The Coat-of-Arms of the City of Preston is briefly described as follows:
The Lamb is the Lamb of St. Wilfrid who is the Patron Saint of Preston. The letters "P.P." are taken to mean "Princeps Pacis" - Prince of Peace, or as some people would like it to be, "Proud Preston".
However, on earlier Coats-of-Arms the Lamb was standing and three letters "P" were depicted on it. The reason for the three letters was to give a general balance to the Coat-of-Arms. The Coat-of-Arms was in later years modernised and one of the letters "P" was left out, again as a method of improving the general design balance.
Azure, a paschal lamb couchant argent, supporting a cross staff or, flying a pennant of the second, in base the letters p.p. of the third.
Preston's long and distinguished history has seen the town being donated, through the centuries, a variety of items which form the insignia and are used on Civic occasions.
The Great Mace was presented to the town by the Duke of Hamilton in 1702 in gratitude for the safe delivery of his son James when staying in Preston (at the Bull and Royal Hotel) the previous year. The mace is made of silver; the later gilding was added in 1822 for a cost of £27.2s.
The smaller pair of silver mace date from the 17th century; they were recorded as being in use for the Guild of 1722, the 'crowns' being a later addition in 1790.
The civic sword is of the type known as a 'Maharatta Tulwar' and has a single edged steel blade and plush covered scabbard. It was acquired by the town in the mid-19th century.
Finally, the Civic Oar, which was the latest item to join the insignia; this was made in 1913 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. Preston was, from Saxon times, the principal port of the County and this oar was symbolic of the final expansion of the dock, now Preston Riversway.
This civic insignia precedes the Mayor on formal Civic occasions such as the Mayors' Civic Sunday and make a splendid sight processing through the streets of this proud and historic city.
This silver casket dated 1910, is the Freeman casket designed by Florence Steele who also designed the Mayoress's chain.
The oldest civic item is this Hanap or covered cup and cover. This was presented to the Town in 1615 by Henry Banester, a former Mayor and MP. The cup is of only four in existence, made of silver gilt it was donated for 'the particular use of the Mayor of Preston and his brethren for the time being and forever'. It is one of the most valuable items in the collection.
The Mayor's chain and badge was commissioned to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887 and financed by public subscription for a sum of £800.
The design by Alfred Gilbert A.R.A. did undergo various modifications from the original model and was finally presented to the then Mayor, James Burrow, on 3 November, 1888.
There is a grand chain and badge and there is a collar to which the badge can be attached for "undress occasions". The armorial bearings on the front are Henry II, Elizabeth I to the back Henry I and Charles II representing the Kings and Queen who presented and then reaffirmed the Guild Charters to the town.
The centrepiece represents a double tailed mermaid and two ships, Preston was an ancient seaport and, at the time the chain was created, a growing dock area. On the badge the Preston coat of arms is a background of azure enamel. The gems embellishing the silver gilt chain include diamonds and opals, rubies and sapphires.'
The Mayoress's chain was commissioned by the town in appreciation of the services rendered during the Guild year of 1902 by Lady Derby the Guild Mayoress. The chain was designed by Miss Florence H. Steele of London and Krall and cost £400.
Consisting of ornamental links, four of which bear the coat of arms of Great Britain, the County of Lancaster, the House of Stanley and the Borough. Again a ship appears on the hand of the seated figure on the central plaque, together with a distaff representing the Commerce and Industry of the town. The jewels used are pearls and opals and a relief portrait of gold of the Countess of Derby completed the gold chain.