The Harrison Museum & Art Gallery in Preston in the United Kingdom has a variety of exhibitions many having to do with the history of the area. One of the most popular sections of the Museum is the Discover Preston Gallery which tells the story of Preston through art work, photographs, memorabilia, historical artifacts, and a 140 year old dollhouse known as the Pedder Doll House.
The Pedder Doll House was owned by the Pedder Family who lived in Preston in the 19th century. They were a prestigious and wealthy family and Edward Pedder founded the first bank in Preston known as Atherton, Greaves and Company in year 1776. It was the only bank in town until 1790. At the time the bank was founded, Preston was undergoing the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution including the industrialization of cotton manufacturing and the influx of thousands of new residents who came to work in the cotton industry. The bank
flourished until 1846 when it was discovered upon the death of the then proprietor of the bank Edward Pedder, grandson of the original founder, that Edward had been “cooking the books” of the bank and had stolen a significant amount of the bank deposits over the years. To settle the debt, the Pedder family sold their home and property. In the dismantling of the family home, a dollhouse owned by Margaret Pedder was given to her sister Elizabeth Pedder who moved the dollhouse to her home at the Broughton House where it resided in the family nursery. It was only one of the few items from the Pedder Family to stay in Preston after the bank scandal.
The Pedder Doll House is one of the most popular items in the Museum. To ensure that the dollhouse will exist for many years to come, the Museum recently undertook an extensive restoration project with the dollhouse. Every piece of furniture and miniature item was restored and cleaned. Even the walls of the dollhouse were meticulously restored. The Pedder children named the dollhouse Villiers which was also the name of the dollhouse family that resided within. One of features in the dollhouse is minute handwritten letters to the Villiers family including invitations to area events.
In addition to the Peddar Doll House, visitors to the Discover Preston Gallery will find
amazing and fascinating items to enjoy. There is the Poulton Elk which lived more than 13,500 years ago and was found with the weapons used to kill it, artifacts from Stone Age people and architectural finds from the times of the Romans and Vikings. You will also learn about the medieval Guilds that existed in the Preston area, the Jacobite rebellions, the cotton manufacturer Horrocks, and the development of the professional football team the Preston North End.