Made in Preston, the website about Preston, Lancashire

M6, Preston by-pass, Britains first motorway

On 5th December 1958 the Preston by-pass was opened and was Britains first stretch of motorway.

It was part of a planned north-south motorway system that included the spur to Blackpool and was just over 8 miles long, stretching from Bamber Bridge to Broughton. Costing just under £3m.

The opening ceremony was held by Harold MacMillan the Prime Minister. The Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Mr Harold Watkinson described the motorway as a guinea pig. Sounds nice.

It was announced in 1953 and building started in 1956. The original programme was extended to 2yrs 5months due to incessant rain in 55/56.

At the time the A6 through Preston took the northbound traffic to Blackpool, the Lake District and Glasgow and at peak times huge tailbacks occurred. Particularly during Blackpool illuminations. Even though at that time car ownership was very limited. There were more trains but plenty of coaches and lorries and their acceleration was pitiful.

A booklet was published by the government and is readable in CBRD (Chris's British Road Database) website. > click here.

Preston by-pass route

Courtesy Google Maps. Although haven't heard of Penworthamdale, need to look that up.


M6 Junction 31 heading north. Left to Preston, right to Blackburn and Clitheroe.

Samlesbury Hall is towards Blackburn.

Brockholes Nature Reserve entrance is a turn off on the roundabout, in the Blackburn direction if you're coming from the south. If you come from the north you need to go towards Preston but double back towards Blackburn round the roundabout. The signposted roundabout exit on the left takes you over the river, round a loop to the reserve car park.

M6 Junction 31 Preston

Forton Services, M6, just north of Preston an interesting design. Not a bad service station with a Costa and M&S although in need of a lick of paint.

Forton Services M6 just north of Preston

Forton Services M6 north of Preston

23-Feb-2016 Contact the site author