Preston Abstinence Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Preston Cemetery, New Hall Lane, Preston, PR2 6QF


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Statutory Address:
Preston Cemetery, New Hall Lane, Preston, PR2 6QF

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Preston (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


A Gothic monument to the Preston Abstinence movement dated 1859, standing in Preston General Cemetery.

Reasons for Designation

The Preston Abstinence Memorial, dated 1859, is Listed for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * the memorial is a well-executed Gothic composition, with architectural merit through its design and detailing.

Historic interest: * as a memorial to the early temperance movement, it is an important part of a limited architectural legacy left by the Temperance Movement, a significant cultural force in the mid-to-late C19; * because it commemorates a key moment in the history of the movement when abstinence became the main priority rather than moderation.

Group value: * the memorial stands within the Preston Cemetery registered Park and Garden.


The Preston Abstinence Memorial stands in the Preston General Cemetery (registered park and garden List entry number 1001617). Preston became known as the ‘Bethlehem’ of temperance in the first half of the C19. The movement existed to lessen the negative impacts of alcohol, primarily on the working and urban poor. The movement had greatest traction in the Unites States although it had popular following in the United Kingdom and in other countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It also had strong connections to various religious movements such as the Latter Day Saints and the Seven Day Adventists, who considered alcohol to contribute to a sinful existence and caused major damage to society at large.

Initially the movement had advocated moderation in consumption of alcohol. As the movement developed and gained momentum in the 1820s and 1830s this position hardened, especially as the problem was seen to be acute in urban areas and therefore needed more direct intervention and a tougher approach. In the United Kingdom this was initially manifested by the ‘Seven Men of Preston’, who were the first to sign a ‘Total Abstinence Pledge’ in August 1832. These men were Joseph Livesey, John King, John Gratex, Edward Dickinson, John Smith and David Anderton. Indeed the word ‘Teetotal’ is believed to have been coined in Preston by Richard Turner in 1833.

The memorial itself was erected in 1859, its funding spear-headed by a committee chaired by John Catterall. There was clearly some rivalry between different groups as the Committee were concerned that other towns were claiming the credit for teetotalism. They felt that the memorial would be a way to ensure their position was not challenged. The monument duly became a focus for commemoration for the movement and has been described as their ‘campo santo’. It is surrounded by the graves of several of the temperance movement including that of Joseph Livesey himself, who had become known as the ‘Father of Temperance’ and died in 1884. Others include John Catterall and Mary Graham who was a stalwart of the movement and became known as ‘Temperance Mary’ and the ‘Queen of the Teetotallers’. A copy of the gravestone of Edward Grubb, who was the last survivor of the group stands nearby although he is buried in Harlow Carr Cemetery, Harrogate.

Other monuments to the movement were established in the C19, and include an ornate fountain in Tompkins Square Park, New York, USA.


A Gothic memorial to the Preston Abstinence movement dated 1859, standing in Preston General Cemetery.

PLAN: the memorial is octagonal on plan and is standing on a square base with projecting octagonal corners.

MATERIALS: the memorial is composed of limestone masonry.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial is ornately decorated and is of three stages, forming a tapering composition with strong horizontal emphasis. It comprises a base course which itself stands on a plinth that is square with octagonal corner projections, which emphasise the overall shape of the memorial. The first stage has a base with moulded socle and panels above. These are blind on three elevations, that on the east bears an inscription. There is a decorative frieze of quatrefoils above the panels and four octagonal pillars at each corner each with further carved insets and conical caps. The second stage has quatrefoils carved on each of the four main sides of the lower section, and a gableted arcade above which is supported by engaged columns. The niches which contain trefoil-head carvings. There are festoons above the columns and the gablets have fleur de lys finials. There is further carved detailing above including carvings in the form of birds on each of the eight sides. The third stage has a double lucarned conical top on a moulded base with a foliate finial at the apex.

There are eight balustrade posts with dog-tooth detailing surrounding the memorial which formerly supported low railings around the monument which are no longer in-situ.



Books and journals
Blocker, Jack (Editor), Fahey, David (Editor), Tyrrell, Ian (Editor), Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: An International .Encyclopaedia, Volume 1, (2003), 490-491
The Seven Wise Men of Preston, Winter Evening Tales by Amelia E. Barr, accessed 26.06.2018 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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