For 800 years the Leylanders had clustered around their medieval village cross, but all this changed rapidly after 1870 when the town embarked on nearly a century of phenomenal growth. One of the stars of the Second Industrial Revolution, Leyland became a world leader in both the rubber and motor vehicle industries and -- prospering through two world wars -- full employment was the norm. Optimism peaked in the post-war years, but the 1970s saw the beginning of the collapse of large scale industry in Britain, the half century of inertia which choked town centre development plans and led to the progressive and irreversible demolition of the district. By 1990 Leyland Cross was presiding over a semi-derelict wasteland before the investment and redevelopment of the mid 1990s began a steady recovery from the days of stark economic re-adjustment. Leyland Then and Now traces the story of these developments through a wonderful collection of old photographs, which are compared and contrasted with modern equivalents, unveiling amazing changes and unexpected similarities.
William Waring, president of Leyland Historical Society, has spent many years researching all aspects of the history of his birthplace. He has been published extensively in the magazine of the Leyland Historical Society. Passionate about local history, Dr David Hunt has been the curator of Leyland Museum since 1982, and was a visiting fellow in Local & Regional History at the University of Central Lancashire.