Maybe today when we can drive out to the countryside in less than half an hour, when we've only to switch on the television to see images of wide open spaces, and when many of us have gardens, maybe we don't realise quite what parks meant to people whose lives were ruled by the factory system.
When your house was mean and functional, when the mill was a grim penitentiary, when the town was a maze of soot blackened streets, what was it like then to walk through the park gates and see everything green before you, to see trees, to see flowers, to hear bird song and to see swans gliding across the lake?
'Getting out of the house' must have been a much more urgent necessity then than it is now, when so many of us have comfortable and decorative homes. When the turnpike roads began to open in the 1820s people took advantage of them to get a breath of fresh air. Preston New Road in particular was popular on a Sunday night when crowds would congregate and take some exercise.