My maternal grandfather was Percy Douglas Edward Preston (junior).

Percy's parents were: Percy Douglas Edward Preston and Ellen May Jolly

Percy Douglas Edward Preston  (senior)

Percy Preston was born in 1890 amongst the "Old Yards" of Norwich, county Norfolk. These were considered to be the "slums" of Norwich during the 1800s. Percy lived with his parents and siblings in the Distillery Yard. This was off Oak Street in the Coslany Ward of Norwich.
The Plunkett family have preserved the history of Norwich, including some of the Yards of Norwich, which are now long since demolished.

See for more detail. This website is an absolutely wonderful resource for anybody researching Norwich history.
Percy, along with his family, moved from Norwich to Beccles and then to Bungay, county Suffolk in the mid-to-late 1890s. They lived in Bridge Street and later moved to Nethergate Street. During the early part of the 1900s, Percy worked as a Fisherman. It is believed he fished at Southwold, county Suffolk. He possibly worked alongside some of his Preston cousins who were also fishermen. Later he worked as a Hay Dealer's Carter with his brother-in-law William Hancy, of Bungay.
It is believed that Percy was a very private man. There are no known photographs of him in any existing family collections except for this one below. Please take a look for yourself and if you know, please contact me!

Is this Percy Preston?


The Preston ancestry has been traced back as far as the 1600s. They originated from Horbury, county Yorkshire where they lived for over two hundred years, working as Clothiers & Weavers. 
Thomas Preston (bapt. 1786) was the first known Preston (in my direct line) to move away from county Yorkshire to county Norfolk. He was also the first known Preston not to continue the family tradition in the cloth/weaving trade. He instead became a "professor of music" (music teacher) and also was the Organist for the Anglican Parish of both Kings Lynn and of Fakenham.
Thomas married Ellis Reynolds in 1812 in York. It is believed that Ellis originated from Thornton, county Yorkshire but there are a great many different Thornton parishes in Yorkshire and I am yet to successfully trace her baptism and parentage. Perhaps she was from the same parish as the famous Bronte family who themselves lived in Thornton before they moved to Howarth? In some official documentation I have found Ellis to be called 'Alice'.
After 1812 Thomas and Ellis first moved to Hull, county Yorkshire where they had their first child:

Thomas Goodall Preston (abt 1815).
From Hull they moved to Kings Lynn, county Norfolk and had a further two children:
William (born 30 October 1819)
Lucy (abt 1825).

Around 1840 the family moved from Kings Lynn to Fakenham. Ellis died in White Horse Street, Fakenham in 1852. After her death, Thomas moved to London to be with his daughter Lucy who was married to Richard Carroway. At that time they lived in Pimlico, county Middlesex where Richard worked as a Boot/Shoe Maker by trade. Thomas died at Cumberland Street in Pimlico, aged 81 years.

William Preston

William Preston moved to Holt, county Norfolk around 1844 and quickly established himself as a "professor of music" in the town and later, opened a Printing/Stationery business in the High Street/Market Place. See my blog here. He married Eliza Bunnett 28 May 1846 in Holt and they had five known children:
William Gowen (1847)
Lucy (1849)
Thomas John (1850)
Arthur (27 October 1852)
Eliza (1858)

William's younger sons, Thomas John Preston and Arthur Preston, succeeded equally in furthering the family Printing business in Holt and together they expanded into Musical Instrument selling and later, Photography. Many of the photographs taken by Thomas John Preston and his sons form part of a well-renowned Norfolk collection, known as the Checkley Collection. In particular to this, the works of Thomas' youngest son Chamberlain "Chummy" Preston (1893 - 1971).
The photograph below, courtesy of the late Keith Entwistle, shows Arthur Preston's business (circa 1900) in Market Place called "Reliance Printing Works". This business was taken over by Rounce & Wortley around 1908. Today the building no longer exists but in its place, next to the Barclay's Bank, is a toy shop called "Starlings":

Preston's Reliance Printing Works,
Holt (circa 1900)

William Gowen Preston

William Gowen Preston married Lucy Ann Proudfoot in Norwich, county Norfolk. Lucy was born in 1847 in Great Ryburgh, county Norfolk d/o John Proudfoot and Lucy, formerly Parker. William and Lucy Ann Preston had eleven known children:
William Gowen (1866) (died 1866)
William Gowen (1869)
John Joseph Albert (1872)
Lucy Ann (1874)
Beatrice Maud (1876)
Gertrude Laura Mabel (1879)
Augustus Ernest Arthur (1881)
Claud Archer Herbert (1884)
Sidney Charles (1886)
Percy Douglas Edward (1890) My great-grandfather (see above)
Bertie George (1892) (died 1892)

William Gowen Preston, like his grandfather before him, did not carry on the family business. It is believed that a irrepairable family rift between William and William Gowen prevented this, resulting in he and Lucy Ann leaving Holt around 1865, never to return. Sadly, William Gowen and Lucy Ann were destitute and soon after leaving Holt they received parish relief at West Beckham Workhouse (Erpingham Union).
William Gowen did work as a Pressman/Printing Machine Minder (as a Journeyman) in towns such as Norwich, Beccles and Bungay. Whilst living in Beccles from around 1872 - 1880s William Gowen quite possibly worked for Clowes Printing Works (now Tesco's Supermarket) as their address at the time was 7 Dacre Place/Newgate Street. The Dacre Place housing was built for employees of Clowes and were built in the 1870s. 

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