:


Population pyramid of the City of Preston in 2020
Population pyramid of the City of Preston in 2020


Preston is a diverse city, although the majority of the ethnic minorities are South Asians, in particular Indians. The ethnic makeup of Preston based on the 2011 census is as follows (With average for England in brackets): 75.8% White British (79.8%), 0.8% White Irish (1.0%), 3.5% Other White (4.6%). 2.3% Mixed Race (2.2%). 10.3% Indian (2.6%), 3.2% Pakistani (2.1%), 0.3% Bangladeshi (0.8%), 0.9% Other Asian (1.5%). 0.6% Black Caribbean (1.1%), 0.5% Black African (1.8%), 0.1% Other Black (0.5%). 0.9% Chinese (0.7%), 0.4% Arab (0.4%) and 0.3% other (0.6%).[18]

Ethnic Group 1991[19] 2001[20] 2011[21]
Number % Number % Number %
White: Total 113,209 89.8% 110,848 85.5% 112,415 80.2%
White: British 107,810 83.1% 106,242 75.8%
White: Irish 1,539 1,178
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 111
White: Other 1,499 4,884
Asian or Asian British: Total 10,703 8.5% 15,613 12% 21,732 15.5%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 8,205 11,436 14,421
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 1,722 2,746 4,425
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 176 308 375
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 195 546 1,235
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 405 577 1,276
Black or Black British: Total 1,529 1.2% 1,182 0.9% 1,676 1.2%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 902 878 865
Black or Black British: African 122 216 661
Black or Black British: Other Black 505 88 150
Mixed or British Mixed: Total 1,737 1.3% 3,326 2.4%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 950 1,627
Mixed: White and Black African 97 300
Mixed: White and Asian 450 931
Mixed: Other Mixed 240 468
Other: Total 641 0.5% 253 0.2% 1,053 0.8%
Other: Arab 626
Other: Any other ethnic group 641 0.5% 253 0.2% 427
Total 126,082 100% 129,633 100% 140,202 100%

Child poverty

In 2008 a survey revealed that 50% of all children living in the city were living in families suffering from financial depression. An estimated 15,380 youngsters were part of the families on the breadline. The Campaign to End Child Poverty report defined children in poverty as children living in homes where occupants work less than 16 hours a week, or not at all, or where the full amount of tax credit is being claimed. The city was one of the most severely affected areas of the North West outside Liverpool and Manchester, with 21% of children in the city living in households which were completely workless and a further 29% in families struggling to get by with working tax credits. The two worst affected areas of the city were the Deepdale and St George's wards, where 75% and 77% of children respectively were said to be living in poverty.[22][needs update]

Jamea Masjid close to Preston City Centre


The City of Preston lies in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lancaster and the Anglican Diocese of Blackburn.

In July 2016, St Ignatius Church in Preston, which had been gifted by the Catholic Diocese of Lancaster to the Syro-Malabar Catholic community, was raised to the status of a cathedral by Pope Francis. It now serves as the seat of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Great Britain[23][24]

The 2001 Census recorded 72% of the population as Christians, 10% as having no religion, and 8% as Muslim.[25] The Hindu and Sikh populations are smaller at 3% and 0.6% respectively, but in both cases this represents the highest percentage of any local authority area in the North West. 2% of the city's population were born in other EU countries.


  1. ^ "'Proud Preston' wins city status Archived 2007-08-22 at the Wayback Machine", BBC News, 14 March 2002. Retrieved 6 June 2006.
  2. ^ "Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, 2021". Office for National Statistics. 2 November 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  3. ^ Census 2001: Preston Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 6 June 2006.
  4. ^ "Council minutes, 18 May 2022" (PDF). Preston City Council. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Council minutes, 17 May 2018" (PDF). Preston City Council. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Open Council Data UK - compositions councillors parties wards elections".
  7. ^ "Open Council Data UK - compositions councillors parties wards elections".
  8. ^ "Preston City Council: Final recommendations on the new electoral arrangements" (PDF). Local Government Boundary Commission for England. January 2018.
  9. ^ Rankin, Peter (2 June 2017). "e Ward Boundary Submission and accompanying documents in relation to the Preston City Council Electoral Review" (PDF). Preston City Council.
  10. ^ "The Mayor of Preston". Archived from the original on 3 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Preston City Council Appoints New Leader". Shout Network. Archived from the original on 20 August 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b "How the council works". Preston City Council. Archived from the original on 16 March 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Honorary Freemen | Preston City Council". Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Honorary Freemen - Preston City Council". Archived from the original on 11 January 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  15. ^ Butler's, JJ Sandhams, Greenfields, Mrs Kirkham's, Shorrocks and Carron Lodge, The Lancashire Dairies Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, British Cheese Board, accessed 4 August 2011
  16. ^ EU Protected Food Names Scheme: Beacon Fell traditional Lancashire cheese Archived 22 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, DEFRA, retrieved 4 August 2011
  17. ^ "Extreme Weather". Met Office. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  18. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Preston Local Authority (1946157097)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  19. ^ Data is taken from United Kingdom Casweb Data services of the United Kingdom 1991 Census on Ethnic Data for England, Scotland and Wales (Table 6)
  20. ^ "Office of National Statistics; 2001 Census Key Statistics". Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  21. ^ "2011 Census: Ethnic Group, local authorities in England and Wales". Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  22. ^ "New survey reveals children's deprivation - News". 16 October 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2010.[dead link]
  23. ^ "Pope creates new eparchy in Preston for Syro-Malabar Catholics". Catholic Herald. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  24. ^ "Pope turns ex-Preston church into Indian Catholic cathedral". BBC News. Archived from the original on 10 December 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  25. ^ Census 2001: Statistics. Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 6 June 2006.