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Preston Market Hall
Lancaster Road and Market Street, Preston, Lancashire, UK
Preston Market Hall
associated engineer
Benjamin Sykes
date  16th February 1870 - 1875
era  Victorian  |  category  Building  |  reference  SD539294
ICE reference number  HEW 1062
photo  Paul Dunkerley
Though Preston's open-sided market hall collapsed during construction, it has stood the test of time and serves the town to this day.
The building's long axis follows the slope of the site to the west. The structure consists of a long hipped roof supported on cast iron columns and is open on all sides. The gable ends are closed.
The long sides are divided into 13 bays by the columns, which are at 26ft 6in centres. Wrought iron principals, or main rafters, at 6ft 7˝in centres, support the roof cladding and overhang the columns 5ft 6in on either side of the building. The principals rest on wrought iron trellis girders, resting in turn on the columns and running the structure's length.
The columns are 19ft 6in high and the span across the building column centre to column centre is 90ft. There are two intermediate columns (30ft centres) at each of the short ends. The roof is clad in diagonal boarding and grey slate.
Of the 12 tenders received for the construction of the market, Joseph Clayton's was the lowest and Willam Allsup's the second lowest. Both were Preston men. Clayton’s contract began on 16 February 1870 for a scheduled completion on 30 July 1870. Proceedings were dogged by disagreements between the engineer, Sykes, and Clayton over alleged design changes by Sykes and contractual non-adherence by Clayton.
On 6 August 1870, the partially erected structure collapsed, breaking 14 of the columns. Further disputes took place — including a suggestion from Clayton that Sir William Fairbairn be appointed engineer — resulting in Clayton’s dismissal.
Unable to get Allsup to accept Clayton’s rates, P.D. Bennett & Co. were signed up on 25 January 1871. Bennetts suspended work in March 1872 claiming to have found fatal flaws in the design. Allsup then agreed to finish the work at his last tender rates plus 22.5%. The new contract was signed in May 1872.
In June 1872, local ratepayers approached Fairbairn for his opinion, which though guarded, was favourable to the original design. The structure was completed in 1875. Three of the column bases are marked "J. Clayton Preston", the other 27 are marked "W. Allsup Preston 1875".
Architect: Garlick, Park & Sytkes
Contractor (1870): Joseph Clayton, Preston
Contractor (1871): P.D. Bennett & Co, West Bromwich
Contractor (1872-5): William Allsup, Preston
Research: PD
"A Handbook and Guide to Preston" by W. Pollard, Oakey, Preston 1882
"Proceedings of Preston Corporation" 1869 et seq

Preston Market Hall