An exhibition commemorating Prestwich’s celebrations during Coronation Week in 1953 is currently being staged in the Heritage Museum in Prestwich Library. To accompany...
Town Hall Visit
Table Centrepiece of Prestwich Borough
On Friday 31st May a party from the Society went to Bury Town Hall to see the Regalia and Plate of Prestwich. When Prestwich joined Bury in 1974 it handed over all its silver and gold Regalia.
The Prestwich items come in two groups ; one set from the time (1894 to 1939 ) when Prestwich was an Urban District Council (U.D.C.) and another set from the period when Prestwich was a Municipal Borough (1939 to 1974).
The U.D.C wasn’t allowed a Mayor, only a Chairman of the Council. His Chain of Office featured a medallion with the Mermaid on it. The mermaid, with mirror and comb, being the heraldic device of the ancient de Prestwich family who were Lords of the Manor upto 1362.
The Chain of the Mayor of Prestwich after 1939 had the Coat of Arms of the Borough on it. Each link in the chain had a name of a Mayor and his year of office engraved on it.
When Prestwich became a Municipal Borough ( a big promotion) in 1939, many prominent people and firms donated silverware to it to commemmorate the occasion. There are several silver salvers, jugs and vases etc. One handsome silver cigar box has the Borough’s Coat of Arms finely engraved on it. The biggest piece is a Table Centrepiece in three sections presented to the new Borough by the District Bank. The Mace of Prestwich is kept in a cabinet with Maces from Bury and Radcliffe.
The Visitors Book of Prestwich Borough and the record of Civic Receptions was also on display, showing who attended the different events, such as the opening of the Longfield Suite by Canon Paton Williams.
Also on display was the regalia of Whitefield U.D.C. Historically Whitefield was only half the size of Prestwich and never achieved Borough status. It could not have a Mayor and didn’t have a Coat of Arms. Instead Whitefield U.D.C. adopted the Eagle and Child as its badge. The Eagle and Child was the Crest of the Stanley family, Earls of Derby and Lords of the Manor of Pilkington ( aka Whitefield, Unsworth and Outwood).
Whitefield’s Chain for the Chairman of the Council has a medallion with a beautiful representation of the Eagle and Child on it. (below)
The Regalia and Plate, about 20 items in all, were put on display in the Mayor’s Parlour. We were greeted by the current Mayor of Bury, Joan Grimshaw of Unsworth Ward.
The Mayor was warm and affable. She posed for photos with us and told us of her work for her electors over coffee.
Afterwards she showed us the Council Chamber. An impressive panelled room with a U shaped seating plan. She urged us to attend a Council meeting, there is a Gallery for members of the public.
All in all this was a good visit. The official opulence of the former Borough of Prestwich was well displayed.
The medallion from the Chain of Office of the Chairman of Prestwich U.D.C. upto 1939.
The names of the six Council wards are given on it