Lancashire County Records Office

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Lancashire County Records Office is situated in Preston City Centre, and has numerous documents related to road plans in the county. Many of the items have been donated by the Motorway Archive Trust and as such are not property of the Archive but rather the original authors, generally high profile figures like the late Sir James Drake and Harry Yeadon.

Authority Lancashire County Council
Location Bow Lane, Preston, PR1 2RE. See map
Membership/ID CARN ticket
Photocopy policy Permissive; pay-per-copy (this is expensive though)
Camera policy Permissive since 2007; £5 charge allows unlimited photos to be taken, but each picture must be logged with a member of staff

What is held here

The Archive stores numerous documents generally related to anything involving Lancashire since around the 12th Century. The main purpose of visits tends to be family history, although there is an extensive roads collection once you know where to look.

The roads files are scattered in various places, and contain documents as mundane as minutes from meetings in County Hall regarding bridge maintainence through to the more extensive engineering diagrams for incomplete or unbuilt motorways. There has been a loss of some material to other archives following the 1974 local government re-organisation.

How to use it

The Archive is well signed, with pedestrian access via Bow Lane. Enter the building and head up the stairs to the reception area. Please note that bags and mobile telephones are not permitted within the main archive and should be left in a locker (these have a returnable deposit of £1). You may only use pencils to take notes, and food and drink is not permitted within the searchroom.

Access is granted via the front desk (this requires you to be 'buzzed' in through the security gate), and then for the roads material you should turn right and locate the catalogues on the shelving unit behind the large table opposite the PC bays.

The majority of motorway material is found in catalogue DDX/2286. This is the Motorway Archive Trust catalogue.

Item requests are via the yellow slips - up to three items may be accessed at once. Fill in the details on the card and hand it in to the issues desk, ensuring you quote your seat number. When your documents are ready, your seat number will be displayed on the LED display board above the desk. Requests are normally dealt with promptly (although some of the more obscure items take much longer), the average wait time is less than a few minutes.

Items found here

This list is not extensive, but rather a selection of some of the more unusual items. A full search facility is available via 'LANCAT' which is accessible both outside (for example via a search engine from a home computer) and within the Archive.

  • Engineering diagrams for the M65 "East Lancashire Fast Route" (pre-1990 route options), as well as press cuttings regarding the post-1990 route and the demands for its construction to be prioritised
  • Various Department of Transport leaflets regarding roadworks, for example early Preston Bypass widening plans
  • Numerous books relating to the early motorways of Lancashire, including colour book celebrating the completion of the M6 in Lancashire in 1965
  • Extensive press cuttings regarding motorways; the Lancaster Bypass file has some excellent illustrations of the early configuration of the M6
  • A wide ranging selection of Ordnance Survey maps throughout the ages
  • Copy of 'A Roads Plan for Lancashire', 1949 edition, with pencil annotations made by Sir James Drake

Nearby facilities