Don't let this important historic site go

Fulwood Barracks
Fulwood Barracks
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A petition to save an historic barracks still needs your support.

Last month, the Ministry of Defence announced Fulwood Barracks is one of 56 sites earmarked to close across Britain.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the estate was too big and costly to run, with the latest batch of closures paving the way for a more modern military.

Following the shock announcement, readers have expressed their shock about losing an important part of heritage.

It has close links to Longridge, as the barracks was built between 1842 and 1848 using sandstone quarried from the area and brought by railway to Fulwood.

And in an indirect way, it was one of the reasons for the creation of the Longridge and Preston railway line.

Historian Geoffrey Whittaker said: “From 1830, the stone was quarried and used in a number of large buildings in Lancashire, including the Harris museum, the main station on Fishergate, and of course Fulwood Barracks.

“To aid in the transport of stone, a railway from Longridge to Preston was proposed. The promoters expected a profit of 15 per cent that was never realised.

“The Preston and Longridge Railway Company was formed in 1835, Peter Hesketh Fleetwood, the then MP for Preston was chairman. Authorized in 1836 the line was to run from St Pauls Square in Preston to Longridge with a station at Grimsargh.

“At Longridge an inclined plane ran up the quarries at Tootal Heights. The contractor, a Mr Wilkie, took a rather leisurely three years to build the line and it was completed in March 1839.

“A clause in the authorization stated that two justices of the peace had to give consent for steam power to be used.

“Consequently, from, 1840, the six-and-a-half-mile line was operated by horses.

“Trains were pulled up the gradient to Longridge while on the way back gravity was used with the horses riding in a wagon. Passenger traffic consisted of two trains each day on Wednesdays and Saturdays serving a population of 2000, in Longridge. The passenger terminus for Preston was in Deepdale Street.”

The barracks is steeped in other fascinating historic facts. A famous incident at the barracks occurred when Private Patrick McCaffery, 19, murdered the commanding officer and his adjutant with a single shot from his musket, resulting in his trial and public execution. His ghost is still said to haunt the barracks today.

The petition to save the barracks currently has more than 3,782 signatures. It needs 10,000 for the government to respond. To sign visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171730