Who would have thought it? Mr Monopoly has designs on Preston.
The city is set to become the latest star of the property trading game which has delighted families for generations.
A bespoke edition of the famous game to be dedicated to the city is to be made later this year - and the public is being invited to help decide which iconic landmarks and favourite scenes from proud Preston should feature on the board.
The likes of Bond Street, Fleet Street, Pall Mall, Park Lane and Mayfair could be replaced by buildings such as the Harris Museum and Art Gallery and St Walburge’s, landmarks like the cenotaph and Preston North End or even the city’s Avenham Park.
Preston beat 20 other notable locations as Lancaster and Chester in the “beauty contest” to be chosen as the venue for the next special edition of Monopoly.
It was definitely not a Chance card choice, as George Shrimpton, custom games executive at game makers Winning Moves UK, said: “We do a handful each year. Last year we did Dubai, in the past we’ve done Cape Town and Sydney and now we’re here to celebrate what’s great about Preston. It’s been in the running for a while. There were 20 places around the north west we considered, but then we decided on Preston. This city is beautiful. The buildings here are really stunning ... and also there’s pride here. That’s important. People are proud to come from Preston.”
He continued: “As there are around 30 Monopoly spaces to be filled to showcase the winning place it’s vital that the winner has lots of loved and well known landmarks We have been very closely studying twenty Lancashire and Cheshire cities and towns over the last year, essentially looking for these two things.
“We’re spoiled for choice...It’s going to be a fantastic edition. I’m going to be piecing it all together in the coming month or so. All the landmarks will be Preston - they will replace the famous London streets.”
It is tipped that the Harris could command the top position as the new "Mayfair backdrop" of the Preston Monopoly. The game could, it is conceded, even include the infamous Fishergate Bollard.
George added: “Absolutely everything is up for grabs. We can’t wait to see the suggestions for the Monopoly property spaces and cards. Not just specifically which Preston landmarks should feature – but also on what coloured locations. For example, a shopping centre on the ‘shopping’ Oxford Street space? Or a somewhere celebrating entertainment or leisure on the ‘West End’ Leicester Square space? Maybe a newspaper on Fleet Street? And a leading a civic building on Whitehall? Perhaps somewhere very old on Old Kent Road?”.
• Devoted fans of the game can rest assured the essentials will stay the same - there will still be the top hat and dog charms and the four corner squares GO, Free Parking, JAIL, and Go to Jail will remain in their familiar places.
• Monopoly: Preston Edition will cost £29.99 and is due for release in October in time for Christmas 2020. Bolton and Blackburn were also among the locations considered for the starring role.
Help find locations
Which venue is the city's favourite?
The creators of Monopoly Preston acknowledge it will be a difficult task to choose the final list of which Preston locations will be featured.
They are appealing for the public’s help over the next three weeks to aid the decision making.
So far the possibles list includes Avenham Park, Hoghton Tower, Preston Minster, Preston Railway Station, Preston North End’s Deepdale stadium. the Ribble Steam Railway and Museum, St Walburge’s and Brockholes Nature Reserve.
There are three weeks to send in nominations.
Nominations can be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, to the Preston MONOPOLY Facebook page or post your suggestions to Preston MONOPOLY, Winning Moves UK, 7 Praed Street, London W2 1NJ. Polling closes at 23.59pm on April 5.