Tom Preston

Location: Southport, Lancashire
About Dr Tom Preston...

My main interest is the social history of north-west England, particularly in regard to popular entertainment over the past 150 years. My PhD focussed on the early history of football in Liverpool before 1914, and I have contributed material to journals and books as well as having been interviewed on TV, radio and the press.

Over the past decade I have given hundreds of presentations to a range of groups including libraries, history societies, U3A, Women’s Institutes, Townswomen’s Guilds, Rotary Clubs, Probus, civic societies, heritage festivals and museums. My first book, a biography of the comedian, Robb Wilton, received excellent reviews when published in 2018.


About my Talks...

Most of my talks feature illustrated slide presentations. I bring along my own digital projector and the duration is usually 40-50 minutes unless a shorter presentation is specifically requested. My only requirements are a screen or suitable blank wall, and a 2 socket extension lead.

My talks are presented in a relaxed and entertaining manner with a good deal of humour and audience involvement. During the pandemic I have added new topics and radically revised others. Even if I have spoken to your group before, you will find that my regular subjects have been completely re-written to include fresh material.


My standard charge is £50, or £60 to £70 if travelling more than 20 miles from Southport, plus road toll costs if applicable.
I generally confine my speaking to the following areas: West Lancashire, Preston, South Ribble, Liverpool City Region (except Wirral), Chorley, the Fylde, and Wigan. I will do Zoom talks to groups anywhere.

My Contact Details:

0756 432 4811

Public Speaker Tom Preston talks about Great Lancashire Comedians.

Great Lancashire Comedians

For over a century, Lancashire has supplied some of the nation’s best drolls, from Stan Laurel to Eric Morecambe to Peter Kay. Why has the old county produced so many comedians ? Partly a lecture and partly a performance piece; this amusing talk includes a bit of social history with impressions of some of the great comedians in their celebrated skits.
“A huge thank you for your excellent talk. It brought back some happy memories of many of these great comedians...I loved your really added to the atmosphere. Very professionally delivered.” Newton Means U3A
"Something special...really was tremendous...brought back so many memories...absolutely brilliant." Thornton U3A

She Knew You Know: the life and career of Hylda Baker

Description: The fondly remembered Bolton-born comedienne Hylda Baker often conversed in a strident Lancashire manner with her silent friend Cynthia, played always by a man in drag. Hylda had difficult relationships with several of her fellow performers and a rumbustious private life at odds with her virginal stage persona. Another bit of biography and social history with some recreations of Hylda’s hilarious routines.
“Enjoyable and well received as ever” Leyland U3A

Public Speaker Tom Preston talks about "Motoring in the '50's and '60's"

“You Never Had It So Good”

A non-too serious look at motoring, mostly in north-west England, during the post-war years. From Morris Minors and Austin Somersets to British Leyland and including detours to Anglias, Vivas, and Bonds. Re-visit an era when motorways and MOTs were new and bubble cars and Ernest Marples began to fade into history.
“Everyone enjoyed the presentation...we are looking forward to your next visit.” West Lancashire Austin Seven Group
"Seriously...absolutely brilliant!" Blackpool Vehicle Preservation Group

Public Speaker Dr Tom Preston talks about The Liverpool Self-Propelled Traffic Association it's origins and the men and machines behind it.

Those Magnificent Men in Their Horseless Wagons

The north-west of England played a major role in the dawn of the motoring age in the 1890s and 1900s. This talk details some of the wild exploits of the region’s pioneer drivers and their ‘magnificent’ vehicles, powered by steam, petrol, or electricity! The trials and tribulations of running an early motor car have surprising parallels with the present day, including crazy stunts, challenging journeys, and running battles between motorists and the police!

Real Lives of Coronation Street

When Granada TV launched Coronation Street in 1960, the programme was a breakthrough in the portrayal of ordinary working-class people. The original cast were relatively unknown actors who had been carefully selected for their roles. Their characters were to become iconic and Coronation Street changed the actors’ lives forever. This talk looks at the lives and careers of some of the original actors before they joined ‘The Street’ !

Testimonials & Reviews

“ Tom Preston gave an entertaining talk to our group about motoring during the post war years. He involved his audience by way of short quizzes and answering our many questions.”

Denis – November 2022

Tom Preston Contact Details:

0756 432 4811

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