You’re 3,250th in the queue

Preston railway station waiting room
Preston railway station waiting room

A tonic for the troops.... well a cuppa tea.

Next Tuesday, Preston railway station waiting room is hosting an unusual event to demonstrate the the unique way the station supported the First World War war effort .

From 1.30pm until 4pm anyone passing by will see actors from Preston’s Wooden Spoons Theatre Company bring to life characters who worked in Preston’s Sailors and Soldiers Free Buffet from 1915–1919.

They will be serving tea and coffee and telling stories from some of the documentation we have from this time.

The free buffet was set up by a committee of influential Preston women to help provide refreshment and support to tired and hungry sailors and soldiers who arrived at Preston day and night.

During the life of the buffet, more tha 400 volunteers helped to run this service, working 12-hour shifts both day and night. More than 3,250,000 servicemen were catered for by the volunteers.

By 1917 the average amount of men served in a 24-hour period was 3,250 – an incredible feat for a service entirely funded by donations.

Deputy Leader of Preston City Council Coun John Swindells said: “The Preston Remembers project is about paying tribute to those from Preston who served duringthe First World War.

“This re-enactment brings to life just how involved Preston was at that time, and is a fascinating story.

“It shows the warmth and compassion of Prestonians, which hasn’t changed over time, as the many volunteers on this and other projects in the city demonstrates.”

Part of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council funded Preston Remembers project, this event will launch new interpretation that has been installed in the waiting room to further explain this captivating story.

The project includes a three-year activity programme to develop understanding of the War Memorial and the history of Preston during and after First World War.

Some background information can be found at www.prestonremembers.org.uk