Tales of the Tees – Preston Park


Preston Park

Preston Park Museum and Grounds is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Tees Valley. The Museum reflects strongly the history of the area and incorporates a ‘Victorian’ street with multiple period shops and organisations. Most days there are volunteers acting out the roles in each shop to create a really authentic visit. Add to that a large play park, a stunning conservatory, a working miniature railway and a huge parkland with river access and it is easy to see why it is so popular. The council has also unveiled plans to upgrade the visitor facilities into 2024 to make it even more memorable a place to visit. 

But why is it there? Well as a museum it has existed since 1953 but the building itself was built as a family home by David Burton Fowler in 1825. It was a more modern home than the manor house that was already on the site and had been standing for several centuries. Preston Hall was sold to Robert Ropner in 1882 and he used some of his fortune, gained from his shipping empire, to extend the hall massively. He also added the conservatory around the turn of the 20th Century which now has exotic plants in it.

The family lived there until 1937 when the Hall was left derelict. Stockton Council took control of the building just after the Second World War and it eventually was repurposed as a museum. 

The world’s first passenger railway also ran through its grounds and there are plans to make the route more visible in the next few years.


Other resources

The history of Preston Park

Old maps of the area – range of dates

Museum’s own website with info about current activities, exhibitions and education offer