Preston, London UK

Who are you and what do you do?
'My name is Chris Coates and I am a retired librarian and now volunteer in Preston Community Library.'

Why do you choose to live in Preston?
'I moved here about thirty years ago when I was pregnant with my first child and wanted the advantages of a suburban life, but close to a fast tube line into London. The Preston Park Estate was planned to be Metroland-style housing with schools, a library, health clinic, park and shops in the 1930s. You can read more about the estate in my article at'

What's your favourite place in Preston and why?

'Probably Preston Park. Even though the lovely flower beds have disappeared with Council spending cuts, the Park is still a lovely place and has been a real lifesaver for families and lone walkers during the Covid lockdown of 2020.'

What is Preston proud of?
'I can’t speak for Preston, but I really like the fact that it is a very diverse community. People have been moving into Preston and looking for work since the early 19th century to find new homes in pleasant suburban surroundings. From Irish migrant farmworkers, Jewish and other European refugees, to Afro-Caribbean workers and, from the 1970s, people of Asian heritage expelled from East Africa. In the late 1980s, Preston had a substantial Japanese population, though most left during the 1990s Japanese recession. In more recent years EU citizens, particularly from Poland and Romania, have moved into the area.'

Tell us something about Preston that people won't know?
'Preston is frequently used for TV and film location work, so everyone will have seen our streets at some time! Most famously, Preston ‘stars’ in Gourmet Nights, an episode of Fawlty Towers where Basil collects a takeaway meal from ‘André’s Restaurant’, actually the Wings Chinese Restaurant on Preston Road, and then famously attacks his car when it breaks down. '