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Ashton Park has a colourful history started by the Pedders family. They made their fortune by founding the Old Preston Bank (located on Church Street), and built the Ashton Estate and Mansion in 1810 and lived there until 1861. Nearby Pedders Street and Pedders Lane are testimony to the importance of the family. When Edward Pedder died in 1861 it became apparent that there were insufficient funds to pay all the demands on the bank and so the estate and its contents had to be sold.
The park was then purchased by Edmund Robert Harris who became Preston’s greatest public benefactor and left the mansion to the governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty for the benefit of poor clergy, which evolved into the Church Commissioners.
After the death of Harris in 1877 the estate was sold again. After many changes of ownership the Calverts, mill owners, sold the mansion to English Electric at the end of World War 1, who used it as a social club and for sporting activities. The best known from this period was Dick Kerr’s Ladies Football team.
In 1937, Preston Town Council finally bought the park for the sum of £27.00 and the mansion, Ashton House, was sold to Lancashire County Council who turned it into a care home for the elderly. In the 1990’s the house was sold to its present owner Kindercare Childcare Centre (now Busy Bee's Nursery).
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