The city of Preston is the administrative centre of Lancashire in north-west England. It was a medieval market town, but grew rapidly in the nineteenth century as a centre for industrialised cotton spinning. In the 1960s and 70s it was designated an expansion area, as part of 'Central Lancashire New Town'. Preston has a population of 130,000 (2001). The first motorway (turnpike or expressway) in the United Kingdom was the Preston by-pass, now part of the M6, opened in 1959.