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Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning frame, was born in the town.The most rapid period of growth and development coincided with the industrialisation and expansion of textile manufacturing.
On the north bank of the River Ribble, it is an urban settlement and unparished area that together with surrounding rural civil parishes forms the City of Preston local government district of Lancashire.The district obtained city status in 2002, becoming England's 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Preston and its surrounding area have provided evidence of ancient Roman activity, largely in the form of a Roman road which led to a camp at Walton-le-Dale.The Angles established Preston; its name is derived from the Old English meaning "priest's settlement" and in the Domesday Book is recorded as "Prestune".Preston was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, becoming a densely populated engineering centre, with large industrial plants.The town's textile sector fell into terminal decline from the mid-20th century and Preston has subsequently faced similar challenges to other post-industrial northern towns, including deindustrialisation, economic deprivation and housing issues.
When assessed for tax purposes in 1218 – 19 it was the wealthiest town in the whole county.